Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Managing Government Records & Information

Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: Managing Government Records & Information

Article excerpt

TITLE: Managing Government Records and Information

PUBLISHER: ARMA International

ISBN: 0-933887-83-3

PUBLICATION DATE: 1999

LENGTH: 250 pages

PRICE: $69 ARMA members, $114 nonmembers

SOURCE: ARMA International Bookstore, (888) 298-9202, www.arma.org

"Government is in the information business." Bruce W. Dearstyne, Ph.D., ends his latest book with this assessment by M.R. Nelson, Office of Technology Director at the Federal Communications Commission. This quotation might well serve as the subtitle of Managing Government Records and Information, a comprehensive discussion of the requirements for programs that effectively manage government records.

Dearstyne makes it clear that collecting, analyzing, storing, retrieving, and presenting data and information - as well as understanding the media that house information are core governmental functions. This book discusses records and information management at the local, state, and federal levels, and includes many current examples of government programs. The introduction states that the book presents "[the]...strategies and principles for developing records management programs and supporting...systematic management of government records." The author achieves this purpose by discussing the following:

the nature of government records and their importance

the types of problems faced by government records managers

electronic records management contrasted with managing paperbased records

managing archival records

viewing the future of record management

Although the book is directed toward an audience interested in learning how to manage government records, it also provides widely applicable records and information management principles, strategies, and examples of value to any information management professional.

Dearstyne balances the discussion of traditional records and information management functions with newer concepts and approaches. For example, in Chapter Five, "Managing Government Records and Information," he discusses records retention approaches. Dearstyne explains the traditional approach, which focuses on appraising records when they are ready for inactive storage or destruction. He contrasts this approach with an emergent model that focuses first on documenting the functions of organizations to understand more completely the context as well as the records being created. Here, records are evaluated when they are first created rather than when they are no longer actively used. …

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