Have expertise in the basic concepts and principles used to identify, evaluate, select, organize, maintain, and provide access to records of current and enduring value.
Records and information managers and archivist have the responsibility to properly identify records of enduring value whether it be to an organization, a culture or a society. It is simply not possible nor is it worthwhile to keep all records, digital or physical, that are created. Records must be evaluated and those of value must be identified for retention based on the legal and regulatory environment, industry norms, and historical or operational significance. Records that do not meet these requirements and do not have a lasting value should be disposed of per organizational policy.
All created records have a lifecycle that includes the concepts of “creation, capture, storage, use and disposal” (Shepherd & Yeo, 2002, p. 5). The actual details of the lifecycle will vary according to academic discipline, specific organizational use, nationally accepted standards, or simply personal preference. It is imperative that the records and information manager and archivist understand all of the stages of the record, so that it may be properly maintained throughout. A records and information manager and archivist must understand and utilize the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping (GAR) Principles as a guide for the entire lifespan of the record.
The implementation of a comprehensive records retention and disposition schedule (RRS) will ensure that an organization is properly identifying, evaluating, selecting, organizing, maintaining, and disposing of each record in manner that 1) complies with the legal and regulatory environment, 2) models the best practices of similar organizations, and 3) is supportive of the roles and responsibilities of each department head.
It is the duty of the records and information manager to ensure that records are accessible. In the event of an e-discovery request, an organization must be able to present requested records in a timely manner. Failure to do so can result in unnecessary monetary loss and litigation. In the case of an archivist, records of cultural significance should be accessible to the public if they are to have any relevance in society.
Whether as a new hire, a freelance consultant, or a current employee, a records information manager or archivist must be able to evaluate a current records situation to determine the proper course of action in the creation of a records retention schedule (RRS). This work submitted shows my ability to present a project plan, including a records inventory, which is one of the first steps to be taken in the development of a RRS.
A RRS cannot be developed until there is an understanding of organizational records flow and departmental records creation and storage. This work submitted demonstrates my ability to perform a functional analysis which is important in the development of an RRS.
After the project has been assessed and presented, the records inventory completed, and the functional analysis is preformed, the preliminary RRS can be created. The RRS, with information from the previous tasks, assigns records to series and with the input from legal and regulatory compliance can be given a retention period. This work demonstrates my ability to create a RRS with input from my local legal and regulatory environment.
A records and information manager or archivist must be able to assess and compile proposals for the organization for which they work as the need will often arise for new programs or policies relating to the effective management of records and information. This work submitted demonstrates my ability to create a comprehensive proposal that can be presented to leadership and stakeholders for consideration of implementation. It also demonstrates my understanding of organizational structure and the complexities that surround records management.
I have been able to actively apply the records management concepts learned in MARA through the analysis, identification, organization, and maintenance of my own personal records. Through the course of MARA 210, I was tasked with multiple assignments that cumulated into creating a records retention schedule (RRS). The location I chose for these assignments was my home office. Not only did I absorb the course materials and produce quality assignments, I was able to create a RRS that I follow and maintain to this current day. This course not only prepared me to undertake the functions of a records manager in a career but allowed me to construct an effective system at home.
Additionally, during the first portion of the MARA program I was a retail store manager. The concepts of identifying and evaluating records series and determining their legal retention requirements were also applicable in my office at work. I took these concepts and identified records that were no longer required to be retained and destroyed them per company policy. This actually cleared quite a bit of file cabinet space and reduced the risk of litigation to the organization that might have been possible due to the existence of those records.
Finally, in my current position as a museum archives intern, I determined that the organization’s RRS might not be sufficient as it is a generic version that is often used for non-profits. This museum, however, has atypical leadership roles and other organizational attachments. This leads to a blurred line between record ownership. As part of my internship, I am working with my supervisor to unsnarl these blurred lines and propose an amended RRS.
ARMA International, “Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles,” http://www.arma.org/docs/sharepoint-roadshow/the-principles_executive-summaries_final.doc.
Shepherd, E., & Yeo, G. (2002). Managing Records: A Handbook of Principles and Practice. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.