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ve public go. Curation, saul urs on Centre 1 che DELOS ps selosacutk) urze (DPF) Principal te sshance the gaged in ‘cutting frase sector Head of ICT ising in (Fo ow at the ys = College, e seacable at Ee i cs nal Health emg research tos He served: < = Records ces +) the Civil pF os Sectum )~ snagement jr 2002 he $= of Great Records and the transition to the digital Allstair Tough+ Introduction Much of the existing literature of record keeping is oriented to an ideal world where record-keeping professionals enjay the support of top management, have a clear and comprehensive mandate, possess ample resources and have a securely founded change management strategy. For ‘many, the challenge is to move the real warld towards this desirable stare of affairs. Ie would be a mistake, however, to imagine that we need to start with a blank shect, There ate useful tools and methodologies currently available, and there is much in recent theoretical debate that can be of value to the practitioner, It is often said that technology has made x massive difference ro contemporary record keeping. One has only to think of composite documents that incorporate word-processed text, graphics and tables produced using several differem software packages to see the truth in this statement. However, it is worth reminding ourselves that important organisational changes began betore the widespread use of personal computers. These organisational changes have included decentralisation and delayering. They have often been accompanied by a mindset that secs back office functions as ‘waste’. Here it is important o remind vurselves that there are two major traditions of record keeping in the English-speaking world.* ‘the Commonwealth tradition, exported fram Britain to Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and many developing nations in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the West Indies, is founded on the principle of pre-action aggregation and routing of Record Keeping in a Hybrid Cvironment records. This has been widely implemented via registry systems. The ‘American tradition, in contast, is based on inlividual action followed by post-hoc filing. This distinction is particularly significant ecause most software packages intended for office use are based on an American approach that cuts out “back office’ functions. ‘One other preliminary observation needs to be introduced here, regarding the distinction between ‘routine? and ‘ercative’ work. Shepherd and Yen suggest that the latter can pose greacr challenges for record-keeping systems. There can be little doubt that routine processes generally lend themselves to the kind of systenuatic approaches favoured by record-keeping. professionals. However, any suggestion that creative work will always and necessarily generate difficulties needs 0 be examined critically. ‘The degree of external regulation and internal discipline can be crucial factors. These points will be developed further helow. Models of record keeping Models, and graphic representations, are appropriate to the age in which we live — an eta that is noticeably less text bound than most of the preceding century, Levy, alongside many others, argues that a wide Tange of non-text items (maps, diagrams, pictates, photographs, and all manner of other conventional and well-articulated, nonverbal representations”) can be regarded as ducuments in the contemporary ‘world, Models can elucidate thinking, not least where abstract concepts are concerned. Models imay also help us to work across disciplinary boundaries, Marilyn Steathern® reminds us that all models are products of abstraction and possess ritual and symbolic significance, There is a strong case for saying that we should not shy away from the ritual and syubolic aspects of modelling, as they may work few usm a paper to the Society of Archivists’ 2004 conference, James Currall spoke about the excessive confidence that often characterises TT professionals. As he put it, ‘computing scientists’ key skills finclude} thinking all answers to information problems have lire developed since the bieth of the computer (by them)’ Strathern makes the point that this confidence derives, in part at least, from the fact that they “possess! ways of representing reality, even of insisting, that it must be made to conform to pre-determined schemata of their devising Similar phenomena can be observed in respect of knowledge managers. One could argue thar this ~ I ee ee phenomenon has an inherent tendency tw produce negative consequences, especially where the clients’ needs and views are disregarded by those who “possess" the dominant model. Among record-keeping professionals, two models have dominated discourse: the life cycle and the records continuum, The life cycle model has been influential among record-keeping professionals since the midlle of the twentieth century? Ie is usually ‘expressed as a progression from record creation, through active use to a semi-current phase and then toa non-current end point where the record! may be selected for preservation in an archive or destroyed. In life cycle thinking, it is generally assumed that records are transferred to an archive so that they may be used for historical and culcural purposes after their value for business purposes has been exhausted. The life eycle model is non-linear: time is not expressed in weeks, months or even years but in stages. Nor are places (office of creation, records centre and archive) separated with any great precision. Kelationships within the life cycle can be viewed as» continuum in which place and time are linked Thus office and current, records centre and semi-current and archive and non current arc scen as necessarily linked terms. The life cycle approach has been challenged by records continuum models, In its earlier versions the records continuum model constituted an empirical response to the evident inadequacies of the life cycle. These included the following: ® Records do not flow in only one direction. Records that have been put aside may experience a new phase of business use. For example, records relating to the design of an aircraft carrier may be little used between the completion of construction and a comprehensive overhaul many years later. Nonetheless, they take on a fresh currency ‘when the overhaul commences. Records creation is nor the first step required in a comprehensive model. System design isthe first, and crucial, stage in a record-keeping system. This fact was not ubvions ta those whi devived ee life cycle model because they worked in an apparently stable paper based environment where the essential design features of record-keeping systems were often taken for granted. + ‘Some records may be ot value for historical and cultural purposes while simultaneously being of value for practical purposes. In other words, the passage of time does not necessarily imply that records cease to be of value tor business. Tor example, records of propetly conducted geological surveys have an indefinite life span because the