Opinion piece – electronic records: now and then

Publication Date13 July 2010
Date13 July 2010
AuthorRick Barry
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
Opinion piece electronic
records: now and then
Rick Barry
MyBestDocs.com, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to share the author’s opinions on notable electronic
records achievements over the past two decades in the USA and current issues and views on the
Design/methodology/approach – This is an essay that is based on the author’s 50 years in the
field of information management, technology management, and records management as a researcher,
manager, and consultant. It reviews different technologies used by the typically four generations of
workers collaborating in the workplace at the same time, and what this portends for electronic
Findings – Information managers, archivists, and records managers can gain insights into current
and future issues managing electronic records by becoming good observers of changing technologies
and their uses by generations soon to enter the workplace. Suggested options for addressing some of
the more critical issues are offered, including approaches to technological designs for recordkeeping
and a broader view of the potential for better integration of cultural information of all kinds in
archives, libraries and museums, as a means of better serving researchers and society.
Originality/value – Evolving technologies and trends in their social usage have presented and will
continueto present newer platformsfor both personal and organizationalwork patterns,communications
and record making. Modern information technologies and related analytical practices also offer
opportunities for addressing some of the long-standing issues encountered in planning and
implementing electronic records systems in such an ever-changing business world. Recent
recordkeeping professionals can benefit from sharing experiences and stories in identifying and
making use of such opportunities to move forward from a planning environment to an enterprise
implementation environment.
Keywords Records management, Electronic media,Communication technologies
Paper type Viewpoint
About midway in the period of the existence of the Records Management Journal (RMJ),
in 1997, I authored an opening essay for a special international issue at the request of its
editor. For this issue, I have been invited to reflect on the current state of play of some of
the topics raised in that essay and other contemporary topics in keeping with the
current, national orientation of this issue. Therefore, though reflective to begin with,
I will speak mainly to the status quo in keeping with the theme of this issue, speaking
only to a few portions of the earlier essay to help keep some perspective. Similarly, this
writing will reflect one more representative of US developments, but mindful that
changes in the global landscape projected in the earlier essay have come about in ways
that have made international political boundaries become less and less relevant in the
world of technology, information management, and recordkeeping.
Discussion of today’s state of play begs to first take note how monumental the
changes have been in technology, the workplace and related work patterns, and the
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 22 March 2010
Accepted 22 April 2010
Records Management Journal
Vol. 20 No. 2, 2010
pp. 157-171
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/09565691011064304

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