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Introducing a New Road Map for Electronic Recordkeeping 2011/08/13

Posted by nydawg in Digital Archives, Education, Electronic Records, Records Management.

4 Dimensions for Post-Custodial Control & Access

“A new road map for electronic recordkeeping,” is how Frank Upward described the records continuum in his unpublished paper “Applying the Records Continuum to Electronic Recordkeeping: Terms and Concepts for a Base Structural Model.” In the paper he explained the continuum as follows: “A continuum approach contains the premise that the way things are formed is the way things are, unlike a life-cycle approach which assumes that entities go through a series of stages. A continuum involves looking at layers of development. The archives is the archive, is the record, is the document. The document can be the record, can be the archive, can be the archives.  Records do not move in distinct stages in the continuum model. Records can be in several of the four dimensions and an archival record is an archival record regardless in which dimension the records may be. The four dimensions are document creation, capturing documents as records, organizing memory, and pluralizing memory.

In other words, the continuum theory purports that records should be managed whether they are in offices, records centers, or archives, and archival records should be managed as archives as they are being created in offices. This is a central issue of the continuum theory and one that proponents insist is missing from the life cycle theory.  Some contend that the life cycle theory already advocates this notion. If a series has been identified with a permanent retention period, the records manager should be advising the organization to manage that series from the beginning of the life cycle in ways that cost the organization less throughout that record’s permanent retention. Thus, the continuum model and life cycle model are indeed similar.



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