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Documents and Records Management Basics

If you need more information on the solutions which would suit your specific records management needs you might want to browse the most reliable resources on the net on this topic, such as National Archives and Records Administration. NARA is the independent Federal agency that helps preserve our nation's history by overseeing the management of all Federal records. NARA is responsible for adequacy of documentation and records disposition, under the The National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984. Federal agency records management programs must comply with regulations promulgated by NARA. You might also try the more specific part of their Web site - Records Management Home with FAQ about Records Management in general and electronic record management, as well as National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, and Association for Information and Image Management.

Here are some basic explanations and suggestions from the above resources:

There are many, though similar, definitions of records management, according to NARA. A common one is "the field of management responsible for the systematic control of the creation, maintenance, use, and disposition of records." From the Federal perspective, it is the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved in records creation, maintenance and use, and disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations (44 U.S.C. 2901). Records management addresses the life cycle of records, which usually consists of three stages: creation or receipt, maintenance and use, and disposition.

Records and document management is a significant part of any company or agency's business operations. Documents are recorded communication with recognizable structure, on any medium, understandable without further processing. Records are recorded evidence of agency, company or individual functions, activities and transactions. Records and documents are evidence, proof of how companies or agencies deal with clients, customers, etc., and vice versa. It is used to show that companies and agencies are run efficiently and effectively and to discharge some obligation because they are held accountable for their actions. But, to be the evidence a record must have content, context and structure, and be a part of a record-keeping system.

Basic document management principles are based on these information management principles:

Manage the whole document life cycle

Ensure the quality of information about your documents

  • Provide appropriate access to your documents
  • Identify your valuable documents
  • Secure your valuable documents
  • Preserve your valuable documents

Paper is still a widely used medium for the storage of information, usually in the form of documents. But, more and more of medium types are moving from traditional paper documents to electronic media. However, although most documents are now produced electronically, a large proportion of them are still sent to recipients in printed form. Government agencies, as well as all other organization, are in a period of transition from the use of paper documents to dependency on electronic record management. All organization are more and more using Word processing, Electronic mail, Intranet sites, and Internet connections. The use of computer applications to generate and transmit electronic documents is increasing rapidly.

Well organized electronic document management may incur additional costs, such as the purchase of software and the cost of extra time required to provide the necessary document management information. However, electronic record management will also bring benefits not offered by paper-based systems: improved, quicker and more efficient access to documents, records and evidence than ever before. On the other hand, traditional records management disciplines applied to paper documents are not necessarily the same for electronic documents, which may result in poor electronic document management. Poor electronic document management may incur large and ongoing costs!

Fortunately, integrated electronic record management systems are now available, which provide control over individual documents and versions of documents in their electronic form, as well as providing powerful finding tools.

Image Mentor specializes in enhancing and adding to your Documentum ApplicationXtender document management system.
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