Records and Information Management

By Corson, Jamie | Library Resources & Technical Services, April 2014 | Go to article overview

Records and Information Management


Corson, Jamie, Library Resources & Technical Services


Records and Information Management. By Patricia C. Franks. Chicago: Neal-Schuman, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2013. 410 p. $80 softcover (ISBN: 978-155570-910-5).

Patricia Franks has created a text that could benefit both experienced professionals and students learning the fundamentals of records management. The author fulfills the needs of these two separate audiences by constructing the book in a way that makes it easy to approach and digest. The book has twelve chapters, each covering a different element of records and information management (RIM). The chapters can be read independently of one another, with topics that are not dependent on prior or subsequent information. Experienced professionals may find particular sections somewhat tedious, as the author has a tendency to go into great detail when explaining basic concepts. However, many of these explanations would be useful to those learning the basic principles of RIM. Individuals currently working in the field would be better served choosing chapters that cover topics relating to their specific needs. As such, the book serves as an excellent reference tool for professionals with established records management programs.

A particular strength of the book is the guest contributions included at the end of each chapter. The collection of "from the field" experiences illustrates the concepts discussed in each chapter and links theories to real-world practice. The perspectives are from professionals working in a variety of institutions (law firms, government archives, etc.), which expand the reach of the text beyond library professionals. In addition, each chapter contains multiple text boxes, figures, and illustrations supplementing the topics. The author includes best practice statements, definitions, and sample policies that break down some of the terminology and give tangible examples of records management practices.

The book is roughly divided into three segments. Chapters 1-5 cover the development of records management and the stages of implementing a program. Chapters 6-10 detail different types of records and the issues facing their management. The final segment (chapters 11-12) focuses on broader issues relating to the records management profession. The opening chapter serves as an introduction to the field of RIM, detailing the origins of the profession and its future, and explains the different formats covered by the term "record." Chapter 2 describes the concept of information governance and reviews the requirements for implementing a solid program. Each concept is introduced using basic definitions and explanations that speak to novices in the field, while the author also includes real-world examples and specific best practices that will benefit experienced records professionals. Chapters 3-5 explain the different stages of implementing a successful records management program. Topics covered include classification and file development, retention and disposition, and storage and access issues. Professionals working with a records management plan or those familiar with basic ideas and terminology may find elements of these chapters somewhat tedious as the author has a tendency to overstate certain concepts, causing the reader to get bogged down in the details. …

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