Electronic Record Management

An electronic record is a digital record that one can manipulate, transfer, or process by means of a computer. An electronic record is written on optical or magnetic media such as diskettes, hard disks, etc.. To access such a record, one needs to use a computer with the relevant software installed (Segomotso, Millar, O’Shea, Nordland, & Suderman, 2009). Digital records are e-mails, Word documents, photographs, etc. Paper records, in their turn, have similar attributes. The three attributes associated with both paper and electronic records are structure, context, and content. This paper identifies the issues in managing digital records and describes how those issues relate to the digital management of records in an archive.

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The structure of a record consists of both system and content structure. Content structure refers to the internal features of a record that are characterized by how the information is arranged. For example, in terms of content, a circular is structured as a Word document with graphs, tables, photos, and a 12 point font (ICA, 2005). System structure, on the other hand, refers to the external features of a record, such as where a record is stored, and the software used in its creation. Further, the content attribute defines what a record contains. The content of a record such as a memo in an organization, for example, would would provide valuable information for employees.  Lastly, context refers to the original information that forms the meaning of a record. The context of a record is defined by its title, the author, and the date when a record was created (Segomotso et al., 2009). It also explains the reason for creating the record and the type of a business agency or organization that created it.

Although many people prefer electronic recording systems, there are many  digital record’ management issues. They are obsolescence, longevity, and reproduction. Due to the constant development of technology, software and hardware become obsolete, which makes it difficult to access information stored on old media due to incompatibility (ICA, 2005). In order to effectively manage electronic records, it is important to move records to new management systems. The issue of reproduction also affects the effectiveness of electronic records. Due to the ability to manipulate and transfer electronic records, people are likely to reproduce them and make them accessible. Lastly, digital media may become inaccessible due to physical damage. To enhance the longevity of records, it is advisable to regularly test and renew them if there are any problems. 

These digital records’ management issues arise when dealing with all types of electronic records, and the only way to solve these issues is to come up with the procedures and policies that would effectively govern record handling (Segomotso et al., 2009). These policies should define how records are classified to ensure that private and public records are not confused. Policies should also define the way digital records are transferred, maintained, and backed up.

In conclusion, electronic records’ management is a crucial task that requires up-to-date skills to ensure that the system is effective. The records’ management personnel should have the necessary skills to create, maintain, and retrieve records, as well as ensure that private records are kept confidential.

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