Standards for Establishing Records and Information Management Programs: Organizations That Don't Already Have a Records and Information Management (RIM) Program, as Well as Those Whose Programs Have Lapsed for Lack of Monitoring and Updating and Those That Have Been Affected by the Introduction of New Technologies, Should Consider Using RIM Standards and Best Practices as a Foundation for Their Programs

Article excerpt

A large variety of national and international standards, as well as technical reports and best practice guidelines, have been developed to aid records and information management (RIM) professionals in determining the best methods, rationale, components, and processes for managing the life cycle of records and information.

Understanding and applying the guidance these publications provide are essential to developing the efficient procedures, tasks, and processes that are important to a RIM program's success. However, wading through the list of available standards to find those that are most useful for establishing a good program can be time-consuming. This article identifies a number of key standards and best practices that have near-universal usefulness and can form a foundation for a comprehensive records management program.

Setting the Foundation

A good baseline for any RIM program is the adoption of the two publications recognized as the international records management standard and its accompanying technical report:

* ISO 15489-1:2001 Information and documentation--Records management--Part I--General (ISO 15489-1)

* ISO/TR 15489-2:2001 Information and documentation--Records management--Part II--Guidelines (ISO 15489-2).

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IS0 15489-1

ISO 15489-1 is a standard developed by representatives of a number of participating countries using a consensus process. It applies to the management of records in any format or media, created or received by any public or private organization during the course of its activities and to "any individual with a duty to create and maintain records."

Specifically, it provides guidance on determining RIM responsibilities, supporting a quality process framework, and designing and implementing a records system. It does not include the management of archival records within archival institutions.

ISO 15489-2

ISO/TR 15489-2 is a technical report, recommended for use with ISO 15489-1. It provides further explanation of the standard, including implementation options and some recommended procedures for achieving the requirements in ISO 15489-1. It provides one methodology to facilitate implementation and serves as a foundation for establishing a solid implementation plan based on pertinent jurisdictional laws and regulations. It gives an overview of the processes and factors to consider for organizations wishing to comply with ISO 15489-1.

Foundational Requirements

The requirements of ISO 15489-1, in particular, can be used to establish a foundation for a basic RIM program that satisfies the RIM needs of most organizations, especially when combined with the recommendations from ISO/TR15489-2.

It outlines the benefits of records management and sets requirements for:

* Considering the needs of the organization's regulatory environment

* Developing, implementing, and maintaining policies and responsibilities

* Establishing principles for records management requirements, including records creation, records form and structure, and the use of technologies; establishing authentic, reliable, and trustworthy records systems; business process analysis; creation and management of metadata; compliance with regulations and laws; determining how long to retain records; and the protection and preservation of records

* Designing and implementing a records system

* Creating records management proeesses and controls

* Establishing and conducting monitoring and auditing of the program

* Launching and conducting training in all aspects of the program

Supporting the Foundation

Once the basic program is determined based on the requirements of ISO 15489-1, other key standards and guidelines can be applied to support it. A detailed matrix listing the requirements of ISO 15489-1 and the key standards that support them is on pages 40-41. …