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Standards drive the profession worldwide. (In focus: a message from the editors).

The right to drive necessitates rules for the road. Likewise, managing records and information requires standards. Both activities are significant responsibilities and require the proper training, experience, and knowledge. Both driving laws and RIM standards are evolving constantly to suit their current environments. Neither is perfect, so changes and additions must be made to ensure that they continue to meet their stated and intended purposes. In the end, both come down to a simple tenet: the rules of the road are set for the good of society and RIM rules are established for the good of the organization. This is true worldwide, no matter where that driver or RIM program might exist.

In this issue of The Information Management Journal, we look at some of today's critical standards, how they affect RIM, and what they require of organizations and RIM professionals. For example, Bob McLean takes a look at "The ISO 15489 Imperative" and the requirements of this global standard. In her article, "Everything You Wanted to Know About DoD 5015.2," Julie Gable sheds some much-needed light on this U.S. standard for electronic records management software applications that is not well understood in the industry.

Some standards are understood but not agreed upon. The NFPA 232 revision, centering on compartmentalizing records centers, currently is being hotly contested. "Records Under Fire" examines the pros and cons of compartmentalization.

This issue also examines some hot topics that will require new standards in the near future. For example, Bob Johnson and Willie Geiser's article, "A Brave New World," discusses the need to implement a prudent information destruction program--something that every organization worldwide should be doing. In "Information Preservation: Changing Roles," Charles E. Arp and Joseph C. Dickman explain how to manage and maintain the reliability of electronic records, a topic that will only become more important as the world continues to move increasing volumes of records into digital databases.

Due to their importance to the integrity of RIM and its professionals in courtrooms and elsewhere, document destruction and electronic records programs undoubtedly will require more standardization in the coming years. Currently, ARMA International's Standards Records Retention Task Force is revising ARMA's retention program guideline, which addresses document disposition and destruction. The revision of Developing and Operating a Records Retention Program is on its way to becoming a standard under the title, Records Retention for Information Resources and Assets.

Love them or hate them, standards are a permanent fixture of the RIM environment. Much like driving laws, RIM standards are here to stay. The best that we can do as a profession is to live with them.

Become educated about the standards that affect your job every day, and educate others. Get involved in your local or national standards development committees. Or, at the very least, when standards drafts come up for public review and comment, by all means comment on them. You will not have any say in setting the highway speed limits, but you can and should make your voice heard about the standards that affect your job and profession.

A good place to start is the standards page on ARMA International's Web site. Visit
COPYRIGHT 2002 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
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Publication:Information Management Journal
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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