The problem for the image of the Records Management profession is Information Management (and the internet).

I think Records Management has an image problem.

I think this is because the average employee of a major organisation doesn’t understand it, so they don’t respect it, or know to ask for it even when the desperately need it.

In most cases I think they confuse Records with Information, and in most organisations have very little idea what each is fundamentally designed to do.

I think this is causing two problems for Records Management as a profession –

  1. Poor perception of records management and the value it provides in organisations that have made an investment in it.
  2. Failure to understand what Records Management can deliver in organisations that haven’t made an investment in it.

I think the source of the problem is easy to understand. From a non-technical outsiders view, Records and Information Management largely look the same.

They both have heavy investments in technology and they are both responsible for large volumes of information.

These same outsiders have also been convinced that it’s all the new oil. When they go to records, they expect that they’ll have a new oil information commodity experience. This causes a gap between what someone gets when they go to records, and what they expect to get, and I think that does an immense amount of harm to the Records Management brand.

I think the perception problem is caused by a lack of clear identity for Records Management in the broader community. I also think it has been exacerbated by the tendency to put Records and Information together when they have different aims and skill sets (which isn’t to say people can’t have and do both).

The longer Records Management continues without a clear brand and understanding, the longer I believe that the Records Management profession will be under-appreciated, and relatively unknown in some industries that desperately need it (Banking, Aged Care and Mental Health Care spring to mind).

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