RIM for Local Governments

Article excerpt

Records and information management is records and information management. The basic RIM principles work for all industries. However, as industries do differ so do these differences affect their organizations' records and information. These unique aspects were the basis for ARMA International's forming the Industry Action Committees (now Industry Specific Groups) which continue to strengthen the RIM profession.

Industries tend to have their own language, types of challenges, and ways in which they prefer to manage and access their records and information. My first RIM position was working for the City of Irvine, California. It was a tremendous training ground for me. Looking back, I realize that what I learned prepared me well for my career in RIM. I learned, for example, how to deal in a political environment, how to be budget savvy, the importance of being able to make presentations, and how to wear a sales and marketing hat.

But as a local government RIM professional, I was indeed thankful for ARMA International. Written information specific to RIM for local governments was nonexistent. For today's local government RIM professionals the resources are far greater.

For example, a new book entitled Records Management: A Practical Guide for Cities and Counties is now available. Author Julian L. Mims, CRM, wrote this book as practical, non-theoretical guide for the local government practitioners. He incorporated into his book the experience and knowledge he acquired as a records manager and archivist with local governments. His over twenty years in the profession have included extensive written works and earned him ARMA International's prestigious Award of Merit.

The book begins with a friendly introduction that sets the tone. The three page introduction reviews the purpose and scope of the work, and how to use it, and some motivational words for the RIM professional.

The organization of the book is in five sections. Each stands on its own. As the introduction suggests, the book is designed for the reader to use the sections first that will be the most helpful. The five sections include:

Inactive Records

Records Protection

Active Records

Technological Applications

Program Success.

Inactive Records

This section begins by discussing the universal problem in local government-the accumulation of inactive records. Three chapters make up this section: Establishing a Records Management Program, The Records Center, and Archives.

The information provided in this section does a good job of reviewing the key aspects of implementing a solid program: Everything from defining the program's scope and developing retention schedules, to setting up a records center and the importance of archives.

Records Protection

Natural disasters can be cataclysmic for local governments. This section includes two chapters: Vital Records and Information Disaster Control. The information provided in these two chapters is very good in outlining the key aspects for preparedness. The information includes methods of protection, program maintenance, insurance, post-disaster assessment, and disaster recovery.

Active Records

Active records present the greatest opportunity to implement improvements. …