Background/ importance of the research field. Is there a border between records and archives management in a digital environment? There are sound reasons to argue that this is no longer the case. The Australian Society of Archivists has on the homepage of its website a statement intended to encapsulate Australian archivists’ view of the full range of their professional mission and responsibilities:
Background/ importance of the research field
Is there a border between records and archives management in a digital environment?
There are sound reasons to argue that this is no longer the case. The Australian Society of Archivists has on the homepage of its website a statement intended to encapsulate Australian archivists’ view of the full range of their professional mission and responsibilities:“Archivists ensure that records which have value as authentic evidence of administrative, corporate, cultural and intellectual activity are made, kept and used. The work of archivists is vital for ensuring organisational efficiency and accountability and for supporting understandings of Australian life through the management and retention of its personal, corporate and social memory*.”
In order to ensure that records are created and kept appropriately, archivists must be involved in the design stage of recordkeeping systems, ensuring that they meet business requirements and that the business is aware of its recordkeeping requirements. It is this imperative that inspired what is known as the records continuum approach, as opposed to the life cycle model, which encouraged records managers to give greater consideration to the immediate business needs of the organisation rather than identifying and defending the continuing value and long-term preservation needs of the archival records in their care. Chris Hurley’s article, What, if anything, is records management? Explores the development of records management alongside changing technology and the need for business to have comprehensive information management systems of which records management is an acknowledged and important part.
Hans Hofman (2005, p156) notes that:
“Recent developments in archival theory have placed the notion of an archives using a broader, fuller, and more dynamic perspective which takes into account the many additional dimensions and allows a better understanding and, consequently, a better use. It has also connected the archive with records better. It is not only progress in archival thinking that has caused these new insights, but also the emergence of information technology and its impact on the nature of records and the processes in which they are created and used.
This development may also have consequences with respect to organizational structures, that is, the relationship between records management and archival management and the respective organizations that are responsible for them.”
Is an archive a physical entity or a virtual and intellectual construct? New technology and access possibilities have moved thinking from a single descriptive approach to multiple-access possibilities. There is also a growing awareness of the many voices represented in the archive and the silences in the archive which represent deliberate choices not to record, which together have given rise to the concept of multiple provenances. Chris Hurley’s body of writing on archival description provides a means
Australian Society of Archivists: <http://www.archivists.org.au/> of exploring these issues, including his article on Parallel Provenance which explores these issues.
Hofman (2005, p157) concludes his chapter by saying:
“The process of “building” an archive or corporate memory is implied in the ISO15489 Records management Standard, which identifies the necessity of having a records management policy that governs record-keeping. On the other hand, different cultural and related bureaucratic traditions have led and will continue to lead to different approaches of record creation and recordkeeping. Finally, an archive can be viewed from multiple perspectives in multiple contexts. The challenge is how to maintain an archive in such a way that this multifaceted view is possible over time and for future generations without the loss of the intrinsic relationships that it carries.”
*Australian Society of Archivists:http://www.archivists.org.au/