In the digital environment the management and preservation of electronic records needs new theories, methods and knowledge. This has during the last fifteen years, or so, been recognised as a difficult task, both from technological, methodological, and theoretical perspectives [Bearman 1994; Cook 1997; Upward 2000; McKemmish 2005].
It has been recognised that to be able to manage and preserve reliable, authentic and accessible electronic records produced and maintained in current e-business processes over time, a pro-active holistic approach is essential. If electronic records are not captured and prepared for long-term preservation in current business processes and systems, it will be very difficult and costly to subsequently preserve for long periods of time in the requisite trustworthy form. For example, if nothing is done during the development process of complex e-services solutions, not only the critical business information might be lost, but also the corporate memory of the organisation.
Scholars have even stated that the electronic environment makes it impossible to use theories and methodologies that were used in the paper-based world [e.g. Upward 1997; 2000], asserting a change from object to process and from static to dynamic. In contrast to the well established life cycle view of managing records and archives, the Records Continuum Model, asserts that records and archives are always in the state of being created, i.e. records management is described as an iterative process that continues throughout the life of the record [Upward 1997, 2000; McKemmish 2001, 2005].
One important driver behind the development of the model was the pro-active requirements that are present in the electronic records environment Upward 1997]. The model presents a structure of an active recordkeeping that go beyond time and space to capture and manage records for as long as they are required to satisfy business, legal, social and cultural needs:
Information and documentation - Records management - Part 1: General
Information and documentation - Records management - Part 2: Guidelines
The DIRKS manual: Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems
Other standards that support accessibility of information resources should also be investigated for their usefulness to the project, for example
ICA Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Offices* is in three modules:
Module 1: Overview – principles and functional requirements;
Module 2: Guidelines and functional requirements for ERMS
Module 3 Guidelines and functional requirements for records in business systems. This standard is particularly useful because it addresses records created and held in systems other than ERMS, thus reflecting the reality of the electronic records environment in many organisations.
The MoReq2 Specification *
MoReq2 provides generic requirements for electronic records management systems and is intended for use throughout the European Union. It has become a useful standard that is also used outside the EU by EDRMS developers.
* ICA Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Offices, Modules 1, 2 and 3. http://www.ica.org/en/node/38972
* MoReq2: http://www.moreq2.eu/downloads.htm