Sunday, January 13, 2008

GARP: Generally Accepted Records Principles

A basic financial accounting text will reveal two immediate items of importance: accounting is a game of logic and accounting is based on records. The discipline of accounting is the analysis and application of records content to determine an entity's strength. The tenets of the profession are based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are rules and jargon that govern the calculation of a particular entity's value. Similarly, in records management we have essential rules to establish the length of time at which we should retain content for the intellectual health of the organization (records are assets). I understand RIM theory in the following manner:

1. Establishing a Records Program
2. The Records Policy
3. The Records Inventory
4. The File Plan
5. The Retention Schedule
6. Managing Active Records
7. Managing Inactive Records
8. Managing the Program
9. Auditing the Program

This is our foundation for Generally Accepted Records Principles (GARP). Generally Accepted Records Principles are the tenets records colleagues agree to be universally true and influence the decisions we make daily. We establish rules and jargon to declare the inherent beliefs of our own new records management. Please understand: I do not begrudge Records colleagues their need for specializations (ex. legal records management). The above principles are more...broadly based. However, we must decide whether content or technology will rule. The skill sets for the twenty-first century will be derived once we acknowledge that the integration of general records management into partnered disciplines is of great interest. We must discuss openly whether it is possible for an electronic record to be vital if it is copied in multiple locations. We must decide the true definition of compliance. We must ensure the work we've accomplished in the past 100 years will survive to create a strong interdisciplinary member of the corporate team in the form of a new records manager.

Originally published in the ARMAdilla, July 2005.


David W said...

Ms. Dionne;

I have recently discovered your blog, and have enjoyed your comments regarding RIM practices. Your outline of RIM theory is very helpful, and I am interested in learning more about each, specifically item 4. - The File Plan. Can you tell me what information resources are avaialable for guiding me through the development process and which lists the various components / elements of an effective File Plan?
I look forward to receiving your reply.

Mimi Dionne, MLIS, CRM, CDIA+, CA, erms, ermp, ecms, ecmp said...

How do you do?

I would always recommend Robek, Brown & Stephens. I would also recommend William Saffady's Records and Information Management. If you can find it, I recommend Benedon's book Records Management. It is dated (1969), but the hard copy management is relevant still.

Let me know if I can help you further.


David W said...

Thanks for the reply - my organization is actually pretty sophisticated with records imaging and ECM; my supervisor built the internal Imaging group from scratch, and now runs the ECM, and I have his old job supervising the scanning and image processing. Our Director seems to want to undertake a wide-ranging initiative with organizational records, and is focusing on retention & disposition practices, & hardcopy file management; but first we need support from the CEO, hence a bottom-up overview that explains how we do things, why we do it, and what we need to improve.

Thanks again, Ms. Dionne - I will be sure to review the sources you cite; thank you also for devoting so much time and effort towards the creation of a substantive online network for records professionals. It's been helpful. - David Walker -

Mimi Dionne, MLIS, CRM, CDIA+, CA, erms, ermp, ecms, ecmp said...

David, I reread my recommendation to you and based on rereading my post on GARP 4, I'm confident there's more to share with you. I'm in my office everyday, literally, so give me a call at 713.375.5412. I have more to recommend to you based on the work you're charged to do and based on my experience of what works and what doesn't. Read GARP 4 post--you'll see what I mean.

David W said...

Sounds great - I work for a financial institution, so we're closed today for MLK observance, but I will contact you tomorrow (01-22-08) and go into a little more detail about what we're trying to achieve. I've been working on an overview for the past week-and-a-half, and postponed forwarding a report last Friday because I'm still pretty thin on index-coding strategies; we use automated bar-coding as a prep-step to imaging, but to build a classification scheme we need more in-depth codes than just Dept.-based, alpha- abbreviations & 3-digit numerical-assignments used now. I'd like to build codes that are fully-compatible with our metadata, but I could use a little guidance in doing that.
Thanks again for your generosity with both your time and attention - I very much look forward to discussing these issues with you, and learning more about the "RIMnant" network.
- David Walker-