Welcome to my Weblog. This site is dedicated to my thoughts, views and understanding on anything that touches upon records management, archives management as well as information management in Malaysia. I believe in becoming a 'functional and meaningful' information professional, the term I refer to as person who can function in many ways possible for the betterment of this discipline. Interested parties, may reproduce or quote materials published with the condition that they are credited to Comments must be accompanied by names or pseudonyms. Anonymous postings and those containing profanities and obscenities will be rejected.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It is not like changing your clothes!

Assalamualaikum wrt wbt.....

Dear all....

Electronic Records Keeping System@Software (ERMS) is implemented and served to cater for the MAINTENANCE of records. It is not purchased, installed, used and implemented in organization wide operation at one time and when there is new software, we can just simply abandoned the existing one and installed the new is not like changing/throwing our clothes when we no longer need it.....

It is not that simple. We are talking about the the longevity of records over time, the continuous access of records of evident value and national heritage purposes..... we are concerned about organization top secret documents, classified records or even daily records created from online or semi online transactions. We are talking about personal records that should not be disclosed to others as well as records restricted by law and specific acts. Having one system of electronic record keeping and change it with another out of no concrete and highly justifiable reasons are detrimental to the management of authentic and reliable records that can be accessible over time. Changing the system is a prelude to leaking of critical information to others.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We do it later....

Dear all...

Record is created daily upon transactions, while decision is made, or when introducing policy. It is disseminated to others through various means; email, letters, memos, through bulletin or notice board. One record which is purposely created is then disseminated to many, it is such a one to many distribution. Hence it becomes many....every single person related to that particular records has that particular record sent to them in a manner proliferated through communication technology.

The question remains, which records is original? Which one do we need to keep? Is the attachment we received through email is the one that a person need to keep? or the one sent by the sender need to be kept?

Many times, we feel obliged to keep anything sent through email to our inbox. We keep almost everything, with one clear understanding "I WILL DEAL WITH IT LATER" or I WILL DISPOSE IT LATER or IT IS BETTER TO KEEP IT FOR NOW RATHER THAN SEARCHING IT LATER or OH! I AM NOT SURE TO KEEP OR TO DISPOSE.....I WILL DO IT LATER".....most of the time, we opt for the last one as we are not sure of whether to keep or not to keep. After some times, we have accumulated enough space in our email, storage area, file rooms, records center filled with records and files to the extent that we need more spaces. 

Our email's inbox is filled with all the emails from many years, our file room and storage also face similar situation. No space is enough for records. It keeps on taking up space.....WHY?

When an agency or an organization or a person does not do control process of records and salvaging the only available space and storage to keep records, when we don't decide and do appraisal of records that we need to determine which one is to be kept for long and which is to be disposed of IMMEDIATELY and AFTER SOMETIME, then we would be having problem of not enough space to keep our works, our documentary, our records and our valuable evidence of transactions......

We face overflow of records when space is scarce, more so it is EXPENSIVE to acquire at any given time.....this occur because we have the attitude of doing it later, thinking of that the need does not arises at the moment.

When we have the attitude of "WE DO IT LATER", we would face later the consequences of not having and doing it now.....hence, appraise the records according to records retention not practice the popular cultural norms and concept of "Mana tau....."-the attitude of thinking that make individual to rather keep everything on the belief that it could be useful later (tomorrow, next month, next year, next decade)

Monday, September 16, 2013

From Records Management to ERMS #3

Dear all.....

Assalamualaikum wrt wbt......and "Salam Sejahtera"!

Change is difficult to occur in organization with long history of establishment. It is cumbersome to change working culture and work processes when practice becomes habits. Old style is difficult to make way to the new one. However, for some reasons, old ways remains because they have already proven meaningful and effective even though it may not be efficient. Then, technology comes in. Like or not, we need to embrace it. It changes and paves the way how people do their work, how things should work, how organizational objective, vision, mission and work processes need to be achieved and how things are managed.

This occurrence takes place everywhere. The same goes to records management. Manually done, the work process in managing records were proven effective. However today, communication technology and information technology have changed the 'modus operandi' of how things work. Communication is rampant, therefore, transaction is also rampant. Business to business transactions, business to people, business to government, government to people transaction or vice versa becomes the main concern. People begin to talk about service delivery. People want high standard of service delivery more than before. Slow response, overdue and "red tapes" no longer the order of the day with the coming of information communication technology (ICT).

The above factors and recent development put stress and tighten burden to information professionals and records professionals. Accountability and efficiency remain the utmost concern. Service delivery need to be efficient, effective and fast while at the same time concern on the 'recordness' of the record remain critical. It was before the choice of procedures and work process that determined the effective ways of keeping the records while maintaining its integrity. Today, that same objectives remain with added priority; the choice of integrated electronic records management system that complied with all work processes, national acts, records and archive acts, fulfilling technology requirement and maintaining the integrity of the records which is created more in digital @ electronic format rather than paper format.

This new trend; the so called digital records or electronic records are born in that manner as compared to previous way where records were born in printed format. It is a huge challenge to people, staffs, employees to handle such 'born digital records'....

It is easier to create electronic records or electronic document, but difficult to manage it. The fact that we can create any document and records using ICT easily than before does not mean that it is easier to manage it. New challenge arises, 'on how to maintain integrity of the records on the basis of evidential value, its authenticity, accountability and integrity of electronic records. A major question arises "how are we going to manage electronic records similarly with its predecessor-paper records, while maintaining its authenticity, validity and integrity?" This is the major concern in managing digitally born records of today.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harnessing internal knowledge...

Assalamualaikum wrt wbt.....

Dear all....

In organization, that exists for so many years, accumulates and operates in big scope.....and all of a sudden, you are tasked to identify, collect, generate or create internal knowledge, within organization, regardless of form and sources or types, be it tacit and explicit knowledge.....where would you begin? Where would you start? How to go about it?

Maybe the organization that you worked with, is not that old, it is just started a few years back, have small operations, with few people, and you are tasked with similar things....where and how would you go about it?

The answer could be varied.....but to me, if I am tasked with, I would rather start with something documented, recorded, and within reach, because I don't know what exist already, therefore I need to know that earlier so that the CONTEXT by which event and things occurred could be derived.....however, my problem is to find those hard facts, events and history, achievement and successes, understanding transactions and its relevancy with the current operation of the agency that I work today....

How could I find those information and documented reports if those records are not managed properly from the very beginning? And more so when half of its existence, the reports and all critical documentations exist digitally, never been printed, kept in isolation in everyone's desktop computers and servers in the is there, but it is all scattered. Just imagine that now, your tasks are complicated by the current situation, while in the beginning it is a straight forward task of identifying, collecting and finding internal knowledge within your organization valued so it has gone beyond that. You have to search, classify, arrange, collect, identify, appraise and many other activities just in order to start with your primary tasks....

When records are not managed from the very beginning, the beginning of its creation, and this is what could happen to you similarly. In the very beginning, things look simple and manageable because physically transaction does not occur that frequent and records are not created that much....later, when operations and transactions hike up, the focus has shifted towards completing the transactions, while records remain neglected. Later on, things become out of control......the heat is on then!

Just imagine...we need to harness internal knowledge but we have to dig down dip and to start other things first before we can do our first tasks........harnessing internal knowledge! Just think again, who is supposed to handle such things? You, me, they they have necessary skills and knowledge to do? Records professionals are very much needed to manage records in organization from the very is cumbersome to call upon records professionals and seek their help when your records have already scattered around, messed up and here wire.....hence, dear all, please start early, please start from the very beginning....don't wait!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

Key issues to consider when implementing ERMS!

Remember that ERMS is different from far as National Archive Act of Malaysia is concerned.....

Key Issues to Consider

You should consider your operational and records management requirements, including the legal framework you operate in as a government agency, as well as your desired product features and agency-specific workflow in order to select an appropriate EDMS. To help with these decisions, form a team that includes representatives from your agency’s upper management, information technology group, records management team, and legal department as well as users and content creators.
Use the questions below to consider whether to pursue an EDMS, as well as how to select a vendor. Take a long-term approach in discussing these questions. Consider the types of documents and records you create now and which types you may create in the future. Remember to think of your records as needing to be managed along a continuum, rather than in discrete stages.

What are our current and future needs? What are the current and future needs of all involved stakeholders?

Do we want to use the EDMS just for workflow management or do we want to use it for records management as well?

Which records do we want to capture and manage using our EDMS? Will back-file records be included? Review general and agency specific retention schedules and dispose of documents the agency is not required to retain.
Which formats do we use now and which formats are we likely to use in the future?
What metadata do we need to include? Who will manage it?
How does the legal framework affect our discussion and decision? Think about how document acceptability issues affect future interaction with the legal community.
How do we use records now? How will we use records in the future? What records do we need to share and store?
Are the records are adequately organized and indexed to facilitate retrieval? Ensure that the records are filed properly and correct all mis-filings before system implementation.
How do our records fit into our current workflow? How may we need to modify our workflow to accommodate an EDMS? At which points in our workflow do we need to capture records? Consider how automation adds value to your current process.
How will we dispose of records in the EDMS? Will the system enable us to transfer, convert, and/or migrate records easily?
What are the roles and responsibilities of groups and individuals in terms of electronic records management?
What features are essential to us in a document management system? What features might be the most useful, but nonessential, elements of a document management system? What is our budget?
How will we mesh a new system with systems currently in place (e.g., e-mail systems, databases, word processing systems)?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Records Management leads to KM...

Dear all....

Records Management Practices: Overview

Over the years, records management practices have proven effective in most situations (Duffy, 2000). However, many organizations look into records as secondary compared to organizational core operations. It is difficult to change business practices when they have served well for many years. But for records management and knowledge management, business practices have an added dimension to their purpose (Duffy, 2000). The continued requirement to balance good records management practices for capturing organizational memory and the practices of knowledge management appears to be contradictory at first glance, but it is important for information managers and knowledge managers to collaborate in developing business practices that support both.
In an organizational context, there are enormous amount of tacit and explicit knowledge that can be gathered from a variety of sources internal and external to the organization. Figure 1 depicts the framework of sources for tacit and explicit knowledge that can be tapped by organizations. The following are the sources and their descriptions:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Is our ERMS software complied with Arkib Negara Malaysia and MAMPU's requirement

Dear all,

Implementing Electronic Records Management System (ERMS) in organization is not simply purchasing the on shelf ERMS software from vendors, install it and there you go. It is not similar to buying any application software useful for your work. In Malaysia, most organizations, most people misunderstood of implementing ERMS to simply purchase the software and then use it. Understanding what transpire in ERMS software is critical to the successful implementation of ERMS in your organization.

There are great challenges in managing e-records to users and professionals in records because of the nature that the e-records existed and created. e-Records is complex, created in different formats and types, very sensitive and not stable as compared to paper records. Due to complexity of the e-records, the methods and approaches of managing them are also different. These differences are on the basis of characteristics of e-records created, format and type of e-records, technicalities and technical complexities, technological platforms and others.

Managing e-Records require proper fulfillment of records management requirement in place before the roll out of the system. What does it means? It means that, using the available software does not necessarily ensure that e-Records is managed well, does not mean that the ERMS is in place in your organization. Prior to use the ERMS software, there is a need to do business process analysis of the current state of affairs as to identify readiness level of the organization to move into full pledged ERMS environment. Moreover, it is critical to identify that the current records system is 'healthy', file classification system is appropriately done, filing system is up to date, retention and disposal schedule is implemented and appraisal process is practiced though out the records system. If any of the component has defect, not appropriately practiced, or wrongly practiced, then corrective actions need to be taken first before ERMS could be deployed.

However, in some instance, organization could opt for deploying ERMS regardless of the current records system provided that it is not mix together and business process is controlled, managed and appropriately implemented. This require detail understanding of the current business process and introduce new business process should the former requires revamp due to many reasons.

At the end of the day, the critical aspect is to understand and check whether our ERMS software is compliance with Arkib Negara Malaysia and MAMPU's requirement, and whether selected ERMS software fulfilled the requirement of electronic records management in the context of organizational operation in Malaysia.

Government agencies are subject to government regulations and guidelines in the selection of an ERMS or EDMS. Federal guidelines are set forth in the MS2223: 1 and MS2223: 2 together with other Directives, Functional Requirement for ERMS as stated by Arkib Negara Malaysia. Bear in mind that even though an ERMS or EDMS may meet all the guidelines, it may not meet all the requirements for your agency. You must carefully examine if the ERMS or EDMS supports: 

  • Adequate security for the protection of not-public records.
  • Adequate access to public records.
  • Ability to capture and manage electronic records (if your ERMS has this function) in a way that meets legal requirements for parameters such as trustworthiness, completeness, accessibility, legal admissibility, and durability.
  • All electronic formats included in the official definition of a government record.
Each vendor’s ERMS or EDMS has different degrees of functionality. In an ERMS or EDMS designed for the private sector, the functions available may not allow you to meet your legal requirements. For example, an ERMS or EDMS designed for the private sector may be unable to:

  • Manage all the required file formats that constitute government records
  • Preserve the record’s required metadata
  • Ensure trustworthiness
  • Provide adequate security of not-public information and records
The following basic process for selecting, implementing, and managing an ERMS or EDMS should serve as a baseline for you to develop a more specific process for your agency. The basic process includes:
  • Needs assessment. The first stage is to work with internal stakeholders and understand your legal obligations to determine your unique needs. If you wish to use the ERMS or EDMS for records management, be sure that you identify trustworthiness, completeness, accessibility, legal admissibility, and durability as needs. Be sure to think of not only your immediate needs, but also your long-term requirements.
  • Vendor selection. You will need to carefully select an ERMS or EDMS vendor. You may need to issue a request for proposals that sets forth your legal requirements and vendor selection criteria. You may also contact other government agencies with similar systems. In short, you will want to gather as much information as you can about potential ERMS or EDMS as they are used in government agencies.
  • Implementation plan. You will need to work with the vendor and internal stakeholders to develop a comprehensive implementation plan. The plan should include a:
    • Technological implementation plan that outlines how and when the system will be installed and tested
    • User implementation plan that includes training and system rollout
    • Deployment. As detailed in your implementation plan, you will need to install and test the system, and train users.
    • Management. As you use the system, you will need to continue to manage and refine your use of the system.
Throughout each of these stages, you will need to document the entire process, including needs assessment, implementation, management, and refinement. You will also need to document the system itself, including hardware, software, operational procedures, and security measures to ensure records in the system remain trustworthy over time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Oral History: Preventing Loss of Corporate Memory

Dear all....

These are the slides I presented during the "Seminar Pembangunan Koleksi Tempatan dan Sejarah Lisan 2013" organized by Perbadanan Perpustakaan Awam Selangor (PPAS) in cooperation with MPAM-Majlis Pengarah Pengarah Perpustakaan Awam Malaysia at PPAS's Auditorium, Section 13, Shah Alam on 29-30 May 2013.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making records management do-able....

Dear all...

Few days back, I finished delivering series of talk in the records management training....and during the talk I was asked about classification and coding, I would like to share some insights with all of you about it.

In the organization that I delivered the talk, during the QnA session, a lot of questions were asked by the participants. One of the major issues that caught everybody's attention is the classification of  file and the coding system. Many got confused on what is the very basic purpose of having classification and coding system. As a matter of fact, it is meant for easy reference, easy retrieval and does not mean to complicate things, to show complex coding and classification. It is important to note, as I shared it with the audience that, it is supposed to be precise and simple, easily retrievable and easily accessed. It helps the document to be easily filed, it also helps staffs to find the files and monitor movement of files or even to make cross reference. The staffs and users in the organization are the one who understand it, it does not mean for outsiders. In short, the coding or numbering system represent the classification of records based on subjects and titles. Bear in mind that, coding system (the numbering system you applied and gave to files and document) is not a PASSWORD.....

I noted that this ABC organization have varied styles of coding system. It is not standardized. I said to them, you and your colleagues will have problem in the near future when accessing, tracing, referencing, retrieving files and document or even to make appraisal and prepare retention schedule. Records management practices are applied not to burden but to facilitate the 2Es (economy and efficiency) time, resources and space!

I said to them the greatest challenge in records management is making it DO-ABLE! Helping us in completing the tasks in a very efficient and economic manner, not to burden and complicate things! To do so, a lot of training, exposure on how to do, the do's and the don'ts must be acquired by staffs. Records Management cannot run by itself when staffs do not understand the concept, practicality of records management.

I simply said to practical!