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vive la différence!

For many years PROV has been promoting the importance of records and recordkeeping. We have highlighted such things as:
The redevelopment of records management standards
The achievement of VERS Stage 1 measured by an EDRMS implementation
The ubiquity of records across varying formats and systems

I understand that often the related promotional messages have been translated as:
1. All records are information and all information is a record
2. All information should be managed in a records management system
3. An effective records management systems is an EDRMS
4. RM Standards and Specifications require every record to be managed in an EDRMS
5. Every agency should have an EDRMS

All records are information and all information is a record.
Records managers and archivist recognise that there are essential and critical differences between information and records. These differences are important (hence all records are information, but not all information is a record). But we also understand that for most people, most of the time, these differences are not important. This is particularly so in the digital world. Solutions around the effective management of information and records have to account for both their similarities and differences.

All information should be managed in a records management system.
As soon as the information and records issue becomes clouded, it is easy to believe this concept. Simply, this is not correct. Our advice is that agencies should apply resources and effort to minimise the risks that they face and to obtain the greatest benefits.

An effective records management systems is an EDRMS
PROV doesn’t believe that every agency should have an EDRMS. EDRMS are a tool that may assist agencies managing their records. But the effectiveness of this tool will depend on the particular requirements of the agency. It may be more effective to implement records management practices into some other area of the business. Yes PROV has measured EDRMS implementation for Stage 1 VERS implementation. This was in the context of being able to deliver VEOs. We recognise that many agencies have prioritised other records management activities and therefore not implemented EDRMS.

RM Standards and Specifications require every record to be managed in an EDRMS
The Standards and Specifications do require that every record should be managed. As noted above, management is possible in other systems besides EDRMS. In addition, PROV advocates a risk and value based approach to the implementation of the RM Standards and Specifications. By this we understand that agencies have limited resources and it is pointless/wasteful attempting to manage all records to the same standards. We advocate that agencies should allocate resources and effort to management records that are of the highest risk (if unmanaged) and the highest socio-economical (?) value.

Every agency should have an EDRMS
As noted above, PROV understands (and supports) that many agencies will not implement EDRMS, as this will not reduce risk or add value. We do expect that agencies will undertake a robust assessment to measure their risk and value requirements.

David Brown
Assistant Director
Government Services

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