Standards for Electronic Records Management

Many international and local standards exist for the creation and management of information.Discuss the five standards that exist in the management in an electronic environment.
Standards procedures, policies and other best practices create a professional uniformity in the management of records and archives. There are numerous records management standards published by the ISO. In this paper, the author is going to discuss the five standards that exist in the management of information in an electronic environment.
Definition of Terms
A web definition of the word standard is “a level of quality or attainment” or something used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. According to the Wikipedia information management is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. This sometimes involves those who have a stake in, or a right to that information. Electronic based information is defined by the as information captured through electronic means, and which may or may not have a paper record to back it up.It can also be called a machine readable record.
The ISO 130008:2012 titled the “Information and Documentation__Digital Records Conversion and Migration Process” is one of the electronic records standard.This International Standard provides guidance for the conversion of records from one format to another and the migration of records from one hardware or software configuration to another. It contains applicable records management requirements, the organizational and business framework for conducting the conversion and migration process, technology planning issues, and monitoring/controls for the process. It also identifies the steps, components and particular methodologies for each of these processes, covering such topics as workflow, testing, version control and validation.
With the rapid pace of technological change, many records in digital form will, at some point, need to be converted from one format to another, or migrated from one system to another to ensure their continued accessibility and processability.
This is not to suggest that conversion and migration are the only approaches to preserving digital records. Other methods, such as emulation, do exist or are under development. Conversion and migration are, however, two of the more prevalent methods of digital preservation at this time. While this International Standard does not address digital preservation per se, the conversion and migration processes can have an impact on a digital preservation strategy
Conversion and migration represent separate approaches to preserving digital records. It is important to implement them in a managed way to prevent any degradation or loss in the authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability of the records, thus ensuring an “authoritative record” as described in ISO 15489-1:2001, 7.2.2 to 7.2.5. This International Standard outlines the program components, planning issues, recordkeeping requirements and procedures for performing the conversion and migration of digital records so as to preserve their authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability so that they continue to act as evidence of business transactions.
Before starting a conversion or migration project, individuals designated as “key” to the process need to be aware of records management requirements. The term "recordkeeping criteria/requirements" in records and information management means an adherence to a set of principles that relate to record integrity, authenticity, reliability and usability. Adherence to these principles ensures that record content, context and structure are maintained and that a given record’s standing as evidence of business activity is not compromised. The principles apply regardless of how long the record is retained.
According to Adam (2008:24) the ISO 15489 is an international standard that defines best practices for the management of both paper and electronic documents and records.The ISO 15489 standard is aimed at all organizations who need to ensure that their documents and records are properly maintained, accessible, categorized, and indexed from the start of the documents’ or records’ life-cycle, which would be either their disposal, archiving, or moving of the documents or records to off-line/ off-site storage.
The ISO 15489 in two parts.Part 1 titled General provides a high-level framework for record-keeping and discusses high level records management requirement system. In particular, the benefits to the organization of records management are discussed, as well as the complying with legislation and the need to assign and assume responsibility for adequate records management policies and procedures.
Part 1 of the ISO 15489 includes electronic records processes which includes capture,such as imaging and uploading documents into the system, and storing and retaining records in the system, the latter known as the retention of records. Retrieving and accessing documents and the records is discussed in part 1, as well as auditing records and the need to keep audit trails.
Part 2 of the ISO 15489.2-2002 is a technical report that provides practical guidance on how to implement an effective records management system as described in Part 1 using the Dirks methodology. Practical guidance is given on the records management functions of capturing, classifying, storing, accessing, and managing records, as well as security of documents and records, and developing a classification scheme.
The third standards is the Electronic Records Management Software Applications Design Criteria Standard issued by the Department of Defense of the USA. This version of the DoD 5015.02-STD signed 25 April 2007 defines basic requirements based on operational, legislative and legal needs that must be met by records management applications products acquired by the Department of defense and its components. It defines requirements of records management applications managing classified records and includes requirements to support the Freedom Act and the Privacy Act.
The fourth standard impacting on electronic impacting on electronic information management is the BSI PD 0008 is a standard, according to Adam A (2008:32) developed by the British Standards Association (BSI) that is concerned with the “Legal Admissibility and Evidential Weight of Information Stored Electronically.” The standard essentially relates to whether electronic documents and records have legal status and can be used in a court of law, and whether electronic documents have the same evidential weight as their paper counterparts. Thus the standard is primarily concerned with the authenticity of electronic documents and records and storing them in such a way as to prove their authenticity
The standard contains the following three parts: BIP 0008-1:2004 which covers electronic records storage of documents, BIP 0008:2:2005 which covers documents communicated electronically including email, BIP 0008-3:2005 which covers the linking of identity of electronic records. Each of the three codes of practice requires the organization to demonstrate and put in place certain procedures to demonstrate that good practice procedures have been adhered to. These actions include the approval at board level of an Information Management Policy as well as an Information Security Policy.
The fifth standard existing in the management of electronic information is the OAIS or the Open Archival Information Systems Reference Model. The OAIS model addresses the full range of archival functions, including ingesting, storing, managing and accessing records.The model also defines the requirements for describing archival digital resources. OAIS has been ratified as an international standard (ISO 14721:2003): Space Data and Information Transfer Systems: Open Archival Information System-Reference Model, and its terminology and concerpts are now widely accepted among records and Information technology professionals.
According to Roper M.and Miller L. (2009:68-69) OAIS provides the following features to support the preservation of electronic records, a framework for increased awareness of archival concepts related to digital preservation and access, for both records professionals and those outside the discipline, clearly defined terminology for describing information architectures and digital archival operations and the information needed to compare different long-term preservation strategies and techniques.
The author had sought to outline the five standards which exist to control the management of electronic records, namely the ISO 15489 which defines best practices for the management of both paper and electronic document and records, Secondly, the Electronic Records Management Software Applications Design Criteria Standard issued by the Department of Defence which defines among other issues basic requirements based on operational, legislative and legal needs that must be met by records management applications products acquired by the department.The BSI PD 0008 a British standard called the “Legal Admissibility and Evidential Weight of Information Stored Electronically”, OAIS or the Open Archival Information Systems Reference Model and lastly the International Archival Descriptive Standards.

Adam A,2008, Implementing Electronic Document and Records Management Systems,New York,Auerbach Publications Taylor and Francis Group
Department of defense USA, 2007, Electronic Records Management Software Applications Design Criteria Standard, USA
Roper M and Miller L,2009, Management of Electronic Records, London, International Records Management Trust

Etiwel Mutero  holds a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Records and Archives Management through the Zimbabwe Open University and a National Certificate in Records and Archives Management from Kwekwe Polytechnic.He writes in his own capacity.You can contact him on 0773614293 or

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