Resource Review: RIM from a Corporate Counsel's Perspective

Article excerpt

Resource Review: RIM from a Corporate Counsel's Perspective

Records and information management (RIM) professionals looking for new reference material on records retention for their library shelves often make the mistake of confining themselves to books and loose-leafs intended specifically for the records manager. This may be a bit shortsighted.

Lots of other groups are interested in records retention, and, as a result, there are publications available that are intended for other audiences. One such audience is corporate counsel. Their collective interest in records retention has increased considerably in the past decade, and there are now available reference works on the topic that consider it from corporate counsel's point of view. But some of these publications are useful to RIM professionals as well.

One such publication is the Corporate Counsel's Guide to Records Retention, a three-volume, loose-leaf compilation published by Business Laws Inc. It is comprised of two parts. The Corporate Counsel's Guide to Records Retention is a series of monographs on various topics. It is supplemented by the Corporate Counsel's Records Retention Report, which is comprised of newsletters on similar topics that are issued monthly and pre-punched for insertion into the set's three-ring binders. The Guide to Records Retention also contains sample policies and guidelines in the form of copies of policies from General Dynamics Corporation and two other entities. The set is updated with supplements twice a year.

The topics covered in the monographs vary from those that have general applicability to those that are narrowly targeted. Such topics as admissibility of business records in court and personnel record privacy concerns are likely to be of interest to most or all readers, while others - such as records retention requirements for cryptographic products and records retention under the Robinson-Patman Act - will interest only a few. More intermediate in scope and likely to be of interest to most large organizations are such topics as export control laws and lobbying. Overall, the collective scope of this volume is quite broad, and it is likely to be of interest to many RIM managers, particularly those at larger organizations with complex or subject-specific needs.

The newsletters, each in the four- to eight-page range, are well written and informative, and users will find them to be a valuable resource if the topic is one of interest. Each one provides a background on the law or topic itself, followed by a records retention-oriented analysis. The background discussion is valuable because it provides an overview of what may well be an unfamiliar topic. (How much do you know about the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and its records retention implications?) A research section containing the text of the laws under discussion follows the monographs contained in the Guide to Records Retention. …