Information Body of Knowledge

Records Management

Records Management Definition

Records Management is the professional field dedicated to information that rises to the level of importance that requires ongoing maintenance, whether it be for evidentiary or specific business purposes. These pieces of information are termed "Records" and cannot be modified or changed. Records Managers are responsible for the receipt, distribution, maintenance, control, protection, and disposition of Records. Records Management is the parent category of both Electronic Records Management and Traditional Records Management, as the two have increasingly divergent practices. Records Management is a sub-category of Information Management.

InfoBOK v1.0

Records Management Key Points

  1. Establishes high-level practices and policies that apply to both electronic Records and traditional Records.
  2. Parent category to both Electronic Records Management and Traditional Records Management, both of which build upon standards established by Records Management.
  3. Records Management is comprised of both Electronic and Traditional Records Management for electronic formats and paper formats respectively. The two have strong similarities but diverge because of the specificities of managing physical items as opposed to digital items.
  4. Records Management includes the entire lifecycle of the Record.
  5. Records Management begins managing a piece of information once it is declared a Record declaration or if it is initially created as a Record.
  6. Records Management concludes managing a piece of information when the Record is disposed or transferred to Archiving.

Records Management Analysis

Records Management exists to ensure that information of importance is retained and properly managed throughout its’ lifecycle. Information that rises to the importance of documentary proof of a transaction or an event is designated (or “declared”) a Record.

Records Management is a discipline that, by its’ actions, exists to reduce organizational risk. Records Management is a sub-discipline of Information Management and should be the tactical execution of a Records strategy. That Records Strategy should be termed “Records Governance” but that term does not exist in most organizations and because it doesn’t exist, most Records Management programs are overscoped, they include both tactics as well as the strategy guiding those tactics. In our view, this has stunted that maturity of the discipline of Records Management and adding complexity to what should be a relatively straightforward discipline within the Information Profession.

With the confusion of overscoping, many Records Managers have been overscoped yet further and often are tasked with the goals of Information Management in addition to their role as a Records Manager. In fact, the term, Records & Information Management is now in frequent use to justify this overscoping.

It is our hope that in the future, Records Management and Records Governance can be developed into two separate yet coexisting roles. Records Governance should be focused on strategy while Records Management focuses on tactics. Until then, confusion is likely to continue in the field of Records Management.

Additional Resources

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Information Coalition Resources on Records Management

Some resources are available only to Professional Members or Standard Members (free).

The Records Perspective – Aligning Information Governance and Records

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Join Todd Dietrich (BDO), John Krysa (ICRM), and Angela Watt (City of Spruce Grove) for an interactive discussion on how to align Records and Information Management with Information Governance. Using the kaleidoscope of experiences, they will discuss how both concepts are defined, and how to use that to get corporate buy-in to move the needle on your strategies. Bring your own ways of defining the scope because this will be a lively discussion where you a sure to learn different perspectives!

Update on ICRM Certifications and Specialty Designations

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Update on ICRM Certifications and Specialty Designations: What They Are and How to Pursue Them (John Krysa).

Defensible Disposition: A Cohesive Strategy (MacDonald / Hunter, In Conjunction with the Law Firm IG Symposium)

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Defensible disposition is a critical component to managing costs and risk, and a key element of law firm IG procedures. Disposition initiatives have historically been challenging for law firms to undertake. However, many firms have had to take a more active step forward to execute their retention programs. This session will discuss the various considerations and strategy for implementing and executing a disposition program, including pitfalls, opportunities and regulatory and client considerations and how to demonstrate ROI.

Ron Layel: Collaboration Among Information Management Professions (A Modest Proposal For A Unified Social Causes Agenda)

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“Present ideas for greater collaboration among various Information Management professional disciples and the associations that represent them. Will focus on common causes/interests of all (IT, RIM, Archives, Librarians, etc.) that can benefit society as a whole. These overarching, unifying agenda themes/causes may include:

  • improved development/education of next generation IM professionals;
  • Better management. and utilization of Information assets and IM/IG principles, practices and technologies to increase organizational effectiveness;
  • Digital Preservation – ensuring future access to historical and other long-term valued information;
  • Ensuring/enhancing openness/transparency of public organizations’ activities to hold top officials accountable.

FOIA History & Future (The Freedom of Information Act On Its’ 50th Anniversary)

Journalist Phil Eil, takes us through on this, the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, an exploration of the history and future of FOIA through some incredible artifacts with a little John Lennon and the current threats to FOIA in the digital age. Joining him is Information Coalition President Nick Inglis in this unique discussion format.

Records Disposition: Challenges & Opportunities – Painting A House (Andrew Keller)

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Disposition is a process that poses many challenges. Records are dispersed in many disparate systems and storage mechanisms. There is a lack of central control which makes the process complex and highly manual. The process to obtain appropriate reviews, approvals, exceptions, and sign-offs is either nonexistent or overly burdensome. In this session, we will highlight the opportunities for cost saving and risk reduction through a defensible disposition program.

Cheryl McKinnon – Top Trends In Information Governance

To keep up with soaring volumes of information, a strong Information Governance program is no longer a nice-to-have: It’s a must have. Hear expert insights into the current state of information management, including investment priorities, technology adoption trends, and the top challenges facing enterprise decision-makers from #InfoGov16 keynote and Forrester analyst Cheryl McKinnon as she shares findings from Forrester’s latest recent research in records management, information governance, enterprise content management (ECM) and archiving trends.

Change Management: Transforming Chaos – Laurie Fischer

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Change permeates and envelopes us, and is the one constant in our lives. Think of all the workplace changes in just the past few years related to how we create, use, share, retain, protect and dispose of information. Our ever-increasing need to collaborate and communicate, to analyze and innovate, and to “be mobile” has led to sometimes massive change to existing IG-enabling technologies as well as new solutions that enable us to attain our objectives.

Since change is inevitable, then why is the lack of managing that change the primary reason IG projects fail? Some organizations simply equate a training plan to a change management plan, but change management is so much more than training!

In this session, we’ll investigate the winning formula for successful integration of change into the organization – whether it’s a change in information governance roles and responsibilities, process and procedures and / or technology. Incorporating key change management principles supports the successful adoption of change by applying a structured framework of methods, tools and processes. We’ll also share real-life examples of successful change management efforts, as well as epic failures.


  • Workplace trends that necessitate change
  • Ignoring change management leads to failure
  • Change management framework as a key to success

What You Need to Know About PDF – Duff Johnson, PDF Association

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PDF is a foundational technology in the modern world of digital documents. PDF documents are everywhere, in almost every corner of every industry.

This session informs attendees about the information governance-related features of PDF, including the essential attributes of the format, standardization, governmental and industry adoption, and how PDF meets characteristic IG needs and use-cases such as metadata, authenticity, privacy, security and more.


  • PDF is unmatched in its ability to function as the electronic document of record.
  • PDF is accepted, growing… and there’s no alternative on the horizon.
  • PDF includes features and capabilities that bear on some of the most vexing problems affecting IG, but few know of or implement these things.

Nick Inglis – “The World Is Round: How To Meet The Challenges of the New World of Information”

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Taking pages from history, Inglis, President of the Information Coalition, shares the stories of Galileo Galilei and A&P Supermarkets to illustrate lessons for Records Management. Inglis shows that there are really only 6 ways to move forward with Records Management into the future and helps participants understand how to evaluate each of those methods for viability in their organization.

Format: Presentation & Discussion (featuring Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Sandra Serkes, Steve Weissman, and Nick Inglis)

The Information Governance Conference 2018