Evidence Based Non-Custodial Records Management

Records management is a practice with thousands of years of history.

Or at least, custodial records management is.

Non-custodial records management though, isn’t the same thing.

It’s being practiced every day in systems that aren’t designed for it, by people who don’t understand it – or want to understand it.

So where is our evidence for the way we practice in this environment?

The more I read, the more I see re-interpretation of old ideas.

The problem with this is that the old ideas are based on old economics, and the new ideas are based on ideas about convenience that we don’t believe in, or that just don’t work.

Three examples –

  • Our ideas about disposition are influenced by the economics of storing a box for $5/month, do they still make sense when the cost to store an electronic “box equivalent” for 100 years is less than $1?
  • Sentencing on creation through integration of a business classification scheme and a disposal schedule is an idea that has been put into practice everywhere, but I find that about 2 in 100 organisations trust it enough to actually dispose of records based on the sentence, the others check manually – at $25+ an hour.
  • Function/Activity/Transaction is the gold standard for classification scheme design, but does it lead to higher quality records? My own experience has been that classification schemes are often a large barrier to records system usage.

Where is the evidence about what works?

How much of what we do by default now is more dogma than effective evidence based practice?

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