Comparing the Records Life Cycle and the Continuum Models of Records Mangement

Topics: Archive, Management, Archival science Pages: 5 (1363 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Assignment 1
Q. Compare and Contrast the Records life Cycle and the Records Continuum Models of Records management.

The Records Lifecycle and the Continuum Model of Records are similar, they both pass through the current stage, semi current stage and they are both archived. However the Continuum Model differs from the Records Lifecycle in a number of ways including its continuous life, the origins of the model, integrated roles of records and archival form, records and elements of records definition, major concerns in records management, records movement patterns, recordkeeping perspectives, recordkeeping process, criteria for selecting archives, time of appraisal, role of recordkeeping managers and lastly undertaking records management tasks.

This essay defines the continuum and the life-cycle concepts. It explains what the continuum concept is all about. The life-cycle had been explained as concept which gives a sense of order among a host of its advantages in records management. The lifecycle is a concept that draws an analogy between the life of a biological organism, which is born, lives and dies, and that of a record, which is created, is used for so long as it has continuing value and is then disposed of by destruction or by transfer to an archival institution.

Miller says the effective management of records throughout their lifecycle is a key issue in civil service reform. Without the lifecycle concept, vast quantities of inactive records clog up expensive office space, and it is virtually impossible to retrieve important administrative, financial and legal information. Such a situation undermines the accountability of the state and endangers the rights of the citizen.

Without a management program that controls records through the earlier phases of their lifecycle, those of archival value cannot be identified and safeguarded so that they can take their place in due course as part of the nation’s historical and cultural heritage.

The records lifecycle goes on as follows: the document is created and enters what is called the current stage. Current records are records regularly used for the conduct of the current businesses of an organization or individual. They are also known as active records. Current records are normally kept near the place of origin or the registry or records office. From the current stage the record goes on to the semi-current stage. Semi-current records are records required only infrequently in the conduct of the current business.

Semi-current records will normally be maintained in a records centre pending their ultimate disposal. From semi-current phase, some records are selected as archives. Archives are records, usually but not necessarily non-current records, of enduring value selected for permanent preservation. Archives will normally be preserved in an archival institution.

The lifecycle concept has been useful in promoting a sense of order, a systematic approach, to the overall management of recorded information. However the records continuum and the lifecycle model show that the records continuum models advantages outweighs the advantages of the lifecycle concept. Peter Marshall states that the records continuum’s primary focus is the multiple purpose of records. It aims for the development of record keeping systems that capture, manage, and maintain records with sound evidential characteristics for as long as the records are of value to the organization. It promotes the integration of record keeping into the organization’s business systems and processes.

According to McKemmish records managers and archivists are brought together under an integrated recordkeeping framework with the same goal: to guarantee the reliability, authenticity, and completeness of records. The framework provides common understanding, consistent standards, unified best practice criteria, and interdisciplinary approaches in recordkeeping and archiving processes for both paper and digital...
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