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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Identify and explain the key issues considered relevant in a microfilming project.


INTRODUCTION
Preservation is about linking the past with the future. It is about passing on cultural knowledge and information from one generation for the benefit of the next. Preservation helps to make heritage for the use to current and future generations either in its original format or in another usable way. Over centuries many societies have preserved their cultural heritage in a variety of ways.One of those preservation measures includes microfilming. In this paper the author is going to identify and explain the key issues considered relevant in a microfilming programming.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Microfilming according to Chiwanza and Tsvuura  (2011:62) “is the photographic process of creating miniaturized images of records on high-resolution film.” According to Millar and Roper (1999:114) microfilming concentrates information into a compact and relatedly easy-to-use form, so that information from many records may be stored in a small space and read using microfilm or microfiche readers. Actual microfilm is a long reel of film, much like moving picture film. Microfilming as a preservation measure had advantages which are as follows: it reduces records storage space by almost 90 percent, it is relatively low cost to duplicate and ship, a properly produced microfilm copy is recognized legally as an acceptable substitute of originals.
According to Queensland State Archives (2006), when undertaking a microfilming project, a number of factors need to be decided and specified. These include the type of film to be used, the microfilm format to be produced, the equipment to be used, and specifications and standards and copyright issue to be met as described in the following paragraphs.

There are three types of films used in microfilming which are silver halide, vesicular and diazo films. According to Millar and Roper (2011) silver halide film is the one recommended for microfilming preservation because it is long lasting. Silver halide film on a polyester base that is processed and stored correctly has an estimated life expectancy (LE) rating of up to 500 years.

The emulsion layer consists of silver crystals suspended on gelatin. Silver halide according to Queensland State Archives is generally used for first and second generation microfilms. It can also be used for third generation service copies. Its main drawback is that its surface is more easily scratched. Other advantages of silver halide film are; it is the most high sensitive of all films used, it can record a greater variance of density and contrast present in original material and gives the highest resolution. Polyester based films are recommended due to its: proven chemical stability, tear resistance and durability.

The next issue to consider when considering a microfilm is that of film format. The two commonly produced formats are the 35mm and 16mm microfilm. Each format according to Queensland State Archives (2006)  has advantages for specific applications. Advantages of 35mm roll microfilm include; allows a larger image size and allows a greater variety of reduction ratios can be used to film a wider variety of original records and can be produced from a planetary camera or using computer output technology.

Advantages of 16mm roll microfilm include; most commonly used for the filming of uniform sized documents and due to its size, images are usually filmed at higher reduction ratios. A 16mm roll microfilm can be produced using a planetary camera, a rotary camera or computer output technology.

According to Chapman S, Conway P.and Kenney A.R. film formatting includes permanence requirements, resolution and pictorial quality, polarity, density, image placement, reduction ratio, film size, bibliographic integrity and technical targets.

The third issue to consider whenever planning for microfilming projects includes equipment to be used for microfilming. According to Queensland State Archives (2006:5)  microfilm can be produced using a traditional camera to take a microfilm image of a paper record or the film can be generated using computer output equipment whereby a microfilm image is produced from a digital file.

Traditional microfilm cameras currently used to microfilm public records include the planetary and rotary/flow camera. Planetary cameras are the ones recommended for their quality microfilming. Millar L.and Roper M.(1999:117) says the decision about the materials to be filmed and type of microform to be used will determine the type of camera needed. The nature of archival material places certain constraints on the choice of equipment. Millar and Roper (1999:18) continues to say the fragility of the documents also rules out any type of camera, which passes the original sheets of paper through a feeder and films them as they pass. Such cameras are not suitable for filming archival records as there is a risk the originals may be damaged as they pass through the feeder. The decision about which type of camera to use will depend on the needs of the materials and the probable use, as discussed above. When selecting a camera system, it is very important to consult with the archival institution or conservation specialist familiar with the modern generation of cameras.

The other important issue to consider in a microfilming project is the specifications and standards of microfilms. There are standards set by different information organizations. For example, guidelines sat by ISO are as follows; ISO 6199:2005 Micrographics-Microfilming of documents on 16mm and 35mm silver-gelatin type microfilm. On operation procedures ISO 6200:1999 is used. The ISO’s web site describes standard 6199 as specifying (1)“procedures that enable a camera operator to produce microfilm of appropriate quality of presentation and legibility, capable of yielding scanned images of acceptable quality (2) “methods for microfilming documents on 16mm and 35mm silver-gelatin microfilm, including orientation of images on microfilm, use of non-image areas and information required to facilitate identification of the microfilm.

The USA document titled microfilmstandards found on website www.dogitizationguidelines.gov/term.php?term=microfimstandards says whenever organizations decides to plan to scan microfilms then they must make sure to produce high quality capture, avoiding or minimizing page curvature, gutter shadows, or lack of focus, lower reduction ratios preferred to higher, the inclusion of test charts in which resolution test pattern 5.0 or higher is readable, unambiguous indication of reduction ratio, variations in density between images and exposures narrower than permitted by current standards, i.e. from 0.9 to 1.2

The issue of copyright is another important point to consider whenever embarking on a microfilming project. According to Brown (2003:22) there are two major copyright issues to be addressed when microfilming. The first is the rights of the original copyright owner, and the second is the copyright that may exist in the microfilming production.

Brown (2003:22) says the rights of the original owner need to be respected. He says before materials are filmed relevant national and international copyright laws must be checked to ensure compliance with the copyright owner’s rights. Brown (2003) says unpublished or archival materials may have special requirements, for example, diaries and other publications may never be published and in such situations written permissions of the copyright owner must be sought before microfilming. The organization that produces the microfilm copy may also hold copyrights on the microfilm production. Both copyrights issues-the rights of the original owner and the copyright in the microfilm copy should be recorded in the microfilm targets (the equivalent of the title pages in books).

CONCLUSION
The author has identified issues to be considered whenever planning a microfilming projects. Issues discussed are; the type of film to be used, the microfilm format to be produced, the equipment to be used, specifications and standards to be met and copyright issues.

Bibliography
Millar and Roper, 1999, Preserving Records, IRMT,LONDON
Chiwanza and Tsvuura, 2011, Conservation Prevention and Reprography, ZOU,    
                                     Harare
Brown H, 2003, Training in Preservation Microfilming, National Library of Australia,
                            Australia
Chapman S,Conway P,Kennedy.A.R1,Digital Imaging and Preservation Microfilming:
                                              The future of the Hybrid Approach for the Preservation
                                             Brittle Books,Havard University, USA
Queensland State Archives, 2006, Guideline for Best Practice Microfilming of Public Records, Queenslands State Archives, Queensland


Etiwel Mutero holds a degree in Records and Archives Management.You can contact him on 0773614293 or etiwelm02@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Records Management Practices at the Department of Physical Planning Estates and Works NUST

                               ZIMBABWE OPEN UNIVERSITY
FACULTY OF APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION SCIENCE AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT
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by
etiwel mutero
Student Number: P1036139r

A research project submitted to the Zimbabwe Open University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in records and archives management
Zimbabwe  Open University
Harare, Zimbabwe
Year 2014





Zimbabwe Open University
Approval Form

The undersigned certify that they have read and recommended to the Zimbabwe Open University a research project entitled:

EFFECTIVENESS OF RECORDS MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICAL WORKS PLANNING AND ESTATES AT NUST
Submitted by Etiwel Mutero in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Records and Archives Management.
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Supervisor
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Programme/subject co-ordinator

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External Examiner

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Date


Zimbabwe Open University
Release form
Name Author:            etiwel mutero
Title of Project:         AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RECORDS MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICAL WORKS PLANNING AND ESTATES AT NUST
Degree for which Project was presented:   Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in RECORDS AND ARCHIVES MANAGEMENT
Year this Degree was granted in Learning: 2014
Permission is herby granted to the Zimbabwe Open University Library to produce single copes of this project to lend or sell such copies for private scholarly scientific purpose only.
The author does not reserve the publication rights for the project and neither can extensive extracts from it be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author’s permission.
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Signed
Permanent Address               114 FORT STREET
                                                BULAWAYO
                                                ZIMBABWE
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Date


Dedication

I dedicate this research project to my family.


















                                                                   Abstract
The study sought to assess the extent to which records management practices were aiding the effectiveness and efficiency of the NUST Department of Works. The aims and objectives were to establish strategies used to manage records in the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates and to explore methods used to preserve and conserve the department’s vital records just to mention a few. It was the assumption of the study that there is a near total collapse of records management systems at the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works and that study was significant because the findings were going to be used by records students undertaking records management studies. The literature review maintains that an effective records management program anchor on a written records management policies, standards and procedures. The researcher used a case study research design where a single department of NUST was chosen for this study. The population of the research comprised of all NUST Department of Physical Planning staff members of which a sample of ten (10) people were elected through a stratified random sampling procedure To gather information the following research tools were used: observation, interviews and questionnaire. The results indicated that; the department have never appraised or disposed its records ever since its establishment, records had already filled up the strong room which is no longer accessible and some of the records are staffed in boxes and some piled on the floors. It was recommended that the department adopts a records management policy, train its staff on simple records management standards, adopts a records preservation plan, revive the records office and to appraise and dispose records systematically.
























ABBREVIATIONS/ACRONYMS
ICT                                          Information Communication Technologies
NUST                                      National University of Science and Technology
ZOU                                        Zimbabwe Open University

















                                                  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would not have been able to complete this academic journey at the Zimbabwe Open University without the following individuals who have stayed with me along the way:
First of all, I would like to express sincere gratitude to my supervisor Mrs. M. Tapfuma for his attention to detail and generosity in sharing both his knowledge of the research process and most importantly, for helping I grow immeasurably as a student. With her guidance and support, writing this research project was a powerful learning experience.

I would like to extend my appreciation and special thanks to the following other people who have assisted me during the time I was writing this project: Mr Chenjerai Mawodzwa, Mr M.Moyo, Ms. Hilda Hwenga, Miss Dorcas Ndlovu, Ruth Matitima, Nonhlanhla Moyo and Spiwe Sibanda.
Many thanks, as well go to all the staff of the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works where I conducted this study.
No study can be conducted without the emotional support of family, friends and colleagues. I can merely express my gratitude to all my family and friends for their continued support.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS
                                                            PAGE
Approval Form                                                                             ii
Release Form                                                                                iii
Dedication                                                                                                iv
Abstract                                                                                        v
Abbreviations and Acronyms                                                      vi
Acknowledgements                                                                      vii
Table of Contents                                                                         viii
List of Tables                                                                               xiii
List of Figures                                                                              xiv

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction                                                                                  1
1.2 Background of the study                                                              1
1.3 Statement of the problem                                                             5
1.4 Purpose of study                                                                           5
1.5 Research Objectives                                                                     5
1.6 Research questions                                                                       6
1.7 Significance of the study                                                             6
1.8 Assumptions of the study                                                             6
1.9 Definition of Terms                                                                          7
1.10 Scope of the study                                                                          8
1.11 Limitations of the study                                                                 8
1.12 Summary                                                                                        9

Chapter 2:  Literature Review
2.1 Introduction                                                                                     10
2.2 Definitions of Records Management                                               10
2.3 Importance of Records Management                                               10
2.4 Other Benefits of Records Management                                          16
2.5 Requirements of an Effective Records Management Program         18
2.6 Records Life-Cycle                                                                            23
2.7 Records Appraisals                                                                            25
2.8 Purposes of Records Appraisals                                                         25   
2.9 Theories of Records Appraisal                                                           27
2.10 Appraisal Methodologies                                                                  28
2.11Records Retention Schedules                                                             31
2.12 Benefits of Retention Schedules                                                        32
2.13 Disposal Schedules                                                                            35
2.14 Consequences of Delaying to Dispose Records                                 36
2.15 Summary                                                                                             37
CHAPTER THREE-RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction                                                                                           39
3.2 Research Methodology                                                                          39
3.3 Research Design                                                                                     40
3.3.1Advantages of a Case Study                                                                 42
3.3.2 Disadvantages of a Case Study                                                            42
3.4 Population and Sampling                                                                        43
3.5 Sampling Procedure                                                                                44
3.6 Research Instruments                                                                              46
3.6.1 Interview                                                                                              46                                    
3.6.2 Questionnaires                                                                                      48
3.6.3 Observation                                                                                          49
3.7 Reliability and Validity of the Research Tools Used                              50
3.8 Data Collection Procedures                                                                     53
3.9 Data Presentation and Analysis Procedure                                             54
3.10 Summary                                                                                               55
                                                                 
Chapter 4: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 Introduction                                                                                            56
4.2 Analysis of Questionnaire Responses                                                    57                     
4.3 Questionnaire Response Rate                                                                 57
4.3.1 Questionnaires Response Analysis                                                  59
4.4 Observation                                                                                          63
4.5 Summary                                                                                              64
      CHAPTER 5: Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

      5.1 Discussion                                                                                             65
      5.2 Summary                                                                                               71
      5.3 Conclusion                                                                                            72
      5.4 Recommendations                                                                                73











                               LIST OF TABLES
Table A-Questionnaire Response Rate According Job Positions                  58











                                        LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 4.1 Questionnaire Response Rate                                              55


CHAPTER ONE
Introduction
1.1 Introduction
This chapter introduces first the background of the research study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, scope of study and the limitations of the study.
1.2 Background to the study
The NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates is mandated to manage all university projects. It is these projects which generate a lot of records within the department. Officials within the department are so much seized with their duties to the extent that little attention is given to records management. Since projects involve contracting and acquisitions, it is necessary that officials prove that they are transparent and accountable which can only be achieved through a clearly defined and organized records management program.
It is required that an organization’s records management program be effective and efficient for a host of benefits.
Tsabadze, Mutula and Jacobs (2010:1) say:
An effective records management system allows tracking of the life-cycle of records in an organization, enables the organization to know when a record is created, its functions, duration of its usefulness by the agency that created it, the parameters and duration of maintaining it and the legal authority that enables it to be destroyed. The management and preservation of records in an organization helps in achieving greater efficiency, effectiveness and economy

It is very clear that there is a relationship between the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency and the proper care of organizational records and information.
Information management lies with a well-documented records management policy. A records management policy is defined as “a formal policy that delineates the general administrative management concerned with achieving economy and efficiency in the creation, use and maintenance, and disposition of records” (http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/engr/curation/CMAC Glossary.html). It is this policy which underpins how the organization will manage its records in a way to promote its efficiency and effectiveness in its operations.
The records management policy clearly details how records can be received or created by an organization. It goes on to explain how each form of records, electronic, paper or microform, can be handled by an organization, that is, the records storage, preservation and retrieval methods.
Records need to be appraised periodically or systematically in order for the organization to continually dispose obsolete and to select records of archival value. Records appraisal ensure that semi-current records are separated from current records in order to improve organization efficiency and effectiveness by limiting the retrieval period of the current records needed for the day-to-day running of an organization. In addition to the above records appraisal improves organizational cost-effectiveness as Arn and Titlow (1980:6) asserts as follows, “Records created and stored on paper or in a computer are expensive…One function of records management is the economical control of information. There is little doubt that automation will be a necessary part of most office environment in the next few years. Records management personnel have responsibility to see that cost-effective procedures are implemented and maintained to ensure low office overhead costs.” Records appraisal is one way of maintaining economical control over the organizational operations. Appraisal ensures that obsolete and useless records are removed from offices thereby creating office space and a reduction in records storage equipment costs.
Mawarire (2012:3) says,” Hazards such as water, fire, earthquakes which may lead to collapsing of records storage facilities and water pipes…all have a potential to greatly damage semi-current records…if disaster prevention, warning systems,  response and recovery are not regularly reviewed, maintained and practiced”. Mawarire quotes Ngulube (2005:16) who supports his point when he says “it will not be prudent for archivists to put much effort in the acquisition, arrangement, description and preservation of archival materials if the archives may be lost as a result of a disaster that has not been planned for.” The disaster preparedness plan spoken by the above author must be part of the records management policy in order to prevent or minimize loss of information through possible disasters.
If an organization fails to write down a disaster preparedness plan, it exposes itself not only to a possible loss to its human capital but to its vital records and information needed for its daily operations. If the organization fails to access its vital records after a disaster, it will take time for the organization to return to business and that will result in a considerable loss of revenue. Records management therefore, is one of the cornerstones of the organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
An organization which is conscious to the benefits of proper records care will put much effort to records preservation and conservation. Failure to preserve and conserve records and information will result in the loss of information through the deterioration of the records media. A written records preservation and conservation policy, which can be a section of a records management policy, will help an organization to have a planned and organized records preservation and conservation program. Miller and Roper (1999:1) postulate that preservation is a crucial element in the whole operation of a records program. The above authors say, “The aim of archival preservation is to prolong the usable life of useful research information in two ways. First, preventive preservation seeks to reduce risks of damage and to slow down the rate of deterioration …Secondly; prescriptive preservation is a means of identifying and treating or copying damaged materials to restore useful access to the information” Though, the above authors wrote with archival records in mind, their observations applies even to records found in registries, and therefore it is necessary for organizations to have in place  properly planned strategies of preserving and conserving records and information.
Mutongi (2011:121) summarizes the importance of information management in projects as follows; information management aids decision making, creates value or usefulness, allows to gain completive advantage, helps solve problems, helps to monitor and control, improves communication, improves service, increases flexibility, creates knowledge, increases productivity, increases revenue, reduces costs, provides metrics and measurements, integrates and coordinates resources, makes things explicit, reduces uncertainty and supplements memory. In short proper records care aids the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.
1.3       Statement of the problem
The NUST Department of Planning Works and Estates is not disposing records leading to  an accumulation of records in offices and storerooms.
1.4       Purpose of the study
The study seeks to assess the extent to which records at NUST Department of Physical Planning, Works and Estates are professionally managed to improve the department’s efficiency and effectiveness in its operations.
1.5       Research objectives
1.     To establish strategies used to manage records in the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates.
2.     To explore methods used to preserve and conserve the department’s vital records.
3.     To ascertain if the department has any records appraisal system.
4.     To establish how the department’s records management program has assisted the department to achieve its effectiveness and efficiency.
5.     To make recommendations
1.6 Research questions
1.6.1What strategies are being used to manage records in the NUST department of Physical Planning Works and Estates?
1.6.2 Is there any planned program within the department to conserve and preserve the department’s vital records and information?
1.6.3 Does the department have any records appraisal system?
1.6.4 Is the department’s records management program contributing to the department’s efficiency and effectiveness?
1.6.5Does the department have a records management policy?
1.7       Significance of the study
The research findings will be used by records and archives consultants, researchers and students undertaking studies in records and archives management. This study if well adopted and implemented can contribute towards the improvement of records management practices and policy formulation at NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates.
1.8       Assumptions of the study
The researcher assumed that there is a near total breakdown of the records management systems at the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates and that records are not being appraised and disposed at all. It is the researcher’s assumption that the department does not have a written records management policy which guides official on how records must be handled and managed.
1.9       Definition of terms
Records management according to Millar, Roper, Stewart( 1999:19)is;
The area of general administrative management concerned with achieving economy and efficiency in the creation, maintenance, use and disposal of the records of an organization throughout their entire life cycle and in making the information they contain available in support of the business of that organization.
Effectiveness(ibid, 10) is a measure of the ability of a process to produce specified outputs.
Efficiency(ibid, 10) is a measure of the ability of a process to produce more outputs from the same inputs.
Records appraisal (ibid,4) is the process of determining the value of records for further use, for whatever purpose, and the length of time for which that value will continue. Also known as evaluation, review or selection.
Records continuum concept is, according to the Australian Standard 4390 (www.archives.sa.gov.au/files/management-standard.ARM.pdf) “…a consistent and coherent regime of management processes from the time of the creation of records [and before creation, in the design of records keeping systems] through the preservation and use of records and archives.”
Records life-cycle theory is according to the www.businessdictionery.com/definition/life-cycle-of-a-record.htmlthe records life-cycle theory is a document and records management concept that all records pass through three distinct stages of (1) creation, (2) use and maintenance, and(3) disposition or disposal
Records management policy is a formal policy the general administrative management concerned with achieving economy and efficiency in the creation, use and maintenance, and disposition of records. http://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/eng./curation/CMAC Glossary.html
1.10     Scope of the study
The study seeks to assess the extent to which records management practices are contributing to the effectiveness and efficiency of the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates.

1.11     Limitations of the study
The major limitations to the study are time, money and the availability of respondents to answer survey questions.
1.12Summary
The background section explained the mandate of the NUST Department of Works and how records are generated. The section went on to explain that the researcher wanted to find a solution to the problems faced by the department as one of the reasons which motivated him to embark on this study. Before embarking on the research study the researcher assumed that records were not appraised or disposed at the Works Department which may lead to clogging of offices and storerooms. The scope of the study was explained as to assess the extent to which records management practices were aiding the effectiveness and efficiency of the NUST Department of Works while the aims and objectives were to establish strategies used to manage records in the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates and to explore methods used to preserve and conserve the department’s vital records among just to mention a few.








                                  CHAPTER TWO
                                    Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
This chapter will review documented and related research in order to define the frontiers of knowledge According to Dawidowiz (2010:2) literature review is a systematic examination of knowledge available on a topic. Ngulube (2005:32) says literature review provides an opportunity to explore relevant research carried out on similar topics and to relate it to the current study. Blaxter (2001:57) stated that without literature review the researcher will not acquire an understanding of her or his topic, of what has already been done on it, how it has been researched and what the issues are.
2.2 Definitions of Records Management
Records management, according to Miller, Roger and Steward (1999:19) is: “The area of general administrative management concerned with achieving economy and efficiency in the creation, maintenance, use and disposal of the records of an organization throughout their entire life cycle and in making the information they contain available in support of the business of that organization.”

2.3 Importance of Records Management to an organization.
Records are important to organization operations. Arthur Anderson as quoted in Canon Business Process Services, Inc (2013:12) says:
Successful enterprises have come to rely on information as a major internal asset to be leveraged to improve business results or, in some cases, as a lucrative product to sell. There is increasing public scrutiny regarding the need for corporate leaders to assure that business information in the form of records can be trusted, audited, retained ad produced, when required. The importance of properly managing business records is revealed in news sources almost daily, including the consequences of the failure of some organizations to retain records for mandated time periods.
Records are indeed a strategic resource which can be used to improve the organization’s effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. Stephens (1995) identifies ten benefits of records management in an organization which are listed as follows:
(i)Records preserve the corporate memory. An organization’s files contain its institutional memory, an irreplaceable asset that is often overlooked. Every business day, you create the records which could become background data for future management decisions and planning. Saur (2005:31) says corporate memory is information of an organization that is of value for re-use. A record according to Millar (1999:7)is “information created, received and maintained by an organization or a person, in pursuance of legal obligation or in the transaction of business. A record is evidence of what happened.”
Saur (2005:31) adds that corporate memory consists of all the active and historical information in an organization that is worth sharing, managing and preserving and use. Corporate memory records include board, commission and committee minutes, contracts, ideas, regulations, technical reports, transaction reports, videotapes and films, memos etc. It encompasses all of the many types of documented and undocumented information that organizational units require to function effectively. This information is used throughout the organization from executive management through the finance legal and personnel departments, to those involved in the engineering manufacturing and marketing activities.
Much of the corporate memory is normally reflected in documents that consist of information packages which are products of the work of the organization.
(ii)Records management helps in protecting vital information. Every organization, public and private, needs a comprehensive program for protecting its vital records and information from catastrophe or disaster because every organization is vulnerable to loss. Operated as part of the overall records management program, vital records programs preserve the integrity and confidentiality of the most important records and safeguards the vital information assets according to a “plan” to protect the records.
(iii)Records management helps to control the creation and growth of records – despite the decades of using various non-paper storage media, the amount of paper in our offices continue to escalate. An effective records management program addresses both records management program, creation control and records retention, thus stabilizing the growth of records in all formats.
(iv)Records management helps reduce operating costs. Record keeping requires administrative dollars for filing equipment, space in offices, and staffing to maintain an organized filing system (or to search for lost records when there is no organized system). It costs  $22 less per linear foot of records to store inactive records in the Federal Records Centre versus in all office. (Multiply that by 30% to 50% of the records in an office that does not have records management program in place), and there is an opportunity to effect some cost savings in space and equipment, and an opportunity to utilize staff more productively – just by implementing a records management program (Stephens, 1995) Usually, in an office that does not have a records program, 30 - 50% of the files could be stored off site, we average 25 feet of paper per person.
(v)Records management helps improve efficiency and productivity. Time spent searching for missing records is non-productive. A good records management program can help any organization upgrade its record keeping systems so that information retrieval is enhanced, with corresponding improvements in office efficiency and productivity. A well designed and operated records system with an effective index can facilitate retrieval and deliver information to users as quickly as they need it.

(vi) Records management helps to assimilate New Records Management Technologies – a good records management program provides an organization with the capability to assimilate new technologies and take advantage of their many benefits. Investments in new technologies do not solve filing problems unless current manual record keeping systems are analyzed (and occasionally, overhauled) before automation is applied.
(vii)Records management helps to ensure regulatory compliance. These laws can create major compliance problems for businesses and government agencies since they can be difficult to locate, interpret and apply. The only way an organization can be  sure that it is in full compliance with the laws and regulations is by operating a good records management program which takes responsibility for regulatory compliance.
(viii)Records management helps to minimize litigation risks. Business organizations implement records management programs in order to reduce the risks associated with litigation and potential penalties. This can be equally true in Government Agencies. A consistently applied records management program can reduce the liabilities associated with document disposal by providing for their systematic, routine disposal in the normal course of business.
(ix)Records management helps to support better management decision making. In today’s business environment, the manager that has the relevant data first often wins, either by making the decision ahead of the competition, or by making a better, more informed decision, a records management program can help ensure that managers and executives have the information they need when they need it.
(x)Records management helps in putting in place disaster preparedness programs. Disaster preparedness is done by first conducting an organizational risk assessment to identify risks which may cause emergencies and disasters to the organization, the organization then considers how damaging these emergencies or disasters might be to the organization. Miller and Simmermon [1999] claims that emergencies can be minimized or prevented from becoming disasters. The authors contend that it must be the first priority of the disaster plan to protect the organizational staff from harm then follows the records and assets of the organization.
Millar and Simmermon [1999] says emergencies may fall into the following categories; natural emergencies such as earthquakes, floods, hurricane etc],environmental, political, incited, and technological related. The following may pose potential threats to records, water and weather damage. Records may be damaged by leakages, flooding, high humidity, fire, earthquakes, armed conflicts, power failures and loss of staff may pose a threat to organizational records and archives 
After identifying the risk which may befall an organization the impact analysis must also be conducted. “When determining the impact of an emergency or disaster, it is necessary to consider both the tangible and intangible consequences that could result from a loss of business operations.” (ibid pp’s) The impact may be the loss of staff, records, assets and the loss of the revenue from the business.
The disaster plan must make recommendations for action. Recommendations for action may be long term, for example, seeking new storage facilities, medium term for example, replacing leaking pipelines, short term, for example, repairing pipes in worst condition or immediate,  for example moving records away from underneath pipes cover tops of shelves with plastic sheeting (to allow water to flow off in the event of a leak).
The organization’s disaster plan, which must be a part of the organizational records management policy, must recommend the protection of records against the identified risks. In order to protect records from water drainage records must not be stored or placed next to water pipes, inspect water pipes regularly and other measures which can prevent or mitigate the impacts which can prevent or mitigate the impacts of water disasters. Protection against fires measures may involve installing automatic fire detections, installing manual fire alarm, compartmentalize holdings by installing vaults, fire doors, removing all unstable or dangerous materials from areas near record. Lastly the disaster preparedness plan must include security measures, protection against armed and conflict and a plan to improve existing facility managers can obtain and assemble pertinent questions quickly for current decisions and future business planning purposes. The disaster plan can work effectively where there is a records management program.  (ibid)
Records management help to foster professionalism help in running the business – A business office with files askew, stacked on top of the cabinets and in boxes everywhere, creates a poor working environment. The perceptions of customers and the public, and “image” and “morale” of the staff, though hard to quantify in cost benefit terms, may be among the best reasons to establish a good records management program.
2.4      Other benefits of records management to an organization
Records management can be used to prove that public servants are transparent. The World    Bank (2000:4) says, “Governments are being asked to be transparent and engaged with their citizens…” Pulmer (2000:62) say at micro level the objectives of public accountability include efficiency in investment and the production and delivery of public goods and services.
Pulmer (2000:64) says records act as deterrents or provide evidence of most types of fraud. They can reflect the misclassification, wrong description and under-valuation of goods and services. So records acts as control measures that reinforces other control systems such as internal and external audit. Pulmer contends that the above can be achieved because records leave audit trails that can also reflect any intentional or accidental unauthorized actions carried out on records (e.g. tampering, theft or loss). Consequently, records management provides a preventative, credible restraint for corruption and fraud.
In the construction industry, Craig and Sumer Ville (2007:1) identify two advantages of records management or information management. The first one being the reduction of the high levels of waste on construction, that is inadequate, inappropriate, inconsistent, and lot or a combination of these. Secondly records management can be used to monitor snagging in projects. Snagging is an expression used to describe the process of defect identification and resolution. http://www.snaggingchedilisa.co.uk/snagging-definition. Records management allows the collection and recording of snagging of information on paper records..
Records management is  key to sound financial management and public sector investment. The World Bank paper (2000:6) states that chronic weaknesses in government record keeping systems can adversely affect private sector investment. For example, large scale infrastructure investments, such as the construction of gas pipelines, may be delayed or may incur significant additional costs for government land registries cannot provide complete and definite statements of titles to property.
2.5     Requirements for an effective organizational records management program.
In order for an organization to realize the above benefits, there must be a commitment from the top management of the organization to consciously embrace proper records management practices in support of the organization’s business transaction. The organizations’ top management must be a leadership which  is o  open to change and open to embrace records management standards. Within the organizations top management, there must be an organization’s records manager, a person entrusted to steer all organizational records management projects. Rearstyne (2008:83) says the records manager must be a person who is able to promote records management standards to the organization. He/she must be a negotiator between the organization and his or her employees, and an assessor of risk against the organization’s stated and unstated risk management plan. The records manager must not be a junior officer but he/she must be one of the top manager reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer an organization sitting on the company boards so that he may be able to influence the organization’s top management on issues of records management. Without the support of organizational senior management the records management program is doomed to fail.
Secondly a good organizational records management program is anchored on laid down policies and procedures. Policies and procedures for creating and storing records in both paper and electronic format that are demonstrably supported by an organization’s executives, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, General Counsel, and increasingly often, the Chief Compliance Officer or other executive responsible for information governance . World Bank White Paper (2006:16).
Carlisle (2008:45) lists the following as the importance of standards in  records management.
(i)Standards and best practices foster program excellence by providing a baseline of generally accepted principles, methods and tools that can be relied upon to produce desirable results.
(ii) The importance of formal standards lies in the fact that they are objective and that standards are authoritative. The authority comes from the fact that they are developed by experts in the field.
(iii)Standards, polices or best practices helps organization employees particularly those dealing with records to avoid reinventing the wheel. That is, standards or documented best practices can act as an induction course for new employee, there will be no loss of information or continuity even amid a high staff turn. In light of the above each organization must have its own records management policy which detail how records can be created, used, preserved and finally deposited at the end of its life-cycle.
An effective records management program requires an organizational file plan that lists primary records types by functional unit so that information can be located without depending on any one employee. File plans, which are sometimes called records inventories, are compiled for the following reasons; Kennedy and Schauder (1994:43),
a)     to provide information on the purpose and functions of record series, to gather together information on where record series are currently housed,
b)     to identify types of equipment and supplies  currently used for storing records,
c)     to establish the  frequency of access to individual record series,
d)     to gather information series,
e)     to establish the amount of space taken by records and
f)      to gather information on current disposal practices and on known legal requirements for the  creation and retention of records.
An effective records management system must have a vital records protection program that identifies and protects those records that are critical for immediate restart of an organization’s business process following a disaster or other interruption of the business continuity. An article found on the University of Washington http://f2.washington.edu/fm/recmgt/managing/vitalrecords/importanceofvitalrecords says it is important to identify and protect vital records because it allows you to minimize the disruption of normal business operations after an emergency, minimize the economic impact of the disruption, comply with legal and regulatory requirements, recover and/or salvage office vital records and assets (i.e. equipment) rather than using time to recover  unnecessary information.
An effective organization Records Management programs succeeds where there is a Training Program that works with identified record coordinators in primary functional units to train them in the policies, procedures, workflows, and systems required to assure quality record keeping standards. The organization must have a training plan or staff development plan which pays attention to the staff needs.  The organization staff must be knowledgeable on issues to do with records management. Roper and Miller 1999:33 say:
Training plans are likely to be at unit rather than agency level and to includes the following elements, defining personal development, relating personal development to what the organization is trying to achieve through its
investment, relating the individual’s aims and objectives with the organization’s human resource. Strategy, making work and the workplace the main avenue for development activities, with traditional training used only when appropriate
for specific needs (such as the induction for new recruits or staff on loan), focusing development activities on the achievement of competencies rather
than formal qualifications, utilizing the competencies of staff by matching
them to specific time allotment each year for personal development, clarifying
all responsibility of individual to achieve his or her personal development objectives, clarifying the role and accountability of the manager for
management for training and staff development and recognizing senior management’s need to evaluate formally the benefits of the organization’s investment in personal development.

A sound Disaster Preparedness Plan is one of the key features of an organization record management program. Failure to have a disaster plan would in the organization losing its records including vital records which could make it possible for the organization to return back into business after an emergency or a disaster.
Each organization must know its possible risks by carrying out risk assessment. According to Miller and Simmerman (1999:7) “A risk assessment” identifies possible disasters and emergencies that might occur in the organization and finally, resources being around a plan to construct a new building to house organization records ad archives securely must be the long term plan.
Raymondcliu (2009:14) says a  records management program requires periodic audits that provide an enforcement vehicle and assess the clarity of procedures, effectiveness of training and driving continuous improvement. The audits may consist of records surveys or any other surveys which looks at the contribution of records management practices to the organization operations and effectiveness.
Lastly, an organization records management must have a documented Records Retention Schedule that lists Records Services (categories) and the expected retention time periods (based on legal, regulatory and best practices research). There is no way one can talk of records retention schedules without mentioning records appraisal and disposal. Record appraisal and disposal is the key to effectiveness of records management to an organization.
 2.6     Records Life-Cycle.
An effective records management program recognizes the importance of managing records following the life-cycle concepts - an analogy of that of a living organism which is born and then dies.
Holle (2011:1) says:
All records are dynamic never static. Even records as long lived has
a date of creation, a use/purpose, and a date of disposition or archiving. The times of a record’s arrival or creation and its disposition (if only to persistent storage) are the limits of its life cycle. The concept of creation to 
destruction is analogous to biological birth to death. Life cycle is a helpful way to look at record’s progressive stage.
In short the life cycle concepts teach that records cannot be kept by the organization for ever. Organizations need to dispose old and useless records to create space for only current records.

A record is created and received by an organization; it is then classified and used in the day to day operations of the organization. The record is retained by the organization. When the record loses its relevancy to the organization it is then disposed of either by total distraction or, those records with high and research value are selected and then sent to the archival institution.
Atherton (1985-86) had the following to say on the records life cycle concept; “The life-cycle concept has been useful in promoting a sense of order, a systematic approach, to the overall management of recorded information.”
Where the life-cycle concept is being followed the organization will dispose records whenever they reach the end of their lifetime. Organizations cannot keep everything.  Loss as quoted in Gordon (2011:2)  had the following to say:     
Returni            ng everything is not good records management” . Although storage
is cheap, administrative costs are much higher than the storage and that amounts up over time. And the largest costs are when you have to produce information. If you mountain of information is much larger than it needs to be, its risky.
There are costs for going through all that, and there is the potential that
Information you didn’t need to keep can harm you.”
The life cycle concept therefore works where records appraisals are carried periodically so as to create records retentions so as to dispose records systematically against the ad-hoc records disposal activities.
2.7       Records Appraisal
According to the National Archives of the United Kingdom, “appraisal is the term used for assessment of value of records. Appraisal is a two part decision making process. The first part is deciding how long all record need to kept for business purposes and the second part is deciding whether the record can be destroyed when it is no longer needed by the organization or whether it is archival, that is,  it is of ongoing historical and cultural value.
Appraisal has been termed “the greatest professional challenge to the archivist and this has been done in a random, fragmented, uncoordinated even in an accidental manner, producing biased, distorted archival records. Charles Arthur (1996:6) gives a very precise definition of this process in its relation to the way the process should be adopted in practice.” He further argues that records appraisal is central to archival theory, methodology and practice.” He also asserts that, there is no argument about the necessity of appraisal for the efficient functioning of an organization as much as effective decision making depends upon the provision of and access to, managed information resource. In light of all above, it is now justifiable that the process deserves great attention indeed wherever records and archives are managed.
2.8       Purposes of appraisal
An effective record serves the following purposes.
                           i.          Records of ongoing value are identified and managed appropriately.
                         ii.          Well documented appraisal policy, methodology and procedures provide transparency and accountability for disposal action.
                       iii.          Appraisal is the process that identifies the need for records. The outcomes of appraisal are records disposal and retention.
                       iv.          Easy access to current needed records thereby improving on efficiency and effectiveness to organizational operations.

Appraisal is the life blood of records management program. Appraisal should be done through systematic procedures in a planned manner rather than in an ad hoc and unplanned manner. The control of records from creation, use, maintenance and disposal is fostered by appraisal.  If the appraisal decisions are documented and put into action, this will ensure the effective, efficiency and economy.

Wamukoya (2004:11)  points out that in African countries much of the information required by public servants is inaccessible due to the backlog of all accumulated and unscheduled records.  Destruction of records that no longer serve a useful purpose is positive not a negative action, it frees office space for use, frees filing equipment space for storage of current records essential for day to day running of the business.
Records appraisal helps prevent destroying early records of the organization before they reach the end of their life-cycle. It is done following a laid down organization records appraisal policy for records appraisal and disposal cannot be done in an ad-hoc manner. This will ensure that you can justify why the record in question were destroyed, as well as proving beyond that the audit trail remains.



2.9       Theories of appraisal
Terry Look (1992) has established a conceptual framework that provides archivists with tools for their records creating activities. These tools assist archivists in analyzing societal functions and institutions for the purposes of appraising them. Appraisal is done as already pointed out, to determine which institutional activities create records that provide a true image of the organization. These records, they get permanently preserved for the sake of providing future generations with an image of society as it really is but necessary as conceived by those producing the records.
Cook shifts the focus of appraisal from the record to that of the societal context in which the record was created to the role of an archivist to impartially preserve the records with the goal of finding the most and unforgettable memories, characteristics and features of the society. Cook calls this approach macro-appraisal because the focus of analysis is on society as a whole and not individual record which is micro-appraisal.
North South Western Government also asserts that:

Appraisal theory, explores, in a philosophical sense, the sources or
influences upon which archivists base their design to assign “value”
or “significance” or “importance” to records. This postulation helps
guide the researcher to the important features to look for, and these
include finding the baseline sources or influence for finding value
in records.

This implies that there is generally liberty to bring about various aspects as criteria for value determination in any appraisal process. If a record has value it should be made known that the value given is not universal as it will be subjective to some groups and pronounced to others. In this case your population and business function, accountability will define areas of interest in values to records posterity. Contrary to this postulation it is important to note that no appraisal decisions can be written off as there is no universal formula for appraisal but it is meant to satisfy interests and values of specific group and just following the four steps of appraisal fathers. Thus there is no better evaluation method on value as long as it satisfies the appraiser’s business objectives, policy and mission statement.

2.10      Appraisal Methodologies
The writings of Schellenberg (1949, 1956) with emphasis on appraisal designate various types of values that are found and should be adhered to if we belong to the same profession in records as the basis for selection decisions. He postulated that records pass primary values that are originally created (e.g. administrative, legal, fiscal, research and historical). In addition records have secondary value when they are used for any purpose other than for which they may be informational (i.e. related directory to the data found in the records) or evidential (i.e. related to the degree to which the records reflect an organization’s functions and policies over them. Some preciseness in the context of value should be called for as liberty ascribed to individual appraiser’s perspective remains subjective thereby resulting in distorted, flawed appraisal systems and not in the final records termed archives.

As can be noted and realized that several theorists and strategists have made various contributions on discussions on appraisal while each theory and methodology has its merits, the relative strengths and weaknesses of many if not all of them should be evaluated. It would be worth noting as postulated by Hans Boom. Hans Boom on the notion noted argued that, “value might be found beyond the record. Measuring the societal significance of past facts by analyzing the value which their contemporaries attached to them should serve as a foundation for all archival efforts towards forming the documentary heritage”.

Similarly Terry Eastwood, without specifically outlining a strategy or methodology states that:

Archives as social creations (should be appraised on the basis of the
use to which they are put by the society which created them.
Eastwood would have archivist conduct an analysis of the
“Genesis of use” to which documents are subjected throughout
their lifespan. It seems likely that this approach would involve a
macro analysis of record creators as well as contemporary users
of records, in order that intelligent comparisons of “use”
amongst many creators may be determined”.

 Cook asserts that values in the first place are found not in the records but rather in the theories of value of societal significance which archivists bring to the records. This theoretical stance is manifested in matrix approach to appraisal.


2.11     Records Retention Schedules
The purpose of record appraisal is to determine the value of each organizational record and the outcome of such exercise is the records retention schedule. Educause (2008:5) asserts that “records scheduling is a process for determining the life of a record in each stage of the information life cycle (from creation through disposal). Scheduling takes into account not only the practical business life of records satisfying administrative, fiscal and research needs, but also federal, state and local requirements.”

Moses (2006:2) follows this by clarifying that, “records retention schedules are critical components of records and information program. In its most basic form, a record retention schedule identifies the records to be managed and communicated how long the records are to be retained”. A records retention schedule provides direction and guidance on record keeping requirements and conditions.

In addition to all the above, Moses (2006:7) affirms the centrality of records retention/ disposal schedules ensures compliance with records management principles by ensuring that records that have been identified as archives with retention schedules. Mobereke (2003:4) states that there is need for strict adherence to standing instructions or disposal schedules relating to public records within the records center in (and organization) (my own words). Using these institutions the fate of any record is sealed.

2.12     Benefits of Retention Schedules
Records retention or schedules have many benefits to the efficient and effective operation of an organization. According to the U.S Archives (2008:4), the government of South Australia (2006:4), Penn (1989:88), records retention and disposal schedules seek to fulfill the following objectives:

  1. Control of quantity and quality of records produced by an organization.
  2. Prompt disposal of records whose retention period has elapsed.
  3. Economical and efficient operation of an organization.
  4. Identification of vital records and the preservation of records of long term value.
  5. Storage of records which must be temporarily retained after they are no longer needed in current business.
  6. Simplification of the activities, systems and processes of records maintenance.
  7. Judicious preservation and disposal of records.

Large accumulation of all types of records reflects inadequate management not only on the part of the records manager, but also on the part of the organization’s overall administration. Retaining too many records will prove costly in staff, time, space, equipment, and could have adverse legal consequences. The government of New South Wales (2006:3), KaimbaneMoyo (2003:5), Mplala (2001:4), Penn (1989:89) and Peterson (1987:45), highlight that, the inclusion of as many records as possible on a disposal; retention schedule will have the following benefits:

  1. Ensuring that records are kept as long as they are needed.
  2. Saving storage costs.
  3. Preserving records of long term value
  4. Prioritizing vital records and promoting efficiency by focusing efforts on those which are most important.
  5. Identifying valuable records for archival preservation.
  6. Save time by reducing the volume of records which must be searched for information.
  7. Avoid Legal Problems caused by losing agency records.

The National Archives of the United Kingdom (2005:7) summarizes the benefits of retention schedules when it posits that, disposal; schedules make it easy to establish whether or not a record exists if a request is received and give a public confidence that a public authority has adequate procedures for identifying the appropriate disposal action for records, together with the appropriate time scale for its implementation. It goes on to postulate that disposal schedules can be used as risk management devices by avoiding the cost and potential liabilities of retaining records that the agency does not really need. Therefore, retention schedules minimize administrative overheads of storage.  White (2004:147) elaborates that, disposal schedules identify not only those records which will be destroyed and the appropriate time for their disposal, but they also document which records are to be kept permanently and document the period they will be transferred to the archival institution. Disposal schedules are an important tool for identifying potential archives during their active administrative life and they also ensure that appraisal decisions on specific material are consistent and that such decisions do not need to be made more than once.

Kaimbanemoyo (2003:6), and Pen (1989:89), agree that the result of disposal schedules are fewer records, better records, more effective records, and economic records. Schedules can lead to wide ranging benefits, not only I the efficient management of an organization but saving money, which is minimizing expenditure. It is worthwhile therefore to take special trouble over their compilation, monitoring and execution, so as to enjoy and appreciate their benefits.
2.13     Disposition of Records
According to Keller (2009:2) records disposition is a crucial element of records management and is the final operational action taken in the records lifecycle. Disposition may include the destruction of records or the transfer of records to another entity (most common archives) for permanent preservation. An Organization’s records disposition program provides approved routine procedures to dispose or transfer records that are no longer needed in the office for current agency business.

Keller (2009) goes on to say during the disposition process, records are approved for destruction or transfer according to the policies and procedures of the organization. One goal of this process is to consistently and properly dispose records during the normal course of business. Records containing sensitive information should be destroyed in a secure manner that protects privacy, such as shredding, incineration or secure digital destruction. Records containing non-sensitive information may be disposed off in the trash, recycling or the less secure digital destruction. Another goal of the disposition process is to provide proof that records have been consistently and properly disposed.

A Comprehensive records disposition program  should include procedures that address what to do when a litigation or legal hold is put into place. Generally, a record is frozen from ordinary disposition procedures when any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, public information request administrative review, or other action involving the record initiated. At this pint disposition must be postponed until the compilation of the action and the resolution of all issues that arise from it.www.educause.edu/wiki/records-retention-and-disposition.

2.14     Consequences of delaying to dispose records.
According to SIMES, the consequences are congestion, frustration and more expenses. Congestion results when record rooms become clogged up, frustrations when things cannot be found there quickly and staff time is wasted needlessly searching for information which should be readily at hand.
Delaying to dispose records will result to a back log accumulation of records in the offices and record offices. Cook quoted in Mnjama (2006:4) defines backlog accumulation as “groups of records which have been allowed to rest forgotten or unused in closed storage (or in extreme cases are discovered where they were not known to be)”. Backlog accumulation may include masses of un-catalogued material which has been processed and described inadequately. Mnjama (2006:8) posits that the first consequence of maintaining backlog accumulations is that available archival space is utilized for storage of records of ephemeral nature or whose value is yet to be determined. Cook in Mnjama (2006:4) goes on to clarify that there are nearly sufficient resources to deal with the backlog accumulation; therefore delaying the disposal of records is expensive to an organization. Backlog accumulations are a major problem in the public sector institutions in Africa. Records kept haphazardly on the floors due to limited shelving space in file cabinets and records stores are a sign of a failure to appraise and dispose records on time. Failure to dispose records will leave offices looking dirty and untidy.
Delays in disposing records may lead to the loss or failure to retrieve valuable needed records leading to wastage of staff time seeking for information. Possible litigation costs can result due to failure to retrieve needed information are some of the consequences of delaying to appraise and dispose records.


2.15     Summary
The chapter had define what literature review is The chapter went further to list the benefits of having a records management program, benefits which includes transparency, accountability, investors’ confidence, limiting litigation costs and safeguarding corporate memory among a host of advantages. The chapter listed the requirements of a good organizational records management program and that no organization can function effectively without a well-documented records management policy. The records life-cycle was discussed as a concept which brings order in the management of records .The concept follows an analogue of a living organization which is born, lives and finally dies. The same is to a record which is created maintained and used for business purpose but finally loses value and it finally dispose either by transfer to an archival institution. The life-cycle concept give birth to the subtopics of records appraisal and disposal since it is practically impossible to keep all records. The chapter highlighted some records appraisal theories and the advantages of appraising and appraising records. The chapter pointed out that efficiency and effectiveness of a records management program lies with the ability and policies of an organization to systematically appraise and dispose records following laid down organizational policies and standards





                                     


                                                CHAPTER 3
                             RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Introduction
The chapter presents the methodology that is going to be used in carrying out the study. It discusses the research philosophy and strategy utilized in the study in pursuit of the goals of the study. The chapter further brings out merits and demerits of making use of the research strategy utilized in this study so as to justify its use. It also discusses the research design, the target population, sampling techniques, and data collection instruments that were used in the study. Furthermore, the chapter discusses how the issue of validity and reliability will be addressed within the study. Finally it looks at the data analysis approach employed in the study in relation to the goals of the study as well as ethical considerations within the study.
3.2 Research Methodology
There are two research paradigms of research study namely interpretive and positivism. The researcher chose to use the interpretive research paradigm. The researcher discovered that it was very simple to gather information needed for the research at the NUST Department of Works and the interpretive paradigm will provide adequate for the study.
Saunders,Lewis and Thornhill (2007:112) defines a paradigm as a way of examining social phenomena from which particular understandings of these phenomena can be gained and explanations attempted. The researcher will use the inductive research which is commonly used with qualitative interviews or ethnographic work-enquiry and discovery-focused. The researcher chose the qualitative research over quantitative research for the following reasons: The qualitative approach is humanistic in nature and gives room to inductive reasoning. This point is further supported by Connaway and Powell(2010:77) who posits that, it tend to apply to be a more holistic and natural approach to the solution of the problem than does quantitative approach. It also tends to give more attention to the subjective aspects of human experience and behavior. Qualitative research can be credited for its ability to provide data that is rich and contextual in detail [Patton,2002:25].The above points are the reason why qualitative research approach was used in this research.
3.3 Research Design
A research design is a work plan or a structure that is designed before data collection or analysis can commence New York University,n.d:15.Kathori(2006:31) defines it as a conceptual structure within which research is conducted; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data gathering, measurement and analysis. The central role of research design is to minimize the chance of drawing incorrect causal inferences from data.
A research design is not just a work plan, for a work plan details what has to be done to complete the project. The work plan flows from the research plan. The function of a research design is to ensure that the evidence obtained enables us to answer the initial question as unambiguously as possible. Yin,(1989:29) says research design deals with a logical problem and not a logistical problem. Before a building or architect can develop a work plan or order materials they must first establish the type of building they required, its uses and the needs of the occupants. The work plan flows from this. Similarly, in social research the issue of sampling, methods of data collection [e.g. questionnaire, observation, document analysis], design of questions are all subsidiary to the matter of what evidence do I need to collect?
The researcher will use the case study approach in the study. Case-study research can be well suited to an undergraduate dissertation. This approach to research uses a narrow lens to build a rich and thick description of a single group, organization or individual. A case study may utilize different kinds of data to build this picture, including interview material, observation and document analysis. The emphasis is on representing an accurate picture of the individual case and does not seek to propose generalized results. Case studies can be used on their own as part of a combined approach to data collection. Case study research is often used in social work and education.
Say(1996) says a case study research excels at bringing us to an understanding of a complete issue or object and can extend experience or add strength to what is already known through previous research. Soy(1996) assets that, case studies are complex because they generally involve multiple sources of data for analysis. Researchers from many disciplines use the case study method to build upon theory, to dispute or challenge theory, to explain a situation, to provide a basis to apply solutions, to explore or to describe an object or phenomenon.
Goodwill[2010:36] summarizes the advantages and disadvantages as follows;
3.3.1 Advantages of the case study
       i.          Case study makes intensive study possible. It offers a unique opportunity for in-depth study of the unit from all aspects and thus to have deep probing which is very essential for research work.
     ii.          Subjective aspects can be studied as thorough as possible.
   iii.          Case studies are multi-perspectival analysis. This means that the researcher considers not just the voice perspective of the actors, but also of the relevant groups of actors and interaction between them.
   iv.          Can be effectively used in combination with other methods such as survey and observation.
     v.          The depth of insights afforded by case study will yield fruitful hypothesis for a later full scale study.
3.3.2 Disadvantages of the case study.
i.          The whole study is time consuming and requires extensive amount of data.
ii.          It is a method in which there is maximum ad-hocism.It is left to the individual researcher to pick-up a case of his choice without any criteria and to study that;
iii.          Due to its holistic approach, some regard it as not having a ‘scientific feel’ as it only explores existing theory; and,
iv.          Danger of subjectivity, there is too much association of researcher with the unit under study. The greater the rapport the more the subjectivity the whole process is.
3.4 Population and Sampling
In conducting research, it is essential for a researcher to choose what, where and whom to observe and interview. The purpose of sampling is to study a representative subsection of a precisely defined population in order to make inferences about the whole population (Aber 1993:38). Sampling in a case study research includes decisions researchers make with regard to sampling strategies. There are different sampling procedures which are simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, cluster and snowball sampling. Sampling is used when the population is too large for the researcher (Hawkins and Tull 1993:367)
Polite and Hungler (1999:37) defines population as an aggregate or totality of all the objects, subjects or members that conform to a set of specifications. Deacon et al[1999:53] also asserts that population refers to any group of individuals that have one or more in common that are of interest to research.
In conducting research, it is essential for a researcher to choose what, where and whom to observe and interview. The purpose of sampling is to study a representative subsection of a precisely defined population in order to make inferences about the whole population (Aber,1993:38). Sampling in case study research includes decision researchers make with regard to sampling strategies. There are different sampling procedures which are simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, cluster and snowball sampling. Sampling is used when the population is too large for the researcher (Hawkins and Tull, 1993:367)
The study population comprised of NUST Department of Physical Planning and Work staff members. The researcher used a non-probability purpose sampling technique to come up with ten officers from relevant sections of the department. The sample is considered representative as it was selected from relevant stakeholders and respondents were chosen from the sampling unit.
3.5 Sampling Procedure
Sampling in case study research, is largely purposeful and selects information rich cases for in depth study. Purposive sampling demands critical thinking about the parameters of the population under study and choosing the sample case carefully on these bases. As Denzel and Lincoln (1994:202) put it this way “many qualitative researchers employ purposive and not random sampling methods”. It is the relevance to the research topic rather than their representatives which determines the way in which the people to be studied are selected (Flick, 1998:41)
A sampling plan is a mechanism by which the sample units of the study are selected from the sampling frame of the population [Panneerselva 2004:12]. In this study the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works employees were the population of the study, thus the participants were selected from within the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works staff population. Best and Khan([2003:13) define sample as a small proportion of a population selected for observation and analysis in a study. In this study the researcher used purposive sampling technique to select a sample of 10 respondents. The sample will include both women and men from professional and supporting staff.
The researcher will use a stratified random sampling on NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works staff because it reduces the potential for human bias in selecting your sample. Random sampling can be used within the case and is one strategy that can be employed for addressing validity. Stratified random sampling allows one to make statistical conclusions from the data collected that will be considered to be valid.
The stratified random sample improves the representation of particular groups of the studied population and ensures that certain strata are not over represented or underrepresented. Convenient sampling enables the researcher to select a sample based on limited time and money. Babbie (1995:195).Lincoln and Guba (1985) postulated that, purposeful sampling facilitates data saturation and redundancy.


3.6  Research instruments
The researcher will use three data gathering methods which are observation, questionnaires and interviews.
3.6.1 Interview
The researcher will conduct face-to-face interviews with the respondents. Interviews are a form of an orally administered survey whose effectiveness is seen in their ability to survey special population [Busha and Harter, 2000:57]. The interview is preferred because its face-to-face administration allows the creation of rapport between the researcher and NUST Department of Works staff. This will enable the researcher to gather in-depth information. Clarity on ambiguous questions will be made and probing will be done as well to gather more desired information.
An interview is a short term, secondary social interaction between two strangers with the explicit purpose of one obtaining specific information from the other (Nueman 2000:274).  The main purpose of an interview is to obtain special kind of information. The researcher wants to find out what is in and on someone else’s mind(Patton,2002:341).As Patton explains:
We interview people to find out from them those things we cannot directly observe…We cannot observe feelings, thoughts and intentions. We cannot observe behaviors that took place at some previous point in time. We cannot observe how people have organized the world and the meaning they attach to what goes on in the world; we have to ask people questions about those things. The purpose of interviewing then is to enter into the person’s perspective.
According to Kvale (1996:3), knowledge is understood as buried metal and the interviewer is a miner who unearths the valuable metal…The knowledge will be waiting in the subject’s interior to be uncovered, uncontaminated by the miner. The interviewer digs nuggets of data or meanings out of a subject’s pure experiences, unpolluted by any leading questions.
Interviews are flexible and can probe for more specific answers. The researcher will use interviews as a research instrument because respondents will feel more confident of their speaking ability than of their writing ability. The other reason why the interview was chosen as a data gathering tool is that the researcher will be present to observe non-verbal behavior and assess validity of respondent’s answers. The instrument also enables the researcher to have control over the question order and the respondents will be unable to cheat by receiving prompting answers from others. The interview ensures that all questions are answered (Bailey, 2008:174).
Although the interview instruments have so many advantages in getting information from the respondents, there are some limitations linked to it. Interviews tend to be lengthy. Considering the limited time frame the researcher had to conduct research, lunch hours will be used to interview respondents to get the required information. An interview does not give respondents time to consult records unlike questionnaires(Bailey 2008:175).To overcome this challenge, the researcher will make appointments in advance to allow respondents to prepare for the scheduled interviews.
3.6.2 Questionnaires
Ten questionnaires will be administered to the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works staff. The researcher will use simple language to avoid irrelevant data collection and minimize misinterpretation of questions.
A questionnaire is a written document listing a series of questions to which one wishes that answers be given from a group of respondents.(Gorman and Clayton 1997:74).A self-administered questionnaire as the name suggests, is filled out by participants in the absence of an investigator. They are easily distributed to a large number of people and allow anonymity. Allowing respondents to be anonymous may be important if the researcher want honest answers (Mitchel and Jolley 2009:263)
Macious (2001:16) also highlights that questionnaires are a list of questions given to respondents to fill in the spaces provided at their own time. The researcher used the questionnaires because they are practical and they can collect large amounts of information in a relatively cheap way, can be carried out by the researcher with limited effect to its validity and reliability, the results can easily be quantified and can be analyzed scientifically and objectively. Data gathered from questionnaires can be used to compare and contrast other researches done [Popper 2004].
Questionnaires are also very cheap to administer when carrying out a research involving a large sample. Written questionnaires are cost effective as the number of research questions increases. The researcher also chose the questionnaire as a research instrument because questionnaires are easy to analyze because data entry and tabulation can be easily done. Questionnaires are familiar to most people and they do not make people apprehensive.
Questionnaires also reduce bias because there is uniform question presentation. The researcher’s own opinions will not influence the respondent to answer questions in a certain manner. There are two verbal or visual clues to influence the respondent. The researcher also opted to use questionnaires as a research instrument because they allow respondents to complete the questionnaire at their own free time.
The disadvantages of questionnaires are that they produce an impersonal contact with users resulting in the researcher not getting sufficient knowledge about the participants in the study. Preliminary telephone interviews conducted before will help the researcher to overcome this obstacle..
Questionnaires can also have a low return rate (Matchel and Jolley 2009:263). However, the researcher will make some follow ups to make sure that the questionnaire return rate is high.
5.6.3 Observation
In an effort to triangulate information received in the questionnaires and from interviews in relation records management practices at the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works, the researcher as a participant observer was able to observe how records are handled, stored and preserved within the department. Observation involves observing participants in a scientific and systematic manner (Conway and Powell, 2010:178).This makes observation more valid than the other methods.
Observational techniques are an important aspect of many action research studies and of case studies whether undertaken by participants or outsiders(Hannan,2006).Best and Khan concurred that observation continued to characterize all research, experimental, description and qualitative[Best and Khan,1997]. Observations could be of the setting or physical environment, social interactions, physical activities, non-verbal communications, planned and unplanned activities and unobtrusive indicators(Best and Khan,1993:222). Bogdan and Biklen (2007:60) articulate that observation is one method which focuses on a particular organization or some aspect of the organization.
The researcher used observation as a research instrument because it is a direct method for collecting information and studies human behavior quite well, information collected will be highly reliable and the researcher does not have to rely solely on respondents. Observation can be used for a longer period of time in conducting the research and the researcher can easily identify a problem by making an in depth analysis of the problems.
3.7 Reliability and validity of the research tools used
The reliability of a research instrument concerns the extent to which the instrument yields the same results on repeated trials. Although unreliability is always present to a certain extent, there will generally be a good deal of consistency in the results of a quality instrument gathered at different times. The tendency toward consistency found in repeated measurements is referred to as reliability(Carmines & Zeller, 1979).Best and Kahn (1993:208) also laments that reliability is the degree of consistency an instrument or procedure demonstrates. The concept of reliability in relation to a research instrument has meaning if a research instrument is consistent and stable, hence predictable and accurate, it is said to be reliable.
Validity is that quality of a data gathering instrument that enables it to measure what it is supposed to measure(Best and Khan 1993:208).The research used direct observations, interviews and questionnaires to gather relevant data. This case study was guided by international standards and expectations as evidenced in the literature review this possess external validity. Reliability and validity are important to the effectiveness of any data gathering procedure. The greater the degree of consistency and stability of an instrument, the greater its reliability (Kumar, 2010:181).
To ascertain the reliability of questionnaire research instrument, the researcher conducted a test retest method in which the same test was given to the same people after a period of time. The reliability of the test retest method was estimated by examining the consistency of the responses between the two tests. The researcher obtained the same results on the two administrations of the instrument, and this proved that the instrument was reliable as a data gathering tool and attitudes that respondents have encountered from the time of the first test.
Like the retest method, the researcher also conducted the alternative form method to determine the reliability of the questionnaire research instruments. The method required two tests with the same people. The same test was not given at the same time. Each of the two tests was designed to measure the same thing and the results were not supposed to differ in any way. Random procedures were used to select items for different tests.
Validity can be defined as the degree to which a test measures what it is supposed to measure. There are three basic approaches to the validity of tests and measures as shown by Mason and Bramble (1989).These are content validity, construct validity, and criterion-related validity. Validity is the most important consideration in developing and measuring instruments. It is also defined as the extent to which an instrument measures what it is supposed to measure (Ary et al., 2010:225)
Questionnaires are scientific measurement instruments and they must yield scores of adequate reliability and validity (Dornyei and Tatsuya, 2009:93).That is why the researcher used the questionnaire research instrument to get reliable and valid result.
To overcome factors which may affect reliability on the administered questionnaires, simple language was used to avoid ambiguity because ambiguity in wording of phrases or questions can in turn affect the reliability of the instrument. The researcher also considered the face validity of the questionnaires by looking at the appropriate options for responding. Ensured confidentiality and anonymity was promised to the respondents in order to increase the validity of the responses. A poor sequencing of questions, confusing structure or design of a questionnaire threaten its validity(Gray,2004:207).The researcher made a good sequential order of questions and a simple lay out structure of the questionnaire to ensure its validity. The questionnaire covered the research issues in terms of content and detail. For the interview, the physical setting will not be changed at all. Interviews will be conducted in the respective offices of the respondents because change of physical setting can also affect the reliability of an instrument at the end of the day.
In order to establish the content validity of a measurement instrument, the researcher must identify the overall content to be represented. Items must then be randomly chosen from this content that will accurately represent the information in all areas. By using this method the researcher should obtain a group of items which is representative of the content of the trait or property to be measured.
In order to establish the content validity of a measurement, the researcher must identify the overall content to be represented. Items must then be randomly chosen from this content that will accurately represent the information in all areas. By using this method the researcher should obtain a group of items which is representative of the content of the trait or property to be measured.
3.8 Data Collection Procedure
The researcher will conduct a pilot study and tested questionnaires to selected people from the NUST Department of Physical Planning.
Appointments will be made on time to allow the conduction of interviews. Questionnaires will also be distributed on time allowing the respondents to have enough time to go through them. The self-administered questionnaires will be hand delivered to respondents in their offices and the researcher will collect them after completion.
The researcher had the advantage of being an employee of NUST though working for a different department hence travel expenses from one department to another were minimum
Reliability and validity will be used as important criteria for assuring the quality of the data collection procedures. Reliability provides information on the extent to which the data collection procedures elicit accurate data and validity  provides information on the extent to which the procedures really measures what it is supposed to measure(Seliger,1989:184).
3.9 Data presentation and analysis procedure
Data presentation and analysis refers to the ways that the reduced data is displayed in diagrammatic, pictorial or visual forms in order to show what the data imply(Miles and Huberman,1994:10). Berg defined data analysis as consisting of three concurrent flows of action which are data reduction, data display and conclusions and verifications (Berg, 2004:38).
Data presentation and analysis ensures that all relevant and important information is collected at the end of the study. Data presentation refers to the ways that the reduced data is displayed in diagrammatic, pictorial or visual forms in order to show what the data imply(Miles and Huberman,1994:10).
Data will be presented in figures and narratives for statistical analysis. In qualitative research, information obtained from participants is not expressed in numerical form. The emphasis is on the stated experiences of the participants and on the stated meanings they attach to themselves, to other people, and to their participants, arguing that such quotation are often very revealing. Berg defined data analysis as consisting of three concurrent flows of actions, data reduction, data display and conclusions and verification(Berg,2004:38).Data analysis will start by sorting the data collected. The researcher will check for completeness and internal consistency in the questionnaire and structured interview (Hardon, 2001:318).
The researcher will conduct data reduction through coding to make it more readily accessible and to draw out various themes and patterns (Hardon, 2001:319).
Observation data will be used to corroborate data collected from other sources.
3.10 Summary
In summation, the previous chapter dealt with research methodology of the study. It consisted of the research design to be used, population and sampling procedures, and data collection techniques and procedures and data analysis method. Primary and secondary sources will be used to collect data. A pilot study will be conducted to pre-test the research instruments for validity and reliability of the collected information.
                                     







CHAPTER IV
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

4.1       Introduction.
This chapter aims at communicating the value of the findings as postulated in the following statement by Howard and Sharp (1983:100) “The function of data analysis is to communicate the value of the findings, including academic, scientific and social and also to convince the use through the research…it assumed to involve the ordering and structuring of data to produce knowledge.”
It is therefore the focus of this chapter to tabulate the findings of the research which give the basis for the interpretation of the answers recorded and found from the respondents. The researcher made some observations through earring data and passive observations which will give greater relevance in data analysis. Leedy (1997) and Gall (1990) indicated that data becomes useful only after it is analyzed. Finally the analysis and interpretations will try to give light and answer to the research study objectives.



4.2 Analysis of questionnaire responses
4.3. Questionnaire response rate
Ten questionnaires were distributed to the targeted respondents and only eight were completed and returned.
The pie chart below is used to display the percentage questionnaire responserate.
Fig 1 Pie Chart: Questionnaires completion response rate.
The given statistics from the pie chart indicate the response rate from the respondents. Eighty(80%) represents the total number of questionnaires answered which is eight. The 20% represents the two questionnaires which were never returned.




TABLE A: Questionnaire response rate according to position
Respondent
Number of
questionnaires
distributed
Number of
questionnaires
successfully answered
Percentage
Response
Senior management
           2
        1
50%
middle management
           2
        2
100%
Artisans
           4
        3
75%
Secretaries
           2
        2
1oo%

The table above summaries the respondents’ response rate according to their positions they hold at work. This will help in understanding the weakest list in this research. The research  findings show  great zeal amongst the secretaries and middle management staff since they had been a 100% response rate. Unsatisfactory response rate was noticed from senior management and artisans.



4.3.1 Questionnaire response analysis
1.      What do you understand by the term “records management
Three respondents professed ignorance to the term while four had a partial knowledge of what records management is. Some associated records management with filing of records only. The other respondent gave a dictionary definition of records management indicating that he probably was researching from the internet. Generally, the responses indicated the staff at the works department had a fair understanding of what records management is all about
2.     Importance of records management
Three respondents professed ignorance on the importance of records management. However the other six respondents showed a higher degree of knowledge over the importance of records management to an organization. Some went as far as mentioning some of the importance of records management and records to an organization such as capturing organizational memory, efficiency in the retrieval of information, protection of vital records and economy in keeping only needed records.

3.     Records management Training background
The response indicated that no one at Department of Physical Planning and works had any qualifications in Records and Archives management. The response also further indicated that none at the department had ever attended any records management workshop or seminar save a single person who indicated that he once attended a workshop on records management.
4.     Records management policy
Six respondents indicated that there was no records management policy at the department or at NUST. However some indicated there was a draft records management policy which is yet to be approved by the university senior management.
5.     Disaster preparedness 
There is no  disaster preparedness plan at the works department save for the fire extinguishers observed at the department although respondents indicated that there are some steel cabinets in offices.
6.     Records management standards and procedures
There are no records management standards or procedures at NUST Department of work neither are there known procedures verbal or written. Respondents indicated that they have not come across any standards and procedures save for the single respondent who indicated that standard and procedures were kept by the University Register for safe keeping.
7.     Problems faced in accessing records
Five of the respondents indicated that they had no problem in accessing records whenever they need them while three indicated that they sometimes face problems in retrieving records. Respondents indicated that sometimes it is impossible to accomplish a task without the required record, which makes them to create temporal files as a solution to the missing file.
8.     Electronic records management
The majority (about 5) respondents indicated that they sometimes create and receive electronic records. While only three indicated that they don’t create or receive any electronic records. The three do not have any access to the computer. These who indicated that they create and also receive electronic records also indicated that there is no any system at the NUST Department manage these records save for two who named the NAVISION as a system they are using to manage electronic records. However on  further probing through interviews the two revealed that NAVISION is being used at other Department of the University but the NUST Department of works said it had not been introduced.
9.     Records appraisal
Six of the respondents indicated that they had a problem with the increase of records accumulation in their offices. They further indicated that  they had a file which they have not accessed for the past three years. The two respondents  didnot answer questions on this section while the other said he/ she had no problem with the accumulation of records in his/ her offices. Generally the respondents indicated that there were no records appraisal systems at the department hence the accumulation of records.  Observation by the researcher indicated that there were no rooms including the strong room full of obsolete record.
10.  National Archives usage and Records disposal
Some respondents indicated that they have not sent records to the National Archives before while some indicated that they were not sure if NUST ever used the National Archives as a repository to its enduring value records save for two respondents who confirmed that indeed NUST had at one point sent its records to the National Archives. Respondents further indicated they haven’t disposed their records ever since the formation of the National University of Science and Technology.   
11.  Coordinated records management from the department’s top management
Two respondents indicated that there was someone within the department top management who had the role of overseeing records management practices within the department. However five respondents indicated that there was no one in charge of records management. This was further confirmed when the issue was further probed by interviews, indeed the top management confirmed that there was no one  in charge of records management.

12.  Documented filing system i.e file coding and classification
All respondents indicated that there was no filing system within the department of works and physical planning.
13.  Rating of records management system by participants
The respondents divided themselves into two camps. The first four agreed that records management practices were poor at the NUST works department while the other four said that the records management practices were good or better at the department

4.4 Observation.
Through observation the researcher observed the following.
14.  Registry or records
The works department had no registry or records office to manage its current records. The NUST department of Physical Planning and works administration office by design had a room demarcated as a registry or records office but the room is not being utilized. The room is being used as a dumping site where obsolete and useless records are stored. The office had no one to maintain it.
15.  Appraisal and disposal of records
The researcher observed that records were not being appraised ordisposed resulting in the accumulation of obsolete and useless records in offices the strong room with files which are no longer current. The room designed as the registry is also clogged with boxes and cabinets full of files which are not used at all by the department.
16.  Importance of records management
The researcher observed that senior officers in the department do not appreciate the importance of records management. The department receives and dispatches mails every day, the department keeps files, construction plans, fuel allocation records, stores records etc.,
17.  File and mail management
The researcher observed that there was no  file management system, i.e. there is no file classification and coding system. There is an acute shortage of file covers which resulted in some records kept as papers tied together with elastics or strings heaped on floors and some stuffed in boxes.
4.5 Summary
Theresponses gathered from respondents through questionnaires, interviews and observation were shown on a pie chart and tables. The results were further analyzed. Out of ten distributed questionnaires distributed only eight were returned which were later analyzed and results tabulated. Interviews were conducted to probe and seek clarification on certain topics of interests.




CHAPTER V
Discussion, Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations.
5.1 Discussion
In order to try to solve the problems cited in Chapter One the study used the interpretive research paradigm. The research also followed a qualitative research and also used the questionnaire, interview and observation techniques to gather the information. A purposive sampling was used over the population to select a sample. To strengthen, internal and external validity of the study the test retest method was estimated by examining the consistency of the responses between the two tests and the researcher obtained the same results proving that the instruments were reliable.
 The findings may prove that the records management malpractice being experienced at the department may be caused by ignorance to some extent. Roper (1999:55) said there is need for staff members to be trained in records management if an organizational records management program is to succeed.
  The quality of any records management system is directly related to the quality of the staff that operate it. Records work should be seen as a worthwhile career for those who are well educated, intelligent and industrious. It is not the posting of last resort for who are unqualified, incompetent or idle.
Roper and Griffin (1999:55) says the agency or organizational records manager, in collaboration with the head of the records and archives institution, is responsible for ensuring that staff members are adequately trained and that action officers are aware of their particular roles. They went on to say appropriate standards, manuals and guidelines should be developed to supplement training and instruction.
The research found out that there was no any records policy within the Works Department or the entire NUST institution. That means no any records management procedural manuals or standards. Each action officer keeps his or her own records in a way which he/she find sensible to him/her. This is against records management best practices Roper and Miller (1999:55) advice that in order for any records management programme to succeed there ought to be appropriate standards, manuals and guidelines to supplement training and instruction of action officers.
 The research found that the NUST Department of Physical Planning did not have a written disaster plan although fire extinguisher, horse rills and an assembly point was observed. The disaster plan in place had nothing to do with protecting records but assets and personnel, it is not records oriented. Had the disaster plan written with records in mind it should have included salvage equipment and salvaging procedures and salvaging material should be right in stock
Simmerman (1999:1) postulated that no organization is totally immune from emergencies or disasters, either from emergencies or disasters, either from natural causes or human action. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and fires take place all around the world. As well, wars and civil strife occur in many countries. Even power failures or electrical faults, leaks or drainage problems, or mishandling and human error can lead to an emergency. Offices, people and records can suffer in an emergency even an event seemingly insignificant as a leaking water pipe, a broken humidifier or a shutdown in temperature controls.
Simmerman (1999:1) goes on to say in order to protect themselves and their assets, including records and archives, many organizations develop “emergency plans”, which are also called “disaster plans” or “business disaster” plans. Such plans are based on the concept that an organization should identify its assets-including its people, its equipment and supplies, and its critical information sources-and then establishes procedures to protect those assets. An emergency plan seeks to protect people and property and ensure that, in the event of an emergency, action is taken immediately to reduce the damage incurred and institute recovery procedures right away.

Recovery procedures were not seen at the NUST Department of Works
 The researcher found that there were problems in accessing records at the
Department of Physical Works and Estates. One respondent indicated that they are in a habit of creating temporary files whenever they fail to locate a file in time which is a sign of record management deterioration. The creation of temporary files is encouraged when the file cannot be located but if the system is implemented in an environment where records management program is not in place it may lead to duplication of records in an office.

 The researcher found out that the NUST Department of Physical Planning and
Works do create and receive electronic records but there is no system to manage those electronic records like a repository of some sort so as to store and protect them. However, it was noted that that other departments of the university already are using the NAVISION software to manage their electronic records.
The researcher discovered that the word records appraisal is known at the
department and that all respondents admitted that they have files which haven’t
accessed in the past three (3) years. This further proves that no records appraisals
were ever done at the department since the formation of the Department. The 
researcher found that the department staff do not know that records have values when it comes to records appraisal Failure to know that records have values infer that none at the department is able to appraise and dispose records.
 It was discovered by the researcher, that the Department of Works have not yet used the National Archives of Zimbabwe to preserve its records of enduring value irrespective of the fact that the National University of Science and Technology is a state institution. This was not a surprise to the researcher since the respondents had previously indicated that they don’t know that records have values and even that they do not know that the Department haven’t done any records appraisal, nor does it have any records retention schedules which are used to determine which records deserves archiving or destruction at the of a records lifecycle. Failure to send records to the National Archives of Zimbabwe and failure to destroy obsolete records is the reason why storage equipment and offices are clogged with records resulting in some records placed in cardboard boxes and some on direct floors.

The researcher discovered that there was no top management support to make 
sure that records are created, received, maintained, used and disposed 
systematically and efficiently. Records management systems work efficiently and              effectively where top organizational management support the system. As long as
organizational top management takes less serious the management of organizational records, the records management system will  collapse leading to
corruption, delays to serve customers etcetera thereby affecting the overall
effectiveness of the organization.


The researcher discovered there was no documented filing system. Griffin and
Roper(1999:31) states that records need to be controlled, failure to control records
will result in the collapse  of the records management system. Records controls
            includes registration of files, indexing of files, classification, series control, appraisal and disposal of records.

The researcher generally discovered that there is a total loss of control of records
Department of Works or that there is a disintegration of records management 
1.     system at the NUST Works Department. Griffin (1999:30) list the following as symptoms of a collapsed records keeping system:The loss of control over the creation and use of records
  1. The loss of control over access
  2. The fragmentation of official records
4. The existence of different version of the same information and the absence of a definitive or authentic record.
 5.  The loss of contextual information, such as the originator and date of creation.
6. The ease with which electronic records can be changed
7. Technologically-related difficulties in retrieving records.

      8. The misuse of records, such as unauthorized access to or alteration of records.
The majority of the above symptoms were observed at the Works Department proving that indeed the records keeping is near to a total collapse.

5.2 Summary
This research study was prompted by the observations made by the researcher during his attachment period at the Department of Physical Works and Estates which made him make the assumption that the Department was not appraising and disposing its records timely. Therefore, the aims of the research were to prove if the assumptions were so and to discover if the department had an efficient records management system used to effectively manage its records in an effort to promote the effectiveness of the department. Furthermore this chapter will state the findings of the research study and make recommendations.
Chapter One had the background and assumption of the study. The chapter went on to explain the scope of the study. Chapter Two, is the literature review chapter it defined what literature review is. A wide spectrum of significant literature was therefore gathered, critically evaluated, analyzed and interpreted in line with its contribution to the research problem under review. Chapter Three dwelt on the design or plan of how the research would be carried out to specifically suit the problem under review. This resulted in a purposive research that was a non-probability sampling method. Also this research managed to find the best alternatives or methods of data collection in process. Research instruments, questionnaires and participatory observations were applied to try and get the richest source of information where possible. Chapter Four focused on the findings or results of the data gathering and analysis of information gathered from the population group selected from the staff of the NUST Department of Physical Planning and Works.

From the research done it was noted that the term records management is to some extent familiar with the NUST Department of Works employees. Had they failed to know what is meant by the term was going to be an indication for employees to appreciate the importance of records management to the organization.
The research found that staff members at NUST Department of Works have again an average understanding of the importance of records management although further analysis indicates that they are not turning their knowledge into action. The research discovered that there is none with any records management qualification at certificate, diploma or degree level within the department. The research further found that the department had not yet conducted any records management related workshop for its employees.
5.3 Conclusion
The NUST Department of Works has serious records management problems which need to be addressed as soon as possible. The analysis of the records keeping standards proved that there was no registry or records office, no records appraisal or disposal had ever been done. There is a huge accumulation of both archival and obsolete records in offices filling up office space.
5.4 Recommendations
1.     The researcher recommends the following to the department of Works:The department must come up with a departmental records management policy or a records management procedural manual or some sort of standards to manage records so as to ensure uniformity in the management of records within the department.
2.     The Department should appoint someone with a records management background to revive the departmental registry or records office which is being utilized. Other departmental officials need workshops on records management so that they become aware of the importance of records management to an organization and to learn different methods of records in different media.
3.     The department must have a records preservation plan, a vital records protection plan and a disaster preparedness plan.

4.     The departments’ should appraise and create retention schedules or disposal schedules so that the disposal of records becomes a routine which is systematic and not an ad-hoc procedure. The creation of records disposal schedules will help to solve the unnecessary keeping of archival and obsolete records in offices creating room for current records only in records storage equipment and offices.
5.     The registry or records office be operationalized and that all the records of the department be centralized in the records office where a trained records professional will be able to manage departmental records in a professional manner.

















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Appendix 1

Questionnaire Addressed to the NUST Department of Physical Planning Works and Estates Staff Members
 My name is EtiwelMutero an employee of the National University of Science and Technology; I am also doing a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Records and Archives Management with the Zimbabwe Open University, Matabeleland North Region. As part of my course requirements I am conducting a research project entitled “An Analysis of The Effectiveness of the Records Management systems at the National University of Science and Technology, Department of Physical Planning, Works and Estates”.
I had chosen you as a participant in this study. Your name and responses will be kept confidential. Return the questionnaire to the Departmental Secretary. The title of the research topic is:-

  1. What do you understand by the term records management?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  1. Do you think  adopting a records management system is important to your organization?
     
 


          Yes

           No
Explain……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  1. Do you have any formal qualification in records and archives management?
 Yes                                      

 


No
  1. If  is  yes,  please state your level of qualification
       …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  1. Have you ever attended any in-service workshop or seminar on records and archives management?
 


         Yes
 


           No

  1. Does your organization have a written records management policy?
 


           Yes
 


             No
  1.  Does your organization have any measures of preserving and protecting records and archives against deterioration and destruction in the event of an emergency  or disasters?
 


     Yes
       No

  1. If yes,  state the type of records preservation and the kind of disaster preparedness measures put in place by your organization.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Do you have any policies, standards or procedures you use to control the creation, maintenance and use of records in your organization?
 


                                      Yes
 


                                       No

  1. If  yes, please state the policies, standards and procedures……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  2. Have you ever had a problem in accessing a certain record which you wanted to use in your daily work routines?
                                   Yes

 


                                     No
  1.  If  yes,  explain how you managed to accomplish the task without that record ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                   Do you ever receive, create or use electronic records?

                                    Yes
 


                                       No

  1. Do you have any system for the management of electronic records in your organization?
 


                                      Yes
 


                                       No
  1. If your answer is yes to the above question please name the system…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  2. Do you have a problem of accumulation of records in your offices/organization?
 


                          Yes

 


                           No

  1.  Do you have files which you haven’t used for the past 3 years?
 


                                           Yes                                                             No




  1. What do you understand by the term records appraisal?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  1. When last did your organization appraise its records?
                                 3 years ago                                       10 years ago
 


                                 5  years ago                                    I am not sure
                                  
                                  
  1. Which criteria do you use to assign values to your records during appraisal?
       ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  1. Does  NUST use the National Archives of Zimbabwe and records centers to keep  its semi-current records and records of enduring value?

 


                                      Yes                      
 


                                      No

  1. Have you ever disposed useless/obsolete records before in your organization?
                                           Yes                                       No
                                          
  1. Is there anyone within your Department’ Top Managers with records management duties or who oversees records management practices and standards?

                                                  Yes
                                          NO

  1. Do you have any documented filing system in your organization?
 


                                     Yes                                                No
                                     

25How do you rate the records management system in your organization?
 


                  Poor                     Good                   Better                       Excellent
                                  Thank you









Etiwel Mutero works for the National University of Science and Technology,he holds a National Certificate in Records and Information Science from Kwekwe Polytechnic and he is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Records and Archives Management through the Zimbabwe Open University.You can contact him on 0773614293 or etiwelm02@gmail.com