Automating recordkeeping – what’s holding us back?
Conni’s paper has been selected for the IRMS Conference in Brighton, United Kingdom, 18-20 May 2014. Here is the precis:
We live in a world of technology where process automation is the norm. So why, in 2014, is records management still a labour intensive process? What’s preventing us from automating recordkeeping practices?
To understand why, we need to examine the current state of our systems, instruments, standards and knowledge.
A good starting point is the comparison between eCM systems and highly automated business systems, such as accounting. These systems prove that processes can be successfully automated while maintaining rigour, accuracy, consistency and authenticity of data. By studying successful systems, we can better understand which design and functionality features will allow us to effectively automate recordkeeping processes such as appraisal, capture, access, retention and disposal.
Are our recordkeeping instruments (metadata, classification and disposition) in a fit state for automation?
Our retention schedules are still being written as documents intended for human interpretation. But there are too few people trained in the art of sentencing to deal with the volumes of records we are now creating. What must we do to convert our retention schedules into machine readable formats? And are file plans the best means of classification?
Do we have the right skills across the industry to enable automation?
Digital recordkeeping requires a multidisciplinary approach embracing taxonomies, data and metadata design, business analysis, and information architecture. At present, much of this work is outsourced to consultants and contractors because there is a serious skill shortage across the industry. We need a redesign of recordkeeping education – less about filing and much, much more about technology.
Most importantly, we need to determine if the industry is resisting automation. After all, automation will change the discipline and practice of recordkeeping as we know it.
Click here for more details about the IRMS conference.