What is the relationship between archives and records management

what is the relationship between archives and records management

between archivists and records managers, but we must emphatically endorse his Addressing himself directly to the relationship between archives and records. What kind of training do I need to become an archivist? What is the difference between an archives and a records center? What is the difference between an. The Role of archives and records management in national information systems: a RAMP study. Person as author: Rhoads, James B. [10]. Document code.

Several characteristics, however, distinguish the types of materials generally held in library collections from those found in archival collections. Alternate copies of the materials housed in a given library can often be found in the collections of other libraries. Archival materials, in contrast, are often unique and are found only in a single repository. Sue McKemmish provides an overview of the key distinctions between library and archival materials.

She describes the materials held in libraries as information products, which have been consciously authored for dissemination or publication "to inform, perpetuate knowledge, convey ideas, feelings, and opinions; to entertain, [and] to provide information about their subject" p. She characterizes materials found in archives, on the other hand, as information by-products of activity, which are accumulated or created in the course of doing business in order to facilitate the business process of which they are a part.

McKemmish further notes that while library materials are often discrete items, archival materials are usually part of a larger group of related records. Importance of Archival Materials and Archival Institutions Archival institutions select, preserve, and make their records accessible for a number of reasons, including legal, financial, and administrative purposes.

Government archives at the federal, state or local level that administer public records, for example, maintain records as evidence of the government's policies and operations. Thus, public archives help ensure that the government is held accountable to the public by preserving records that enable citizens to monitor the conduct of government agencies and public servants.

In addition, the records that are held by public archives document the rights of citizens, such as entitlement to social security benefits or ownership of property. Private organizations, such as businesses, churches, universities, and museums, also establish institutional archives to care for their records.

The archival records that are maintained by these repositories document the organizations' origins, structures, policies, programs, functions, and vital information over time. In addition to the legal, fiscal, and administrative purposes for which records are originally created and used, archival records are useful for historical or research purposes. Archives provide a key with which to examine past and present events.

In addition to the administrative users of archives, a variety of researchers take advantage of archival sources. These researchers may include scholars, genealogists, students at all levels, local historians, biographers, independent writers, and documentary filmmakers. Since archival documents can be used for many purposes by diverse audiences, the records of organizations that do not have their own institutional archives, as well as the personal papers of individuals, are often actively sought by archival programs such as collecting repositories or historical societies.

These types of institutions, rather than documenting the activities of a parent organization, focus on collecting records that document a particular topic e. Records Management and Archives Records management and archives are closely related. Indeed, the existence of strong archives relies on the implementation of sound records management techniques. In the United Statesmost records professionals credit the National Archives with originating records management in the s.

While the National Archives was indeed influential in the evolution of modern records management in America and was responsible for much of the development of modern records management techniques in the United Statesit is important to note that, historically speaking, records management is hardly a new development. Records management, in various forms, has been a concern across many cultures for centuries.

A core principle of records management is that of the life cycle of records. This concept holds that all records have a common life cycle, which is often divided into three phases: During the active life of records, employees or records managers within an agency create and use records.

In the semi-active phase, during which records are used less frequently but are occasionally necessary for the conducting of business, records may be transferred to a central records management office or an off-site facility for storage.


When those records are no longer needed by the agency, they enter an inactive phase, at which time archivists are called in to make judgments about the disposition of records. Depending on the form of disposition that is selected, records may be retained for a designated period of time in which case they are generally transferred to a records storage centerthey may be retained indefinitely in which case they are transferred to an archivesor they may be destroyed.

Ironically, while the modern records management profession in the United States emerged from the archival profession, a schism soon developed between the two fields. The roots of this rift may well lie in the very concept of the life cycle, which essentially makes the active phase of a record's life the domain of the records manager and the inactive phase the domain of the archivist.

Perhaps in consequence of this distinction, records managers and archivists have often taken antagonistic attitudes toward each other rather than developing cooperative relationships to ensure the documentation of organizations and of society. As Terry and Carol Lundgren point out, "[In] records management circles, archivists are sometimes unkindly referred to as pack rats, since their primary concern is the permanent preservation of all records that have or may have historical value" p.

Archives, Public Records, and Records Management | hidden-facts.info

In archival circles, on the other hand, records managers might well be seen uncharitably as philistines who are devoid of any sense of history and whose primary concern is ensuring the economy and efficiency of their parent organizations by disposing of as many records as possible.

The rapid proliferation of electronic media has caused archivists and records managers alike to rethink the concept of the life cycle and the division between their closely related professions. The Australian archival community in particular has been especially active in advocating the replacement of the concept of the life cycle with that of a records continuum that recognizes the interconnectedness of managing a record at all phases of its life, from its creation to its disposition.

Indeed, the continuum concept recognizes that, with electronic documents, it is necessary to plan for records management prior to the creation of records. This can be accomplished through the development of adequate recordkeeping systems that will ensure the continued preservation of and access to electronic documents. Thus, in order to manage documents effectively in electronic format, archivists and records managers need to work together and they need to collaborate closely with other information professionals, such as computer specialists and systems analysts.

The s saw the emergence of the knowledge management field, which is another information field that is related to records management. Knowledge management is most prevalent in corporate, rather than government or nonprofit, settings. Bruce Dearstyne offers the following working definition for this emerging area: This articulation of knowledge management suggests that this field differs from records management in at least two significant ways.

First, knowledge management incorporates implicit knowledge, such as people's expertise, experience, and insights, as well as the explicit knowledge, in the form of recorded information, that is the realm of records management.

Second, the primary goal of knowledge management is to enhance business operations and services, while the primary objectives of records management are to provide adequate documentation of an organization's policies and transactions and to demonstrate effective management of organizational operations.

Archival Management The management of archival materials can be roughly categorized into the following functions: Although these functions will be discussed separately here, in practice they overlap, since the decisions that are made at each stage necessarily affect management of the materials in other stages.

Appraisal The initial step in the management of archival materials is appraisal, in which the archivist makes a judgement as to whether particular records should be acquired by the archival repository.

Appraisal is the process of determining the value, and thus the disposition, of records. During this process, decisions are made about whether and for how long records should be preserved based on criteria such as their current administrative, legal, and fiscal use, their evidential and informational value, their arrangement and condition, their intrinsic value, and their relationship to other records.

Archivists often use the terms "appraisal" and "selection" interchangeably to describe this process. It is important to note that when used in the archival context, appraisal does not have anything to do with monetary value.

The Society of American Archivists' Task Force on Goals and Priorities emphasizes that an archivist's first responsibility is the selection of records that have enduring value.

The other responsibilities of an archivist depend on wise selections being made at this stage. Despite the centrality of this function to archival management, archivists continue to debate the role of the archivist in appraisal and the best criteria on which to base appraisal decisions. Archivists have adopted various criteria for appraisal based on the value of the records, the use to which the records might be put in the future, the policy of the archival repository, and the goal of creating an image of the institution or the society to which the records pertain.

The writings of Theodore Shellenbergwith regard to appraisal represent a codification of appraisal practice at the National Archives, and they designate various types of values that are found in records as the basis for selection decisions. Shellenberg postulated that records possess primary values that are related to the purposes for which they were originally created e.

In addition, records have secondary value when they are used for any purpose other than that for which they were originally created.

what is the relationship between archives and records management

This secondary value may be informational i. The potential use to which archival materials may be put has also been advanced as a criterion on which to base, and test, appraisal decisions. The application of this criterion is particularly problematic, however, because it requires the archivist to become a soothsayer, predicting the research needs of the future users of archives.

what is the relationship between archives and records management

Nonetheless, use has been accepted by many archivists as a strong qualifier for the selection and appraisal of records. During the s, a new approach to the appraisal of archival materials began to emerge.

Drawing on the library literature about collection management, archivists began to argue that selection decisions should be made within the context of a clearly defined collecting policy. While, in practice, many archival repositories had been guided in their appraisal choices by institutional policy for some time, Faye Phillips's article "Developing Collecting Policies for Manuscript Collections" provided a detailed model policy that different types of archives could adapt to their needs.

Subsequent discussions of appraisal in the archival literature have focused on documentation strategies, institutional functional analysis, and macro-appraisal. Collectively, these approaches adopt a "top down" rather than a "bottom up" orientation to appraisal.

More traditional approaches, based on value, use, and policy, have focused on records themselves. Advocates of the emerging methods of appraisal argue that careful research and analysis of the records creators and the records creating processes should precede the examination or appraisal of any actual records.

By approaching appraisal in this manner, archivists can identify the most important records creators and records producing functions within an organization, thereby placing themselves in a better position to create a more complete image of the institution or society that is being documented. Accessioning Once archives make the decision to acquire a collection of records, the next step in the management process is for the archival institution to accession the records. Accessioning is the procedure through which an archival repository takes administrative, legal, and physical custody of a group of records.

The means by which archives acquire administrative and legal control of records is slightly different for institutional archival programs than it is for collection repositories.

what is the relationship between archives and records management

Within institutional archives, records are generally transferred by means of a transmittal form, in which the office that created the records grants custody to the archival program of the same institution. For collecting repositories, which acquire records not from a parent organization but from private donors or external institutions, a deed of gift is the primary instrument by which the archives gain legal and administrative control over the records.

During accessioning, the archivist collects basic information about the records on the basis of a preliminary examination. Generally, an accession form is created, which includes data such as the creator of the records, the quantity, condition, and current location of the records, any restrictions on the records, a list of contents and brief descriptions of the records. The information that is gathered during the accessioning process provides essential information about the newly acquired records and later serves as the basis for the arrangement and description functions.

Intrinsic to the Australian system is public and private sectors in different areas of the world.

what is the relationship between archives and records management

There the philosophy that if archivists are to have historical records to appear to be more differences than similarities until these are put preserve they first of all have to ensure that the current records into the larger context of theory. There are similar considerations are properly created and maintained. The identification of the political, economic, social, and responsibilities in deciding what is captured and preserved for cultural milieu in which records were created is an area that posterity.

In other words, the records Records continuum management comprises a series of manager focuses largely on serving the organization, whereas the rather indistinct phases and therefore cannot be considered as a archivist attempts to serve society as a whole. The records management function is frequently described as The continuum theory encourages both professions to engage having responsibilities for records in all formats throughout with each other at critical points along the continuum, notably their life cycle, from planning and creation to ultimate disposal.

There is a focus on the process and archivists can gy is constantly changing, legislation rather than the product, the concept unite to increase follows rather than leads.

There are also rather than the item. In addition, To practically integrate records man- the value of the document is often agement and archives, there must be located in the content or information agreement that users need access to of the document rather than the docu- organized records, including both cur- ment itself.

This requires a complete historical It is for this reason that clear and practicable definitions for understanding of the organization and its processes and deci- the terms that are used in records management and archives are sions, which demands input from both professions.

Added to essential, particularly documents, knowledge, records, and infor- this, the question of custody and ownership as records pass mation.

She may be contacted at sue. The influence of postmodernism philosophy is clear in these professions as they change. It views archivists as co-creators of knowledge, Methodology and Implications for Managing Electronic culture, and society rather than just passive recipients merely Records.

Management and Archives in Germany. Integration of Records Management and Archives There is increasing integration of records management and Capurro, Rafael. Such records raise issues of privacy, security, preservation, Cook, Terry. New intellectual property, surveillance, and access. As the technolo- Formulations for Old Concepts. The Records Continuum and January Available at Upward, Frank. A Personal accessed 19 January Netherlands Symposium, Amsterdam, 23 October Changing Archival and Information Technology.

Council on Library and Available at http: The New Information Professional: