Record Storage, Retrieval, Conversion, and Facilities
Storing and retrieving records and information has evolved over the years. A deep understanding of record storage, record types, retrieval, search, eDiscovery, conversion, and facilities used to store and host records is essential for managing records during their entire lifecycle.
- Paper, Film, and Photographic – Know the different types of human readable formats such as paper, film, and photographic and their individual compounds and characteristics such as silver halide, diazo, acid-free, and vellum to name a few. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of using physical media storage and when it is still necessary for active or inactive environments.
- Electronic – Understand how electronic records are stored, and the different types of media that requires a computer system, hardware, and software to access and read. Know the different types of electronic mediums such as electromagnetic disk, SSD’s, DVD’s, USB drives, mobile devices, and magnetic tape. Understand the necessary criteria used when selecting various media types and the requirements that may vary during different phases of the information’s life cycle. Know the principles of managing different data types and their media characteristics. Be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of storing business records in an electronic format and the unique challenges this presents.
- Unstructured and Structured Data – Understand how to set up directory and folder structures on a file share or in a record management system to meet business requirements and how to manage them during all phases of the information life cycle. Be familiar with the different methods of managing structured and unstructured data, with its associated metadata.
- Indexing – The RIM manager should know the value of proper indexing and common descriptors such as lists of names, identifiers, and subject terms. Be aware of the use of metadata such as administrative, descriptive, and structural. Know the advantages and disadvantages of a direct access and indirect access system. Be familiar with the different types of indexes such as alphabetical, hierarchical, full-text, and numerical. Become informed with various search terms such as a wild card, Boolean, semantic, exploratory, contextual, and truncated.
- Search –The primary objective of information retrieval is to find the right information at the right time by the right person. The RIM manager should understand the different types of search methods such as Boolean logic, captions, keyword, proximity, string, structured and wild card searches. Be able to calculate retrieval or turnaround ratios, reference ratios and accuracy ratios when physically searching for records. Understand the importance of uniformity in a file plan and why it is important for file arrangement, classification, and coding.
- Electronic Discovery – The RIM Manager should understand the functions of eDiscovery such as, identification, preservation, collection, analysis, production, and presentation. The RIM Manager should be aware of how to conduct a collection for discovery purposes. Knowing that ESI may exist on workstations, servers, USB drives, mobile devices, the Cloud, and legacy systems is essential. Concepts around data culling, review planning, and ethics around data collection are essential. Understanding the differences in presenting information in native and near-native format is essential. Last, understanding that validating procedures used during discovery, and persuading an audience are critical when presenting records associated with discovery.
- Planning and Analysis – Describe the process of planning and implementing an electronic record system. Understand how to determine the technical, operational and financial feasibility of an electronic record storage system and when using internal staff or outsourcing is appropriate. Understand the benefits an electronic record system can bring to an organization. Know how to evaluate the requirements and considerations of paper-to-electronic file, film-to-electronic file, and electronic file-to-electronic file conversions. Consider the user needs and requirements of the records in the system.
- Design and Implementation – Understand the number of files, file sizes, space, retention periods, labor, and user requirements. Be familiar with application independent file formats such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Rich Text Format (RTF), Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). Be familiar with different conversion methods such as complete, partial, scan-on-demand and day-forward to ensure records that were created before the system is implemented can be accessible. Be familiar with quality checks and procedures to ensure data integrity. Understand the importance of end-user training, impacts of updates, upgrades, patches, and migration. Know the importance of logs, administrative capabilities, and workflow.
- Record Centers – A RIM Manager must be familiar with design consideration, shelving, relocating, containers, operating, efficiencies, staffing, security, and managing an internal record center. Further, a RIM Manager must be familiar with concepts of outsourcing to a Commercial Record Center, along with contract considerations and vendor performance.
- Data Centers – A RIM Manager must understand the function of a data center. Further, understanding the concepts of data center design, environmental considerations, physical security, redundancy, virtualization, and equipment considerations to operate a data center is required. Understanding where data resides and how it is managed and accessed by Information Technology is crucial. Service level agreements (SLAs) and telecommunication technology to support the transmission of data in and out of the data center is important for a RIM Manager to understand.
- Cloud Storage – A RIM Manager will be faced with questions surrounding the feasibility of managing, using, and storing records in the cloud. A RIM Manager should be aware of why an organization would consider cloud storage and the risks associated with storing records in the cloud. A RIM Manager must be able to competently evaluate cloud-based applications and cloud vendors. Last, understanding the basics of cloud storage technology architecture and design options, such as (Software-as-a-Service) SaaS, is imperative.
- Operations and Controls – How records move inside and outside of an organization is critical for a RIM Manager to understand. Understanding operational procedures and controls for records in any format, whether in transit or in storage is essential to ensure records are safeguarded and auditable, and maintain their integrity.