One of the problems for people working in Records Management, is that people aren’t really attuned to the problems that are caused by poor records management. In the absence of catastrophic failure, this leads to the perception that chronic under-investment in records has no consequences.
DIKAR is a model that highlights the problems that people have because of poor organisational record keeping.
DIKAR is an acronym for:
Data Information Knowledge Action Results
The essence of the model, is that results are determined by everything that came before them. People take data and apply a context to get useful information that they interpret using knowledge, based on their interpretation they take action – and the action leads to specific results.
When the results are bad, it has to be a consequence of something that came earlier.
It’s at this point we have to ask, how many processes rely on recorded information and data?
If you’re in a government or bureaucratic organisation, the answer is simple – all of them. If you’re not, the answer is almost all of them. While capturing new information may be a part of most processes, they almost all rely heavily on records that the organisation already holds.
This means that the quality of the recorded data, and recorded information is largely responsible for the quality of the outcomes from a process. No knowledge, no matter how good, can compensate for bad data or information – not without significant expenditure on fixing the bad data and information. With good records management practice in the organisation, this just wouldn’t be necessary.
Unfortunately for all of us, this systematic relationship isn’t always obvious. DIKAR is an excellent model that everyone should know and use because it puts the value of records in the only context that matters – the context of how it affects the quality of results.