With too many other things consuming time during RIM month, I took some time off from investigating the intersections between archivists and records managers. But it’s time to return to this effort.
A few years ago, ARMA International Fellow David O. Stephens wrote an article in Information Management about the evolution and future of the records and information management (RIM) profession. He delved into the transition for RIM professionals over the past decades from overseeing primarily paper records to primarily electronic records:
“they transitioned gradually from focusing on direct control over paper records to being largely concerned with policy planning, compliance monitoring, and other aspects of information governance (IG) across all media types, but especially on the predominant one – digital.”
He also recounted his appraisal of the business records from a closed copper mining company, lamenting that “these important paper records were preserved by accident rather than design; had they been electronic, they would have been lost to history.”
So it seems like the question for archivists, especially when it comes to electronic records of enduring value, is how to be a part of the policy planning as well as the discussions of creating file plans/document classification schemes/taxonomies for electronic records so that the records of today can be identified and preserved for future days.