Records Life Cycle
= Traditional Definition =
Traditionally, Records Life Cycle refers to the following stages of a records "life span:" from its creation to its preservation (in an Archives) or disposal:
The records management phase, which consists of
* creation or receipt of information in the form of records,
* classification of the records or their information in some logical system,
* maintenance and use of the records, and
* their disposition through destruction or transfer to an archives.
This is then followed by a second, archival phase consisting of
* selection/acquisition of the records by an archives,
* description of the records in inventories, finding aids, and the like,
* preservation of the records or, perhaps, the information in the records, and
* reference and use of the information by researchers and scholars.
Richard Berner of the University of Washington proposed asingle records management-archives goal: "responsible records use and administrationleading to either authorized destruction or archival preservation and administration."
The professions of records management and archives, while distinct, surely are workingtowards the same objective: the effective management of recorded information throughall stages of the continuum, from creation to disposal. Effective management of recordedinformation (what Berner calls "responsible records use and administration") requiresongoing cooperative interaction between the records manager and the archivist in orderto:
* ensure the creation of the right records, containing the right information, in the right format;
* organize the records and analyze their content and significance to facilitate their availability;
* make them available promptly to those (administrators and researchers alike) who have a right and a requirement to see them;
* systematically dispose of records that are no longer required; and
* protect and preserve the information for as long as it may be needed (if necessary, forever).
Post Custodial Theory of Archives
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