Book Review: Authentic Electronic Records: Strategies for Long-Term Access

By Ardern, Christine | Information Management, October 2000 | Go to article overview

Book Review: Authentic Electronic Records: Strategies for Long-Term Access


Ardern, Christine, Information Management


TITLE: Authentic Electronic Records: Strategies for Long-- Term Access

AUTHOR: Charles Dollar

PUBLISHER: Cohasset Associates, Inc.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2000

LENGTH: 248 pages

PRICE: $78

SOURCE: ARMA International Bookstore, www.arma.org or 888/241-0598, or from publisher

More than 80% of the information in the workplace is being created electronically. What do we do, then, if the information has a 25-year retention period or is an archival record? We all face the challenges. How do we develop a strategy to make sure we can retrieve the records in 10, 20, or 30 years? What are the criteria to be considered? How do we ensure that the medium doesn't self-destruct in the long-term? Should we plan for migration?

Charles Dollar's Authentic Electronic Records: Strategies for Long-Term Access provides insight on "how a storage repository can provide access to electronic records that are no longer required for current operations and that have been retained for future use." Contrary to what one might expect from the title, the publication does not deal with building recordkeeping requirements into the systems design and development process or with maintaining electronic records in the operational environment. Instead, Dollar's focus is on planning for physical storage of electronic records and dealing with the technical challenges of ensuring long-term access.

The publication is broken into three parts: four chapters deal with conceptual foundations; options for long-term access; best practices, guidelines and recommendations, and an agenda for action. Seven appendixes and a bibliography provide the reader with additional references to help locate additional support material on the topic. Each chapter includes an introduction to the issues, a brief discussion of each issue, and a chapter summary - all in a format that is easy to read. The endnotes document sources as well as provide details about where to find more information.

The first chapter outlines eight electronic records research projects that have been the basis of many recent publications and facilitated standards development in several countries. It also provides brief descriptions of nine related issues from an archival science perspective, answering such questions as: What is a document? What is a record? What are authentic records? …

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