Libraries, Records Management Data Processing: An Information Handling Field

By Noot, Theodore J. Vander | ARMA Records Management Quarterly, October 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Libraries, Records Management Data Processing: An Information Handling Field

Noot, Theodore J. Vander, ARMA Records Management Quarterly

More than 20 years ago, this work effectively established records management as a member of a large, interdisciplinary, and socially important information management profession. Clearly and effectively, the roles and importance of information management are established. Many of the most talked-about issues in our field today are articulately discussed here. The paper itself is divided into four parts. The first part looks at the problems of information handling as they exist today. The overlap between the worlds of the data processor, the librarian, and the records manager is explored. The second segment looks at some of the economic and social reasons behind the failure of information handling to keep pace with the modern world. The third part deals with a conceptualization of what an ideal information handling system, at least in the records management area, must look like. The final section deals with a new approach to analyzing the problems that face us all and a solution which seems to satisfy all the conditions of an ideal system. The importance of understanding the disciplines cognate to records management is made here in a timeless manner.

The Paper Flood. Information Pollution. Paper Deluge. Information Overload. Lost Information. Information Explosion.

In today's society, these phrases, incessantly repeated, are icons to which every article and text on information pays "duty homage." The fact that they are becoming empty cliches does not alter the reality that the technological society of the 20th century is in trouble. A solution must be found before the culture stagnates in a sea of paper. The librarian, data processor, and the records manager are the ones who are professionally responsible for finding that solution.

Since the latter part of the 15th century science, technology, and medicine have made tremendous strides that have lifted at least a fair percentage of mankind above the subsistence level which prevailed before that time. As a result, five centuries of progress have raised progress itself to a cultural goal, and literacy and education to a way of life.

But this race to the future has provided the society with a new set of problems even while the problems of earlier centuries are being solved. If 20th century man could view the future with the dispassion and historical perspective of a historian like Toynbee, he could turn toward the possibility of a period of scientific and technological peace. There are those who would argue that science and progress have brought nothing but greater problems and therefore the society should declare a moratorium on new advances while the old problems are solved. A cultural breathing space might be beneficial since it would allow time for psychological and technological adjustment. But cultures have momentum, just as physical bodies do. Even if a moratorium were desirable, there are 500 years of cultural momentum, of faith in progress, to overcome before such a moratorium could ever be considered.

Assuming, then, that cultural progress is inescapable, at least for the time being, the frame of reference must shift to the question of how society can cope with the changes and pressures of modem life. One of the main problems that must be solved involves the flood of new information dealing with and using it, as well as developing and storing it.

It is easy to say that the world is becoming increasingly complex and that each person has to know more about more things in order to operate effectively But it is difficult to find the right reference which will save work, and even more difficult to cross discipline lines in locating references.

In business, the collecting of meaningful data that could affect a crucial management decision is becoming harder because of the masses of data available. In all areas of life, therefore, it is necessary to recognize that the known existence of information on a particular subject of immediate need does not guarantee that it will be found or be available at the right place or time.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Libraries, Records Management Data Processing: An Information Handling Field


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?