Mapping Records Management Practices: Examining the records management practices in the Government of Canada digital landscape

Trudi Wright

Abstract

This paper is based on the researcher’s doctoral research, focusing on records management practices within the Government of Canada in the digital environment. Records management practices indicate all kinds of activities conducted to make records available and accessible at organizations. This definition includes the records users’ capability to manage records throughout the records life cycle (Marchand et al., 2001). Problems occur with technology change and advancement, and organizations have struggled to accept new technology to support records management practices. To accommodate the use of new technology related to records management, records management practices have to change accordingly. These changes make records management professionals aware of multiple ways in which records are created, managed and preserved in the changing records environments which are created through the combination of practices, polices and technology in managing records and information (Correia and Wilson, 2001). Although GoC continued to promote technical solutions, records management practices at GoC are not simply improved.

Researchers (Zwarich, 2014; Jordan and de Stricker, 2013) suggest that the records management practices within the GoC remain problematic. In 2012, the Government of Canada (GoC) announced a strategy to manage Government of Canada Documents (GCDOCs) System, a government-wide solution for managing enterprise records management (ERM) at GoC (Fradette and Derochers, 2015). The GCDOCs is a digital environment where Canadian federal agencies manage electronic records throughout the records lifecycle, while the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) encourages secure access control and collaboration. In addition, in 2015, an audit of recordkeeping transformation within the Government of Canada focused on “the completion of the RKTS, compliance with the TB Directive on Recordkeeping, awareness and training, the identification of records of business value,recordkeeping accountabilities, and recordkeeping applications and tools”(Government of Canada, 2015). The audit report indicated a need for improvement in several areas, including information management training and awareness.

The data for this paper was collected via direct interview questions, and open discussion. The interviews provided data regarding: 1) records management practices of records users within the Government of Canada, as described by Records Management Professionals; 2) attitudes towards managing records in a digital landscape; 3) trust in the reliability and accountability of electronic records. Additionally, the interviews will include interviewees’ experiences with best practices of implementing ERMS and technical innovation to ensure efficient records management practices.

This paper presents a segment of the researcher’s doctoral dissertation. The results of this research will expand on the literature on how to address challenges in managing compliance in records management practices, particularly in the public service, in digital landscapes. Given the current drive to support open government initiatives, it is critical that information management professionals are prepared to navigate the digital environment.

References

Correia, Z. and Wilson, T.D. (2001). Factors influencing environmental scanning in the organizational context. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 7(1). http://InformationR.net/ir/7- 1/paper121.html
Fradette, S. and Derochers, P. (2015). GCDOCS: The Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS) of the Government of Canada. Association of Public Sector Information Professionals Developing Professionalism in Informatics. http://www.dpi-canada.com/sites/default/files/jan2015.pdf
Jordan, I. and de Stricker, U. (2013). Information Management in the Canadian Federal Government: Principles, Practices and the Role of Information Professionals. 45 p. http://curve.carleton.ca/facultyresearch/27422 (Accessed June 5, 2015).
Marchand, D., Kettinger, W., & Rollins, J. (2001). Information orientation: The link to business performance. New York: Oxford University Press.
Government of Canada (2015). Audit of Recordkeeping Transformation. http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/index.asp?lang=eng&page=information&sub=publications&doc=audit-verif24/audit-verif24-
Zwarich, N. (2014). Policies and Practices for E-mail Management at the Canadian Government (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Theses.

Bio

Trudi Wright is a doctoral candidate at the School of Information Studies, McGill University, and works as a records management professional at the District School Board of Niagara. Her doctoral research focuses on the impact of information culture on records management practices, and the use of records management technology. In addition, Trudi has a special interest in implementation best practices for ECM, dynamic technology inter-discipline collaboration, and the ways in which the practical application of theory are affected by technology, and challenges to privacy management. She is a keen educator, with experience in designing and delivering in-class and web-based training in university and college programs. Trudi is also a certified records manager, and her research is largely guided by her work as an information professional. Trudi is married with one daughter, and lives in the beautiful Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada.