Today brings a close to Records and Information Management month. Needless to say, the circumstances of a worldwide pandemic have affected all of us, personally and professionally. Anecdotally, it seems that some people are finding very little time to worry about RM in the midst of crises while others are finding that with fewer public obligations there is more time to dig into the retention and disposition schedule. And across the board, RIM training is in vogue.
So while some of our celebration has been muted due to the swirls of concern and confusion currently engulfing the world, we sincerely hope that some of what we’ve brought to the table this month has been useful to you:
- We posted topics for discussion on the listserv on everything from scheduling shoes to how this emergency has changed your work.
- We’ve had blog posts about RIM month in a state of emergency and about calculating storage costs.
- We hosted a coffee chat to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the work of records managers.
- We unveiled on our microsite our initial list of RM toolkit resources.
- We held a Twitter chat with the SNAP section about the current state of the field.
In a time that necessitates some escapism from time to time, I sometimes find myself taking solace far, far away at the space station known as Deep Space Nine. (And yes, I realize I’m blurring the franchises!) In an episode that originally aired in 1993 (“Necessary Evil”), we hear the voiceover of Constable Odo:
“Commence Station Security Log, Stardate 47282.5. At the request of Commander Sisko, I will hereafter be recording a daily log of law enforcement affairs. The reason for this exercise is beyond my comprehension except perhaps that humans have a compulsion to keep records and lists and files, so many in fact that they have to invent new ways to store them microscopically. Otherwise, their records would overrun all known civilization. My own very adequate memory not being good enough for Starfleet, I am pleased to put my voice to this official record of this day. Everything’s under control. End log.”
Now while Odo may not perceive RM as an important responsibility, you do have to admire his concision! Watching these old episodes has also given me pause to consider how records managers are depicted in popular life. Librarians and archivists certainly have a stereotype as rules-oriented folk that are fond of old things and quiet spaces. But it strikes me that the people depicted as being good at records management are usually the bad guys. Take the Cardassians in DS9 or the Galactic Empire in Star Wars. As my parting gift for RIM month, I welcome feedback about positive role models for records managers by Hollywood!