The adoption of ISO standards in Brazil, Iberian Peninsula and United Kingdom in information and documentation. A comparative study

Date19 November 2018
Publication Date19 November 2018
AuthorNatália Marinho do Nascimento,María Manuela Moro Cabero,Marta Lígia Pomim Valentim
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
The adoption of ISO standards in
Brazil, Iberian Peninsula and
United Kingdom in information
and documentation
A comparative study
Natália Marinho do Nascimento
Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho Campus de Marilia,
São Paulo, Brazil
María Manuela Moro Cabero
Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain, and
Marta Lígia Pomim Valentim
Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho Campus de Marilia,
Marilia, Brazil
Purpose The use of standards is currently characterized by International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) as essential for the efcient development of products, processes, services and
systems in organizations; that is the norm-prot-measuring methodology Toolkit. From an impact-
analysis perspective, the purpose of this paper is to compare the existing published standards in the
area of archival science and documentation in Brazil, by the hand of the Brazilian Association of
Technical Standards (ABNT); Portugal (NP), by the Portuguese Institution of Quality (IPQ); and in
Spain (UNE), by the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certication (AENOR). Finally, this
paper aims to observe the convergences and divergences among these countries with respect to the
rst country standards organization, United Kingdom (UK), by the British Standards Institution
(BSI). This paper is an extract of a deeper investigation about behaviors, uses and impact of ISOs
Design/methodology/approach The methodology consists in a qualitative and quantitative
comparative study, carried outthrough the analysis of the technical contents of the standards present in the
catalogsavailable on the ABNT, IPQ, AENOR and BSI websites.It compares the main existing divergencesin
adoption, collaboration,elaboration, volume, working-group dynamism, editing schedules, costsand groups
of standards.
Findings The analysis allowedto observe the relevance of the technical standards in the studied countries
and the advantages of the adoption of ISO for the dissemination of contents. For instance, the use and
application of these standards for the development of archival and records management activities is
considered to benet the professionalsto decrease the time of implementation and execution of the archival
activities and allow continuous assessment. Besides ensuring quality in the archival processes,
standardizationevidences the complexity within organizational environmentsinherent to the metamorphosis
of eachs functionalcontext.
This study was nanced in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível
Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.
Adoption of
ISO standards
Received18 April 2018
Revised1 August 2018
24September 2018
Accepted15 October 2018
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.28 No. 3, 2018
pp. 305-324
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-04-2018-0009
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Originality/value This paper contributeswith an original analysis of how the technical standards of the
Archivaland Records Management area are published and used in Brazil, IberianPeninsula and the UK.
Keywords Records management, Documentation, Standardization, Archival information
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Rules are fundamental to society, as they dictate how individuals should live together,
making it possible to inhabit the same space and respect the rights and duties of each
person. An environment withoutany kind of rules is associated to ideas of disorder and lack
of control; thus, in the face of an implicit need for control, there are all kinds of standards,
some of which are considered mandatory (Laws, Royal Decrees, Regulations and so on).
meanwhile others, on the contrary, are optionalor voluntary (technical standards of quality,
technical standards for interoperability, for administrations, standards for the development
of various functions and instrumentsand so on).
To confront current and potential problems, standardization stablishes the common and
reiterative prescriptionsfor the optimal efciency under any given context (AENOR, 2018).
In this line, Smit (2013, p. 62) species that normalization contributes to build the
archival environment as a whole, since the application of a set of consensus standards
reveals to be the ideal proceedingmechanism under complex scenarios.
In the above context, thispaper conceives standardization as prerequisite fora long-term
nature, legitimizationand general consensus in the eld.
Therefore, norm alization consists in elabora ting that is formulation and agreement
disseminatingand implementing standards. Withinorganizations, this meansthe application
of codes, rules, specications, technical reports and guides. Indeed,as dened in the website
of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an international norm is a
document that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or for their results,
aimed at achievingthe optimum degree of order in a given context.(ISO/IEC,2018;AENOR,
2018). Furthermore, it is highlightedthat this type of records can takemany forms: products,
codes of practice, guidelines and management systems standards. In this sense, Smith
emphasizesthe following three specic targetsin the standardizationprocess: to describe the
essence and fundamentals, to describe attributes and characteristics and to describe the
activities concerning a specic product or service. In addition, and from the side of record
management, this paper advocates for a forth objective: to support those standardized
scenarios of organizational management (MSS management system standards)in which
the informativeand documental basesare essential for producersand governance.
Technical standards emergeto designate guidelines to be followed in the development of
a product, process, service or system,guaranteeing a standard level of quality. However, as
they are voluntary, organizations need to dene whether they want to follow them or not
(although in many cases they are mandatory, for example, in the area of the security and
engineering). Nevertheless, organizations often need to adhere if they wish to guarantee
competitiveness and to conquer international markets, demonstrating quality, security,
resilience and so on. In concrete, this dissertation analyses the ISO standardization
employed among organizationsfor the record and archive management.
ISO is a global confederation of internationalstandards organizations that accounts with
more than a half century of collaborative work across-country standards organization
For each country, there is an association responsible for developing or adapting ISO
standards. In Brazil, thisassociation is named Brazilian Association of TechnicalStandards

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