Thursday, April 3, 2008

ATR: Think, Think, Think....

I hate to admit it, but I have a soft spot for the "silly old bear" pictured at left. Lately, I'm also afraid that I resemble the pictured pose. I've been thinking... a lot... about some of the fundamentals that I have long held sacred in the records management profession.

As I read the blogs of others, as well as literature from the fringes of the profession, I'm really having to challenge myself.

The biggest change is how I look at Discovery. It has always been there. The Federal Rules changes have sort of put some things in my face. But until you work in a place with a very steady drumbeat of significant litigation, it is all really quite abstract. Once you start looking at court decisions and hear what the litigation attorneys are going through, the perspective begins to shift. The dollars that can be sucked up by litigation are real -- and very large. And what I am finding is that tight integration of records management with discovery processes is a very real requirement for some organizations. The model that I am really focusing on is the Electronic Discovery Reference Model. Go. Look. Read. Absorb. Apply.

So a lot of my brainpower has been focused on how we articulate this process within the business and improve our basic discovery processes. Tied to this is making the argument that good records management can significantly reduce the costs of discovery. It may seem a self-evident argument, but you need metrics.

The other thing that is keeping the neurons toasty in my head is articulating what records management cares about. Heretofore, I have always made a very narrow definition of a "Record" and anything outside that box was not relevant to my world. I'm coming to think differently on that one. Email management is driving these thoughts. I'm seeing a need to define and set retention periods not only for records, but also for "transitional records" (those courtesy copies that you keep for your own needs) as well as non-records. Why? Because we have to tell people that the garbage must be disposed of. And the only way to do that is to define what constitutes garbage and when it is going to be collected and tossed.

There's still a lot more refinement that needs to happen, but there is definitely a white paper in my future.

Oh bother.

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