Archival Institutions to Worry About Records Management Modus Operandi for Impact on Their Future Holdings

Archival Institutions to Worry About Records Management Modus Operandi for Impact on Their Future Holdings

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8713-3.ch006
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Abstract

This study investigated circumstances in which archival institutions are supposed to worry about records management modus operandi in creating institutions as the situation will eventually impact their future holdings. The study relied on a literature review to study the situation in which archival institutions are supposed to worry about records management modus operandi. The study discovered that archives appear to be not worried about what is happening to archival records in the creating institutions before records are transferred to archives repositories. Archival records are supposed to be transferred to an archival repository after 20 years from the date of creation, but some government institutions are more than 30 years old without a single record submitted for archiving and still archives do not worry about the situation. The study proposes a framework through which archival institutions may guard against the improper handling of records before transfer to archives repository.
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Introduction And Background

The term, “archives” can refer to institutions housing archival materials, archival materials themselves, or, the storage in which archival materials are kept, also known as an archival repository (The US National archives and records administration, 2016 a). Archives may also be defined as “collections of documents or ‘records’ which have been selected for permanent preservation because of their value as evidence or as a source for historical or other research” (National Archives of UK, 2016). The US National Archives and Records Administration (2016b) describe archives as follows:

an archive is the repository of the permanently valuable records of an organisation. Such records are traditionally transferred to an archive, both physically and legally, when the organisation that created them no longer needs them in the course of business. Archival records then become available to researchers who use them not only to document the history of the organisation that created them but also to research the society of which that organisation is part.

Archives, as an institution, are concerned with proper management and lives of records with enduring value simply because such records are important for the future generation (Brunskill, 2012). There is a major reason archival institution need to worry about records management modus operandi in creating institutions since they depend on institutions for them to have archival resources for their clients. “Archives is supporting a framework of collection strategies to ensure that records are kept of events and of the lives and activities of individuals and communities, and of public, private and charitable organisations” (National Archives of UK, 2016). National Archives of UK (2016) further elaborate that:

The first purpose of managing records is to meet the business or operational needs of an organisation or person, allowing it to function effectively. While the records are meeting these needs, they are in ‘active use’. When they are no longer needed in active use, they are reviewed to decide which should be selected to become part of an archive collection. This cultural and historical research value is their second purpose. Records that are not selected for permanent preservation should be destroyed when no longer needed. Remember that if they contain sensitive or confidential material they must be destroyed securely – they should never be disposed of with general waste or recycling.

The National Archives of UK (2016) shows clearly that records are created by different institutions during the discharge of different administrative activities and few periods after creation such records remain important and useful to the same organisation but thereafter, they become useless to them. Some records after termination from creating an organisation become valuable, or useful to the general public for different reasons including access to historical information, for research, keeping memory and heritage for the country. These kinds of records eventually form part of the archival collection in the archives repository, depending on their value. This type of repository is a specialist archives records collecting institution for safekeeping and open access to users in the general public. Archival collections are normally kept in the institutions' named archives, and even some of the libraries and museums keep archival collections. These institutions, at times, become attached to government, schools, and institutions of higher learning, churches, arts organisations, or community groups (National Archives of UK, 2016). These organisations should take responsibility to ensure that records of archival interest are managed with care from the day they are created until they are handed over to the repository for permanent preservation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Archives Preservation: Archives preservation refers to proper keeping of archival records in such a manner that such records are safe and protected to an extent that they are only accessible to authorised people and are free from being affected by disaster of any kind, whether natural or manmade.

Archival Institutions: Archival institutions refer to the institution or organization that is responsible or is taking responsibility for preservation and management of archival records or records with enduring value. In government this is the kind of institutions that are charged with central responsibility to ensure that records across different records creating organisations, especially government institutions are properly managed throughout their life cycle.

Records Management: Records management refers to management of recorded information in different formats and medium to facilitate access and security for such information, usually through central registry.

Archival Value Records: Archival value records refer to records that has an enduring value or permanent value or secondary value. Such kind of records are important forever to the total citizen and ought to be kept forever for many future generations of different interests to such records.

Modus Operandi: Modus operandi refers to the way of operation, especially in business administration and in case of archives and records management is pertaining to the way of managing archives and records in their custody.

Archival Holdings: Archival holdings refer to the collection of archival materials in different form and medium in archival custody.

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