Essay Example on Records: Key to Accountability & Trust Building in Societies

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1582 Words
Date:  2023-01-04

Records play an important role in various aspects of life, not only in the organizations but also in individual lives. Records are used to document property rights, the rights as well as obligations of an individual, thereby making the organization or the government to be accountable since they can access information of the past (Gupta, 2008). As studied, the functions depend significantly on the societal confidence and to build the trust of the stakeholders, there is a need to keep clean records which cannot be manipulated, are authentic and reliable and have the real value for documentation. Archives and records management is seen to be based on the record series concept of "records life cycle" and "records appraisal" (Cox, 2001). It should be noted that records have life cycles as they are created or received. They can, therefore, be maintained and revised regularly based on needs. When they reach their end of active lives, they are disposed of including being destroyed or transferred to institutional archives. Therefore, archiving entails the process of moving and storing data that is no longer actively in use to separate storage for long-term retention. Various theories have been used to explain and illustrate the concept of record management and archiving which will be illustrated with their significance in organizational management.

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Archive science has emerged as a separate discipline that needs attention by scholars in record management with the aim of understanding the societal needs to control information in records and archives. Therefore, scholars such as Purcell (2012) have sought to demonstrate the theoretical and methodological development of archival science and how it impacts on the process including communication. Archival thinkers like Whatley and Brown (2012) have essentially dealt with written records that are created by organizations and governments while largely neglecting the individual developments. This is seen to be built on the classical archival science that does not leave a significant room for theoretical speculation. This illustrates that if an archive is developed naturally, then the arrangement is based on the natural structure. However, this led to the development of the classical archival methodology that focused on the preservation of the original physical structures of the archives. It should be noted that the physical structures have been significantly ignored in record keeping although they are imperative in an organizational record keeping process (Cox & Wallace, 2002). Therefore, as the records are increasingly becoming vital in modern society, there is a need to preserve all the structures that are necessary to ensure that the original information is not lost.

Record management theory is the other philosophy used in the study and practice of archiving to facilitate proper record management. As studied, records managers often complain that the process of records management suffers from the influence of the irrelevant traditional concepts which implies that they are hence theoretically flawed. In a theoretical context implies a broader area in theory in which the records management theory will fit (Cox, 2000). Some of the theoretical contexts that record management can be evaluated is the functional context. It should be noted that records management serves an organization implying that the mission for the records needs to be related as well as supportive of the organization mission and goals. The theory implies that the role of record management needs to engage activities that are demonstrating the importance of information sharing and programs that facilitate organizational improvement. This includes the management of information, processing of data, and the archives. In this respect, it is evident that the records management theory seems to be sterile or incomplete unless it is related to the management of an organization as a whole. If record management is a good practice, then it is imperative to evaluate how it leads to organizational effectiveness.

Records management theory can also be evaluated from a professional context. It should be noted that records management can be evaluated as a family member regarding information retrieval based on the information systems. This may include archives, libraries, and databases that entail information management and retrieval for organizational purposes (Millar, 2017). Another theoretical view is the intellectual context. This entails the reasoning of the idea of archiving and why information management is important in modern practice. The process of intellectual recording has been imperative in the modern structure of organizational fashionable ideas in computer management. Therefore, technology has been a major inspiration to the modern developments of data management and retrieval which is an example of record management and archiving. An example is web archiving which presents the storage of various electronic records for desired future purposes (Kumar & Sharma, 2000). Therefore, the analysis demonstrates that an understanding of the theory of record management will facilitate intellectual reasoning regarding how the information can be preserved. In recent times, organizations have been using various approaches and means to record and store vital organizational data. All these different formats and means are imperative if utilized properly.

The archival profession has demonstrated the principle of maintaining records as organic units which are accumulated to gain universal acceptance. Various people are enticed with the idea of properly using technology to facilitate archiving of their important documents which they can retrieve in the future (Richardson, 2012). However, this principle varies from person to person and the practice changes from country to country. The main approach that defines archiving in practice is the principle of provenance. The principle of provenance is a fundamental archiving principle noted in this course that refers to different individuals, families, or organizations that creates the items in the collection. This principle has been used to evaluate and apply the appraisals that enhances the evaluation of records based on the aspect of importance. Therefore, a hierarchical method can be used in an organization that is top-down (Olson, 2010). Provenance principle has gained a lot of attention lately since it serves to protect the integrity of the records. Protection of integrity is in the sense that the origin of records as well as the processes used to get them is preserved and reflected on the arrangement. Besides, the approach has been used to serve as a character of the significance of records where individual documents can be understood better. Therefore, the archival profession, in theory, demonstrates the significance of understanding archiving from an individual and organizational context.

The archival theory has been developed for decades with varying levels of intentionality implying that a broad range of archives as well as archival situations. Various theoretical approaches discussed to demonstrate the aspect of the archival appraisal. This leads to a continuous disagreement regarding how the archivists select the material that should belong to the archives. Therefore, to understand the aspect of archiving it is imperative to examine the tension between subjectivity as well as objectivity (Chen, 2005). This aids the decision making which is imperative in facilitating proper record keeping. In this regard, the theoretical perspective demonstrates the importance of record keeping and archiving in an organization. For example, organizations keep increasing the amount of data stored as more accurate and current data is obtained. However, the old data is still relevant and necessary in the future. Data archiving is that process of moving this old data to separate storage which demonstrates a proper way of storing (McKemmish, 2005). This process helps the organization to grow depending on how it is utilized and stored in less expensive locations. In this regard, data archiving saves money while keeping the records safe from possible damages like fire.

The analysis demonstrates that archiving and record keeping are imperative for both individual use and organizational use. However, it is important to note that archiving and record keeping is not complete unless applied in an organizational perspective based on the benefits that the entity will gain. Therefore, archiving and record keeping should facilitate obligations that the institution has including a corporate social duty especially when it is a governmental organization. Various theories have been developed to explain the process and purpose of archiving which have demonstrated that a proper archiving must be done in accordance with the organizational goal and purpose. This implies that theories like records management theory should not be evaluated in isolation but rather in its uniqueness in the management of records. When utilized appropriately, archiving prevents data loss in an organization implying that in case an employee loses a file mistakenly, the information can still be retrieved. Besides, archiving is an important legal requirement where businesses must keep all information for security purposes.


Chen, Z. (2005). Digital libraries: International collaboration and cross-fertilization. Berlin: Springer.

Cox, R. J. (2000). Closing an era: Historical perspectives on modern archives and records management. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Cox, R. J. (2001). Managing records as evidence and information. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.

Cox, R. J., & Wallace, D. A. (2002). Archives and the public good: Accountability and records in modern society. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.

Gupta, M. (2008). Archives and records management. New Delhi: Global India Publications.

Kumar, A., & Sharma, R. (2000). Personnel management: Theory and practice. New Delhi: Atlantic Publ.

McKemmish, S. (2005). Archives: Recordkeeping in society. Wagga, N: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Millar, L. (2017). Archives: Principles and practices. London: Facet Publishing.

Olson, J. E. (2010). Database Archiving: How to Keep Lots of Data for a Very Long Time. Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Purcell, A. D. (2012). Academic archives: Managing the next generation of college and university archives, records, and special collections. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers an imprint of ALA Publishing.

Richardson, B. (2012). Records management for dummies. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Whatley, P., & Brown, C. (2012). Archives and recordkeeping theory and practice. Facet.

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