Electronic Records Management Challenges

Electronic Records Visulaization A generation ago one would dictate a letter to an assistant who would type and file the document in an appropriate manner; being a part of the record management process that person would handle the regular disposition of those records. With the advent of the personal computer more and more of us are directly responsible for creating and filing our own documents without the benefits of training within the records management process, which leads to inadequate institutional control over the creation and maintenance of records.. Further complicating matters is that of the issue of preservation ) and that:

  • the documents and records we now create are dependent upon technology to interpret them, and more often than not, they are dependent upon specific hardware and software system combinations, some which are proprietary and unique
  • there are a lack of institutional policies and guidelines addressing the management of electronic records
  • there are a lack of affordable tools to appropriately and effectively manage electronic records
  • without effective tools and/or institutional polices and guidelines for filing and managing records, the usability, locatability and accessibility to the records may be compromised
  • the low cost of electronic storage does not encourage individuals to manage their records by disposing of records who's lives have expired
  • there is a greater risk for potential security breaches and damage via virus attacks .
  • there are significant risks of records loss or damage due to instability of storage media
  • the unmanaged proliferation of copies, even in paper, that while they provide redundancy from a backup point of view, they can ultimately wreak havoc with completing a final disposition process
  • the changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)  specifically identifies electronic records, including backups and unknown copies, as discoverable