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Record Management – to prevent tragedy

Record Management – to prevent tragedy

When tragedy struck at the World Trade Center, among the many disturbing shots that remained etched in the memories of the television audience, one was of thousands of papers and documents flying around, destroyed. While this may not have been the most visually graphic, but its consequences were no less severe with thousands of archives, records and documents, dealing in millions of dollars, going up in smoke. This brings into perspective how important individual, government and financial records are, and hence calls for the need of records management.

Record management as a term is the practice of maintenance of records of a private or government organization from the time of creation up to their disposal. The management refers to the classification, storage, security and destruction (or preservation as archives) of the records. The records in question could be anything of value of the organization, ranging from birth certificates, documents, databases, faxes, email, etc. The records are basically evidence to the activities of the organisation. The values of the records, hence, are different and they are managed accordingly. Earlier definitions of records included only archival or semi-current records of chiefly inactive events. The modern definition includes records of an event right from its inception, application through to its disposal.

Managing records of an organization may be done by a record management wing in the organization itself or may be outsourced to specific record management solutions provider companies. The general steps and procedures involved in records management usually involve:

-          The information requirements of the organization are to be planned and assessed. This is a very important step of records management and requires a complete knowledge of the working, activities, past events as well as future plans of the organization.

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