Why Records and Who Cares?

I just read a tweet that pointed to a blog post that sent me sort of sideways… @parapadakis: Is it a record? Who cares? http://tinyurl.com/kv9bxl #ECM #edrms #compliance

I’ve had a chance to think a little more about this and realize that @parapadakis is trying to start a discussion and not a fight 😀 Please consider this a contribution to the discussion. Why should we care? More to follow on other facets.

Humans share genes with packrats. Some of us, otherwise normal, are digital hoarders. My beloved spouse has 7 years worth of email archives on CDs. My guess is that he can’t read the older ones because Outlook isn’t all that friendly about being backwards compatible with antique CC.Mail archives.

We save the stuff because we can, not because there is any potential need for it. We are irrational about it.

I care about records because we are drowning ourselves in mindless disconnected chatter and dragging along sensible people. If we develop the discipline to discard that which is meaningless, we are free to imagine and create. Instead we are chained to gigabytes of e-Mail, tweets, IM chats, Facebook updates, and blog rants that we have long outgrown.

So, who cares if it’s a record? I do. I care because a record is something special to be plucked from the piles of meaningless drivel that issues from our fingertips day after day. A record “records” history. Records capture trustworthy, useful, and interesting contributions to set aside for future use and perhaps inclusion in the national experience.

I care because Congress managed to pass legislation to systematically protect our national heritage and not leave it to the loudest blowhards or most devious forgers.

On the other hand, if I am doing research and looking for information to formulate thoughts and ideas, I don’t care if it’s a record. If I have to go to a special “records” place to find things, I would likely complain about lack of access and transparency.

So, governance and compliance are absolutely necessary. But they should be built in. And that means smart people along with others like me, who may not be so smart, but who care, need to work together to figure out how to make governance and compliance enablers and not roadblocks for the sensible people.

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George Parapadakis

Thanks Jana, I appreciate the feedback… My aim was indeed to get people thinking outside the box, not to pick a fight 🙂 The fact is I toocare about preserving records. And I’m also a hoarder! I don’t know if you read my follow up blog where I tried to clarify… My gripe is with the antiquated methods we are forcing on how we manage records, and the fact that a “record” no longer consists of a single digital entity, not the need for records management per se. – Regards, @parapadakis

jana gallatin

Thank you back for caring George! I totally agree about the methods being antiquated, and our test program is probably the poster child for how not to implement! (It is a test, it is only a test, in the case of actually records management….) The focus of a test is quite different from the focus of a real records program. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we are going to evolve and be useful and have some ideas. Maybe they are crackpot ideas and maybe not. But hopefully we can get the discussion elevated and some changes made.