20110407 NARA E-Records Forum on RM 20


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This presentation from the 2011 NARA E-Records Forum in Austin provided guidance on how to manage social business content as part of a records program.

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  • Keep in touch with remote offices, colleagues, and even familyNetworking - personal, professional, career
  • Learn new things. Lots of what folks post day-in and day-out is trivial. Then again, so is the RECMGMT-L listserv – and yet how many of you are on that and swear by the value you receive from it?
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment – 95% use LinkedIn. And every recruiter and HR manager does due diligence on candidates using Google – and the top links for many are their profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
  • Because information can be easily augmented with photos, videos, and links
  • [twitter] Web 2.0 considerations and issues[/twitter]
  • [twitter] Web 2.0 considerations and issues[/twitter]
  • The first step many organizations take to manage Web 2.0 is to try to block them. This is unrealistic for a number of reasons.
  • The first step is to determine whether or not something is in fact a record. Just as we know that most email messages are not records, for most organizations their Facebook fan page updates will not be records either. In other words, we have to ask the same questions about these tools that we’d ask about any other type of information:Does it document a transaction or a decision? If it does, it’s probably a record. Is it captured in another form? This is the biggest reason why most social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t need to be captured as records – in most cases they are being used as another transmission mechanism for information stored elsewhere. Now, just because it isn’t a record doesn’t mean it couldn’t be discoverable or a public record and subject to FOIA-type laws. Again, same considerations here as for other types of information. [twitter]Determine whether something is a record or not according to its content and context.[/twitter]
  • The next step is to determine exactly what is the record and must therefore be retained. Again, this will likely vary not just by content, but also by the nature of the tool. An individual social network status update or Tweet could rise to the level of a record, though I suspect this will be uncommon; in the case of a protracted discussion on someone’s wall or via Twitter, it might be the entire stream of updates on a particular topic or over a given period. This is analogous to determining when an instant message is a record. Many of these tools don’t really have metadata in the traditional sense. Twitter, for example, has the following public metadata: SenderMentions (the @ or DM it is addressed to, and could be more than one)A unique Twitter IDAn in-response-to Twitter ID if it uses the Twitter Reply capabilityA ReTweet ID if it was ReTweetedDate and time sentThe client used to send the update, if knownAny hashtags could be considered metadataBut note what there isn’t: No subject line or topic, no mechanism for filing it, no keywords (except maybe the hashtag). Other systems may offer more or less metadata but it is difficult to access some of that, even if it is retained by the system or commercial provider. The key is to have a records policy that is broad enough to encompass all of these tools and that stresses the content and context of information rather than its format. And as we noted earlier, just because it exists does not make it a record per se.[twitter] The next step is to determine exactly what is the record and must therefore be retained. [/twitter]
  • Finally, there are enterprise versions of every Web 2.0 application. These enterprise versions are often available to be hosted inside the firewall, meaning that security is much more robust. Access can be secured to them much more effectively. They can be integrated into the organization’s identity infrastructure – whether Active Directory or something else – such that any change, post, comment, edit, update, etc. can all be tracked and, more importantly, tracked to a specific named user. No anonymous postings here. Of course, you have to pay for an enterprise version, but what you’re really paying for is a level of peace of mind. And you still get many of the same benefits – ease of use, familiarity with the type of tool, rapid and agile collaboration across geographical and time boundaries, etc. You’re just getting a more secure and robust version of it. [twitter]Consider implementing enterprise versions. FB is FB, but internal tools might be more appropriate.[/twitter]
  • At this point I’d be pleased to entertain your questions.
  • In conclusion, Web 2.0 is not something coming down the road or over the horizon – it’s here today and is probably in your organization, whether you know about it or not. It is all but impossible to effectively prohibit them – and the tools can significantly improve an organization’s collaboration and knowledge sharing, thereby adding value to the organization. It is incumbent on records management professionals to step up and lead your organizations in the effective use and management of these tools.
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