Electronic Records Research 1997: Resource Materials

Compilation Copyright, Archives & Museum Informatics 1998
Article Copyright, Author

Bibliography on Electronic Records

Records & Recordness

Canadian General Standards Board. Microfilm and Electronic Images as Documentary Evidence, Canadian General Standards Board, Ottawa, Canada, October 1993.
Valuable set of guidelines for delineating characteristics necessary for evidentiary use of microfilmed and electronic records. For electronic images, such characteristics are: completeness, accuracy, authorization, and maintenance of the capture of such images.

Cox, Richard J. "The Record: Is It Evolving?" The Records and Retrieval Report 10, no. 3 (1994): 1-16.
Reviews the historical use of the term "record" and discusses what is meant by the term. It also presents the functional requirements for record keeping developed by the University of Pittsburgh.

Hedstrom, Margaret. "Descriptive Practices for Electronic Records: Deciding What is Essential and Imagining What is Possible." Unpublished. Montreal, Canada, September 1992. Association of Canadian Archivists
Hedstrom's paper provides an excellent summary of the recent thinking by electronic records archivists on the concept of a record. She argues that the following are the relevant characteristics of records: 1) mandates, functions, and activities leading to their creation, 2) circumstances of creation, and 3) organizational framework of creation and use. The author argues that current descriptive practices of archivists have focused on data structures and content rather than the essential contextual information. She then considers, in detail, the essential and specific aspects of electronic records needed for descriptive purposes.

Information Technology Standards Working Group -- United States National Archives and Records Administration. Functional Requirements Covering the Information Life-Cycle to Meet Records Management and Archival Needs, DRAFT - 4/92
(Abstract provided).
This paper describes generically those essential capabilities required of any automated information system (i.e., the functional requirements) in order to satisfy statutory and regulatory requirements for the creation, management, and disposition of records of Federal agencies. This paper represents a consensus statement from NARA's Information Technology Standards Working Group.

Morelli, Jeffrey D. "Defining Electronic Records: a Terminology Problem... or Something More." Electronic Information Resources and Historians: European Perspectives, Eds. Seamus Ross, and Edward Higgs, 83-91. The British Academy, London, 25 June 1926. St Katharinen: Scripta Mercaturae Verlag, 1993.
(Abstract provided).
This paper was originally conceived as a discussion of the important differences in terminology between Information Technology (IT) specialists and others with an interest in records, e.g. Records Managers, Archivists and Historians. However, in developing these ideas it became apparent that much more fundamental issues needed drawing out, issues concerning the very existence of 'records' in an electronic environment.

Sanders, Robert L. "Record, Pre-record, Non-record?" Records Management Quarterly 28, no. 3 (July 1994): 52-57.
Sanders begins with the assertion that "for records managers to justify themselves a role in information management, they must show the unique contributions that their training and experience in records management can make to the management of non-paper information." [53] In order to achieve this, the author discusses how records managers should apply records management principles to non-paper records and pre-record information. In addition, he addresses their need to assert their abilities to distinguish original record copies requiring retention whether they be in the form of paper records, non-paper records, or pre-record information. Finally, the author addresses the relationship of configuration management, transactional information, and the information life cycle to the concept of the record copy.

Skupsky, Donald S. "Establishing Retention Periods for Electronic Records." Records Management Quarterly 27, no. 2 (April 1993): 40, 42-43, 49.
General review of legal requirements arguing that some electronic files are records and others are not. Contends that electronic mail is not a record unless the organization has determined a process for deciding which e-mail messages are to be considered records, voice mail is never a record, word-processing files and other drafts are non-records (only the final version is a record), a set of computer data of accounting and tax information are records due to IRS regulations, computer back-up tapes and other duplicate computer files are non-records, and databases and other similar data groups are records. This is a very suspect view at this point, at least as regards the definition of a record. Skupsky notes that the "computer industry and the courts refer to all computer information as 'records,'" a view that does not seem to hold true in the computer and information science literature.

Last Modified: 8/14/96 [kjb]

Bibliography on Electronic Records

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