I recall when I first started working as an Information Management Consultant at The National Archives back in 2005 I was learning about how to appraise records for historical value and our resident appraisal expert at the time used the phrase ‘A punishment to fit the crime’ to demonstrate to us that not all records should be appraised in the same way. I have never forgotten this and it occurred to me recently that this concept also applies to work that I have been doing around understanding the value of information and managing it accordingly.
There has been much talk across government and the Knowledge and Information Management profession in the past few years about what actually constitutes a ‘record’ in our complex digital world. Lots of definitions exist but in fact when giving advice to government departments we say that all information you create is a record regardless of format or location. The legislation that we work to in government, The Public Records Act, backs this up:
“records” includes not only written records but records conveying information by any other means whatsoever. s10(1)
In addition all information created by bodies that fall under the Public Records Act are ‘public records.’