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Record & Content Management: Bridging the Gap

This webinar, primarily presented by Ann Rockley (and Arbortext and Documentum). The slides are available (pdf).

The goal of the presentation was to provide people with information around developing integrated approaches to records and content management. Records are generally considered to be the documentary evidence of business decisions and business actions. In the words of the presenter, think of them as "laminated" documents that cannot be changed and must be retained according to various laws (Sarbanes-Oxley, 21 CFR Part 11, and others). Records are stored, archived, accessed and, eventually, expunged based on business rules and the requirements of government. Records management is the collection of processes that guide how an organization does these activities. Given electronic records, these processes can be automated.

Content is the components of final documents: text, pictures, graphs, summaries, full explanations, source data. Content management enables organizations to "separate the content from the format" of that content. These things can only happen with information technology, as information carried on paper cannot be easily repurposed.

For reference, documents sit somewhere in between these two. Documents are collections of the content elements, and some version of the document may become a record. The issue - the reason that content is becoming more interesting - is that most document management systems do not provide the capability to see the history of the underlying components (content elements). And they are geared towards keeping documents available for revision and modification, rather than lock-down as a record.

Bridging the gap? The gap is that communication is low or non-existent between those responsible for content management and those responsible for records management. Nearly all organizations are generating their content and records electronically these days. The presentation argued that the business units responsible for these aspects must work together.

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