What happens when people go to a records system with poor quality records.

The single most powerful symptom of poor quality records, is that people can’t find what they need.

When that happens, they don’t blame themselves.

They say “records is crap” – and they come up with another system because they have work to do, and we’re in the way.

It’s a tough box for us to be stuck in.

On one hand, if we don’t keep whatever garbage they put in the system, we don’t have complete records.

On the other hand, if we do keep whatever garbage they give us, finding is much harder than it should be – and they’ll blame us for a problem they created.

The question that I have to ask is how much of the problem is our fault?

There is always blame on both side of the fence, and we are always working in resource constrained environments.

So I think the most appropriate question is “have we done everything we could to raise the quality of records so they could find what they need?”

Have we used all the capabilities of our system?

Have we designed a classification scheme that truly reflects the job people do, and how they find?

Do we have forms to structure the input so we can capture certain elements as metadata?

Have we implemented faceted search so we can say with confidence that every piece of metadata improves their ability to find?

Have we chosen one business unit and decided that we’re going to devote our very limited resources and time to making records really deliver for them so that they will tell stories that lead to more budget for more high quality records experiences?

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