Where are the narratives in records management systems?

One of the quality problems that I think we have in records is around narratives.

Every system I’ve ever seen provides one of two things –

  1. The current state of a process.
  2. A collection of files that can be sorted.

The problem is that when people need to refer to a record, it’s very rarely to find a single detail.

What people are generally looking for is the process narrative – how it was initiated, how it was handled through each stage and decision point, what information was provided – you get the point.

When things go wrong and are subject to administrative or legal reviews, being able to understand the narrative is also what becomes of prime importance.

Even when information is of a more statistical nature, we can’t understand where to get that information unless we can understand where it would have been captured within a process – so we need to understand the narrative.

So why are records systems of all types still only good at current state, or being a sortable box?

Where is the narrative?

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