More on the Bylaws changes

(Reprinted from the Summer 2014 Records Manager, because a wide audience on this is important. Please share this post, and if you’re at SAA already, please bring your thoughts to the Business Meeting on Friday. Thanks!)

It’s a bittersweet occasion for me—this is my last column as RMRT chair (though between Twitter, the RMRT blog, and other happenings for the newsletter, you likely haven’t heard the last of me!). All in all, it’s been a good run, I think. Though there are certainly a number of projects or potential projects that are not at the place I would have liked, we have made great strides in our education area. Between the collaboration with Lone Arrangers on the RM handbook, the Google Hangouts, the Schedule blog, and our upcoming RM basics webinar, I am extremely happy with how we have expanded our ability to help roundtable membership (and other interested parties) meet their records management resource needs.

Needless to say, none of this would have been even remotely possible without the herculean effort put in by the various iterations of the steering committee and you, the roundtable membership, to coordinate, facilitate, or manage these projects. “Thank you” seems to be a wholly inadequate phrase to express the extent of my gratitude, but for now it must suffice. And yet, as August 15th approaches, it occurs to me that I have been fortunate in another way as well—the composition of the steering committee has been remarkably consistent. Sure, pretty much the entire committee lineup is different from what it was in 2011, but the changes happened gradually, rather than having the entire committee turn over at once. Under our current bylaws, which provides for every officer and member of the steering committee to have 1-year terms, this slow change was anything but guaranteed.

As such, for what will probably be my last effort as RMRT chair, I undertook an effort to amend the bylaws in such a way to ensure that the efforts of today’s steering committee are not forgotten by the completely new steering committee of tomorrow. Just as we advise our own organizations to have vital records planning and continuity of operations, the changes that I am proposing will help our roundtable maintain its own continuity, and thus ensure that new members and officers have the experience of continuing members to draw upon. Besides the typographical and stylistic minor changes, the main changes to be voted on later this year are as follows: Continue reading

Records Management-related sessions at #saa14!

The 2014 SAA annual meeting is only a few days away! Sadly, I will not be attending, but we have a bang-up RMRT business meeting program awaiting you (assuming, of course, that you all are submitting interesting discussion proposals… if you haven’t yet done so, what are you waiting for?)! Christie Peterson and Matthew Farrell will be running the business meeting and facilitating the unconference and I am sure they will do an excellent job. If you’re on twitter, use #rmrt14 to tweet excerpts from your discussions!

In the meantime, you have other sessions to attend while you’re there, don’t you? Of course you do! As with last year’s edition of the meeting, we’ve rounded up some of the RM-related sessions in one convenient post for your browsing pleasure. To quote myself from last year, “A lot of these sessions are good not just for records managers, but for “regular” archivists too, in that they get a better sense of what we’re doing, which helps both professions do their jobs better. (Holy complex sentence Batman!) So tell your friends. Tell your colleagues. Tell that guy you pass in the hall! The more exposure SAA members ad a whole get to these issues, the better off we’ll all be.”

If you, like I, will be #saaleftbehind this year, you can still follow along on Twitter, with #saa14 for general discussion and session-specific tags (#s101, #s102, etc.) for particular sessions. As before, if you’re interested in live-tweeting any of these for the RMRT, comment on this post and we’ll put your name down on the livetweet roster. Cheers!

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Annual Meeting Preview

Please join us for the Records Management Roundtable meeting at the SAA Annual meeting Friday, August 15 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. In addition to a brief business meeting, we’ll be hearing from Barrie Howard from the Library of Congress who’ll be presenting on the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program and the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) Program and opening a discussion to explore opportunities for partnerships and collaboration towards shared solutions in the provision of continuing education, professional development, and training to meet the needs of digital archivists.

Also, we’ll be hosting a records management focused unconference as an opportunity for members to discuss pressing issues, exciting developments, or otherwise unaddressed topics. Please submit your ideas for topics and/or volunteer to facilitate here:

Those unable to attend in person can post questions or comments for the steering commitee via Twitter (#rmrt14).

We hope to see you there.


Easy Listening: Archives and Records Management Podcasts

By now, many archivists have had the opportunity to listen to (or have at least heard of) More Podcast, Less Process, the excellent podcast series hosted by Jefferson Bailey of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) and Joshua Ranger of AudioVisual Preservation Solutions. Listening is a great way to stay abreast of trends in our field, and hear a little more about the all of the unique and inspiring projects our colleagues are working on. One of my favorite episodes is on the topic of shared services and institutional collaboration. Take a listen!

61250519f57d60b84847b5478861769cI recently discovered the IRMS Podcast Series a records management themed podcast produced by the UK’s Information and Records Management Society. Hosts Heather Jack and James Lappin discuss key records management trend and issues with leaders in the profession. Recent topics covered included automated intelligence, a SharePoint case study and even records management theory. I especially enjoyed listening to episode IRMS013 – Laurence Hart on trends in collaboration and records management software.

If anyone else knows of other podcasts that would be of interest to archivists and records managers, please share in the comments!



Service Accounts for Email Retention

Email. By this point, everyone knows that email can be a record and that it should be classified, scheduled, and ultimately retained or destroyed like any other record. However, despite everybody knowing this, almost nobody has come up with a rigorous yet realistic way of doing it that works in the real world with real people.

In my current environment, we’re slowly moving from a culture in which no email was systematically retained (other than for legal holds) to one in which email’s potential administrative and historical value is recognized, and in which some systematic retention is starting. To accomplish that, we’re using a strategy similar to NARA’s capstone approach, in which the accounts of key individuals are, by definition, held to contain historically valuable material worthy of permanent retention. To supplement that record, though, I’ve also started pursuing another technique with select offices and groups: the creative use of service email accounts.

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Records Management and Web Archiving: RMRT, WebArch join forces for next Virtual Hangout

Please join the Society of American Archivists’ Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) and Web Archiving Roundtable (WebArch) for Intersections of Records Management and Web Archiving– the next installment of our Virtual Hangout series, airing Wednesday, July 9th at 1:30 pm EDT.

Christie Peterson, Records Management Archivist at Johns Hopkins University, and Jessica Meyerson, Maryrose Hightower-Coyle, and Jenn Coast from the University of Texas at Austin will be discussing their efforts to integrate web archiving with records management. 

Peterson will be on hand to talk about her involvement in a project to increase historic knowledge and current documentation of student life which incorporated web archiving to capture the records of student activity and involvement at her institution. See Christie’s recent Schedule blog post for a preview.

Meyerson, Hightower-Coyle, and Coast will discuss their experience developing a cross-departmental working group to create a strategy for preserving their institutional domain and its many subdomains. Their working group includes members from Information Technology Services (ITS), Records Management, University Archives, University Libraries, and University Communications.

We’ll start with an overview of both projects, and then dive into a moderated question and answer session.

As always, we’ll be accepting questions for our speakers from you. If you have a question or topic for discussion please leave it as a comment on this post.

Archiving Email will be broadcast live via the RMRT’s YouTube channel. We’ll also update The Schedule with links to the archived YouTube video.

View past Hangouts here.

Compliance makes a poor, if obvious, cudgel

Information Week published an article at the end of May on the federal government’s efforts to meet the 2012 Managing Government Records Directive regarding the management of records in electronic form. One quotation, from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Deborah Armentrout discussing calls to justify the expense of an electronic records management program caught my eye.

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