Archives and Records Management

Good archive and records management is of essential importance to the functioning of society, be it in business, law or public service. It creates greater accountability and transparency, and provides documentary evidence that establishes a tangible link to historic events by providing the raw material of our history and memory. For example, it is from ancient archives that we have gained insight into our ancestors and their civilizations. Archives and records management became critically significant in the 21st century, known as the "information age" (also called the "computer age,") which spans from the advent of the personal computer in the 1970s through to the growth of the internet in the 1990s and the domination of rapid global technology at the turn of the century.

In this context, archiving becomes a central part of the democratic process; it is fundamental to community, culture and personal identity. In a democratic society, archives underpin the citizens' rights and expectations of transparency. The role of the archivist and records manager is to protect this and ensure that information is utilized for the public good. In the United States, records management is thought to have begun in earnest during the 1940s. The size and scope of the government had grown in response to events such as the Depression and World War II. Records management had to contend with this growth and a raft of legislative acts were introduced in an attempt to regulate government information collection. The National Archives were founded in 1934 to administer the federal government's historic records.

In 1942 a proposed act by the U.S. government, the Federal Reports Act, attempted to control the increasing burden placed on citizens and business by government paperwork requirements. The act was not passed, however it marked a number of efforts by Congress that acknowledged the vast and growing amounts of information that were necessary in the United States across public and private life. In the UK, key developments in archives and records management can be traced back to the 1838 Public Record Office Act, the building of the Public Record Office in 1851 and the establishment of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in 1869. The UK's National Archives were formed in 2003.

Records management changed dramatically in the mid-1990s. Before that, record keeping was mostly paper-based. After this period, it was recognized that electronic management would be more effective in managing the wealth of information that was emerging. Early efforts to manage records in this way were basic and unequal to the task. In 2001, software companies began to take this role more seriously; they placed more priority of mitigating the risks involved with this practice and compliance and disaster recovery procedures were put into place.

Archives and Records Management: Selected full-text books and articles

Archives, Accessibility, and Advocacy: A Case Study of Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Relevance By Welch, Jennifer M.; Hoffius, Susan D.; Fox, E. Brooke Journal of the Medical Library Association, Vol. 99, No. 1, January 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Sustaining Community Archives By Newman, Joanna Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, Vol. 25, No. 1, March 2012
Records Management Theory's Dilemma: What Is a Record? By Finnell, Joshua Library Philosophy and Practice, June 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Collection Development and Maintenance across Libraries, Archives, and Museums: A Novel Collaborative Approach By Edwards, Phillip M Library Resources & Technical Services, Vol. 48, No. 1, January 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Theoretical Framework and Literature Review in Graduate Records Management Research By Kemoni, Henry N African Journal of Library, Archives and Information Science, Vol. 18, No. 2, October 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Harboring Data: Information Security, Law, and the Corporation By Andrea M. Matwyshyn Stanford University Press, 2009
Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens By James P. Sickinger University of North Carolina Press, 1999
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