Magazine article Information Management

The Value of Information Management. (A Message from the Editors)

Magazine article Information Management

The Value of Information Management. (A Message from the Editors)

Article excerpt

Every day, each of us receives, reads, absorbs, and perhaps saves millions of megabytes, soundbytes, column inches, and databases of information, some of which is valuable but most of which is about as necessary as a jelly-filled doughnut.

The ability to discern the valuable from the junk information has become imperative in almost any job, but especially for those in the records and information management profession. Of course, some information (such as an e-mail about a company's first-quarter financials) is more valuable than other information (such as an e-mail about the company's new snack bar), and it is very obvious which is junk and which requires further reading, filing, or preserving. But in many instances, the degree of importance of a particular piece of information is not as clear. For instance, would you delete an e-mail from your superior asking you to review your company's policy on shredding documents? What would you do if your company was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission?

While a lack of ethics was definitely the main culprit in the recent surge of corporate wrongdoings, investigations, and subsequent bankruptcies in the United States, perhaps "information overload" was a contributing factor. Businesses, executives, accountants, and employees are bombarded with an inordinate amount of information daily, and this makes it difficult to sort out the important from the nonessential data, the "ok-to-shred" information from the "don't-shred" information.

There are no excuses for the way some of these companies behaved, but for every company that purposely altered documents or "cooked the books" there are other organizations that simply overlooked a few critical memos or shredded a few old documents they honestly did not think were necessary anymore.

Perhaps organizations should take a cue from the U. …

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