Managing Public Sector Electronic Records

Mass Digitization of public Records requires ‘new records management paradigm shift’

Everyday, thousands (if not millions) of electronic documents are created in public offices. Transactions are initiated, managed and sometimes completed without a single printed paper rolling down the printer. The history (or call it evidence) of these transactions is stored in personal computers, emails and portable devices. Sometimes (rarely), these records find there way to a shareware platform or a central records archiving repository. In a matter of time, some of these records may get lost. Forever!

The situation was not like this a few years ago. All transactions were paper-based, and the stamp met the pad very regularly. Pens rolled making signatures and the work of the records manager was laborious. Files and Document boxes were part of regular supplies requisition and electronic records were not regarded as ‘true records’. Now they are!

Records Management in the Public Sector is never an easy task. More so if the records are electronic. This is mainly because of loose policy environment or non-existent policies in most countries, especially in Africa. Most countries in Africa do not have suffiecient policy environment that address the entire lifecycle of electronic records. It is important to note that most countries in Africa are making progress in terms of ICT policy regulations and laws. However, ICT policies are not comprehensive enough and neither do they address the issues of public electronic records.

What needs to be done? I will be researching on this issue in the coming days. Watch out for the findings here.

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Easing Information Management