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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Welcome to the first issue of 2008, which contains an interesting mix of thought provoking contributions, findings from research into practice and reviews of a range of different resources.
What does the three-letter acronym SOA mean to you? In the UK many would think of the Society of Archivists but no doubt there are other “translations”. In our opinion piece, from a well-known and highly respected records professional, it refers to Service Oriented Architectures. If this concept is new to you then Barbara Reed’s article is a must-read, and even if you know something about service oriented architectures I urge you to read what Barbara has to say. Her name is synonymous with pioneering developments. Associated with the records continuum model and the development of the first national, and then international, standard on records management she is always “thinking ahead”. Her ability to continue to scan the horizon on the road ahead is not only admirable but also invaluable and considering something new is precisely what she does superbly well in her opinion piece.
Our five articles are different angles on either electronic document and records management systems (ERMS) or archives and archivists. Johanna Gunnlaugsdottir examines how to successfully implement an ERMS based on research conducted with a number of organizations in Iceland. The lessons learned, however, seem likely to be more widely applicable and not necessarily particular to that geographic location. Anyone interested or involved in implementing a new electronic records management system, of any type, and/or managing chance in the context of records management will find Joanna’s article interesting and informative.
The second article on ERMS is also about implementation, this time in Pakistan. Helle Zinner Henriksen and Kim Viborg Andersen of the Department of Informatics at the Copenhagen Business School, also share lessons learned, this time from a move from a manual to an IT system for case handling, in local government in the Punjabi province of Pakistan. They highlight the implications of implementing an ERMS in an environment that is unfamiliar with the features of such a system. Although ERMS implementation has been limited it has led to increased efficiency and effectiveness, and these authors also believe the IT implementation challenges are universal rather than dependent on the nature of the country.
The third and final article on ERMS is from another well-known records professional, Philip Jones. Drawing on extensive experience of ERMS implementation in his local government sector organization, he explores the use of folders to organise and manage groups of documents and records. Staffordshire County Council’s ERMS does not employ folders, instead users associate a document with a level in the functional business classification scheme when they save it and metadata requirements are embedded within the classification scheme. Philip provokes thought about how we can meet both organizational and user needs by developing “virtual” folders. A win-win situation?
The final two articles consider archives and archivists. Carl Newton offers a fascinating view on the state of music archives in the UK. Drawing on his extensive personal experience, including being secretary of the Elgar Society which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2007, he offers an analysis of what has and has not worked and what is needed if such archives are to survive. The lessons learned here are equally applicable to other “third sector” (i.e. voluntary) archives.
Last, but by no means least, James Currall and Michael Moss from Glasgow University, ask “we are archivists but are we ok?”. This must be the first time an article in the journal has started with a song, and a well-known Monty Python song at that! The journal can hardly be described as boring or conventional! The thrust of this article is to challenge what is needed in terms of principles and practice for the e-environment, in particular in terms of professional training for archivists and records managers. They challenge us educators to align curricula with contemporary needs and to recognise that partnership with other professionals, particularly technology partners, is vital.
In different ways the contributions in this issue are thought provoking and challenging – precisely what we are looking for as an Editorial Board on a key UK records management journal. But this issue does not end there; we also have five reviews.
Susannah Hanlon reviews two very different books, both relevant to her specializations – copyright and business models. Jackie Urwin, a management specialist, reviews a new edition of book on change management – a topic of particular interest to records managers. Chris Milne, who wrote the opinion piece in the last issue of the Records Management Journal, reviews a book on information architecture. And Russell Joyce reviews a different kind of resource, a witness seminar conference, held recently in Newcastle and organized by the records management research team in my own University.
I hope you enjoy the content of this issue, due for publication on 29 February 2008 – yes it is a leap year! So, in addition to people celebrating birthdays on the actual birth day, and various leap year traditions being observed, I hope we see our profession make further leaps and bounds in tackling some of the significant challenges that we face. A belated “happy new (leap) year.”
Julie McLeodNorthumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK