Thursday, June 25, 2009

Provacative Thoughts from Managing the Crowd

Thanks to strong recommendations from a number of colleagues, I've been reading Managing the Crowd - rethinking records management for the web 2.0 world by Steve Bailey. In the context of challenging traditional records management perspectives in the context of current / future trends in social collaboration technologies, he raises some very provacative points:

  • given that all information regardless of source, format, media or medium is in scope of access to information requests, e-discovery / litigation, why bother identifying and managing a subset of corporate information as records?
  • ensuring that documents, emails etc. that that could potentially reflect badly on an organization are disposed of is somewhat analagous to "accessory after the fact", and in contradiction to the traditional value of the records management function
  • if no one appears to have effectively managed email records beyond minimum compliance, how can we realistically presume to be able to implement large scale content management systems to manage records and information that users will enthusiastically embrace as a productivity improver?
  • is it realistic, or even possible, to effectively manage records that are created in an ever-increasing number of information silos and the exponential proliferation and use of un-connected Web 2.0 applications?
  • if organizations are using platforms outside their firewall for social networking, collaboration, and content creation (e.g. Google Docs, Zoho, WetPaint etc.), how can records, let alone information, be managed in them from a corporate perspective?
  • is effective records appraisal possible given the increasing complexity of the world around us and the the resulting shifts organizational context, the sheer volume and type of information being created from any number of business and personal contexts, and the inabilty to accurately predict future value?
  • does using evidential value as the key criteria for managing records potentially harm an organization by allowing information that has information value to be disposed of?
These and other questions that emerge from the book itself, or from reading and considering it, and the challenges associated with integrating social collaboration platforms inside and outside the organization, would certainly seem to indicate the need to examine the 'traditional' approaches to implementing document and records management.

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