Sites every RIM professional should know.
Records and Information Management Resource List, http://infomgmt. homestead.com/files/websites.htm
This site, developed and maintained by RIM practitioner Alan S. Zaben, is a virtual and electronic encyclopedia of the RIM domain with its inclusion of some 5,000 links in 315 categories. When Zaben finds--or has reported to him--what appears to be a useful Web page, he reviews, categorizes, and adds it to this site. Thousands of information-rich Web sites are cataloged, and it should be a beginning point for Web-based, RIM-related research. Included here are international opportunities in RIM education, electronic issues of every flavor, ethics, jobs, information technology law, knowledge management, and privacy. At this writing, there are 35 links to document imaging, 223 links to RIM-related magazines, and even a link to the archives of Tasmania.
The Archives of the Records Management Listserv, http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/ recmgmt-l.html
After Zaben's site, one of the most useful sites on the Internet is the searchable archives of the records management listserv. This site is the repository of the discussions of records managers worldwide on many topics dating back to March 2000. If a question has been posed or a topic explored, the answers are there--often offered by some of the most respected people in the business.
A real gem of this listserv is RIM practitioner Peter Kurilecz's "Records and Information in the News" (RAIN) postings. RAIN is a records management and archives news service with current RIM news items on a wide variety of issues. A set of links, often posted daily, give a short description of what the news stories are about, and this allows users to choose which stories they want to pursue in more detail. By itself, this feature makes subscribing to the records management listserv worthwhile.
This archive is great for allowing novices to explore the expertise of seasoned RIM veterans, but there are three caveats: 1) Many messages in the database are marginally RIM-related, so a bit of patience is needed when navigating the data; 2) opinions of posters are just that: personal experience and observations; and 3) links to RAIN articles are usually offered free at the time of the posting but may require a subscription to the originating site after the initial posting.
Legal and Regulatory Issues
Legal Information Institute, www.law.cornell.edu
The Legal Information Institute of the law school at Cornell University is recognized as a valuable resource for legal research and is useful to RIM managers as they increasingly have to research laws and regulations that affect their polities, procedures, and retention practices. It is a jumping-off point for finding state, federal, and international laws, and it is an access point for commercial laws, intellectual property, and federal and state roles of evidence. Quick access is supplied, for example, to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. State codes are searchable by subject. These features make this a one-stop research point for users whose organizations do business in multiple states and who therefore must research the statutes and regulations of each of those states.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html
One of the most-used resources for records retention schedule references is the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The CFR constitutes the regulations for the United States' federal agencies that are published on an annual basis. It contains the regulatory rules for retention for a variety of industry records. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) at www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/ is a project that, while not the authorized version of the code, is a prototype for the near future. Also available at this site is the Federal Register, which is a daily publication of proposed regulations, including those with changes in records management issues.
RIM professionals in the United States need information on two major developments in the legal domain: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Information about HIPAA and other national standards to protect the privacy of health information can be found at the U.S. Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights site at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa. Information abut Sarbanes-Oxley, which is legislation creating greater oversight of financial disclosure, can be found at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission site at www.sec. gov/spotlight/sarbanes-oxley.htm.
National Archives and Records Management
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), www.archives. gov/records_management
Historically, NARA has been a leader from whose practices and training many RIM managers have benefited since the 1950s. NARA is a source for those interested in records management publications, policies, procedures, standards, and best practices--important resources not just for those in U.S. federal agencies but also in the broader profession. Specific areas of interest to non-government users include records management basics, white papers, for-fee and free publications, records policies, retention schedules, and a records management self-evaluation guideline.
National Archives of the Commonwealth, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
The National Archives of the United Kingdom has a useful site. Under "Services for Professionals," for example, there are useful white papers on records management, preservation and initiatives, and implementation of ISO 15489, which is the international records management standard.
National Archives of Australia, www.naa.gov.au
There is much here on RIM issues, including a large number of publications. Practices in preservation, digital records management, and storage standards are discussed at this site.
Also included is information about DIRKS (Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems), which provides practical guidance on managing business information and records and complies with the methodology recommended in the Australian standard upon which ISO 15489 was based.
Protection and Preservation
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), www.nfpa.org
NFPA makes available widely respected standards for the storage and maintenance of records in records centers and media vaults that can be purchased and downloaded in PDF format. Additionally, hundreds of publications about records-related aspects of fire management are available at the NFPA site. These resources are critical to planning for and managing vital records and archival collections.
Council on Library Information Resources, www.clir.org
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is a non-profit organization that makes grants, holds workshops (with speakers' presentations available), and sponsors research and publications of interest to records managers and archivists. These include publications on the management of digital assets and digital preservation and, specifically, a research-based publication entitled Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists.
Conservation OnLine, http://palimpsest. stanford.edu/
Conservation OnLine (COOL) is a project of Stanford University and is something like Zaben's site but with a focus on preservation, disaster prevention, and recovery. Under preservation and conservation are topics and links for areas such as digital imaging, mold and pest management, audio materials, and deacidification. Much of this material is research-based. This site also offers disaster plan links, case histories, and hundreds of resources for important issues.
Northeast Document Conservation Center, www.nedcc.org
The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) is a large, nonprofit conservation center in the United States whose mission is, in part, "to improve the preservation programs of libraries, archives, museums, and other historical and cultural organizations." NEDCC offers services in paper preservation, microfilming, and photograph conversion. One of its best-known services is "The School for Scanning" conference offered at cities across the United States, which brings together a group of well-known faculty to discuss the preservation of digital objects. NEDCC also published the Handbook for Digital Projects.
The Dead Media Project, www.deadmedia.org
Many records managers with a sense of history--and a sense of humor--are fascinated with older forms of media and technology, some of which, such as sending messages via pneumatic tubes, persist. Go here to see a Scopitone or a Dubroni. This site includes communications technologies such as radio, television, telephony, and typewriters and is also the place to explore interesting but failed forms of information storage and communication technology (e.g., carrier pigeons). "Information Technology in Ancient Athens" is particularly interesting. Those who discount the past might consider that some future information manager using an emergent information technology, like ion beam etching, will ask, "So, tell me. What was that magnetic media like?"
RIM professionals should look for additional sites of value to them, but those offered here are likely to be worth book marking. Gold, after all, is where you find it.
Raymond K. Cunningham Jr., CRM, CA, is Records and Information Manager for the University of Illinois Foundation, Urbana, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.