THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES • New information management professions emerging from the convergence of information technologies (IT) • How the convergence of IT and information management professions creates greater insight by each group into the work of the other • Why an understanding of RIM and IT terminology is crucial to managing records in electronic form

rrival of the year 2000 is only one of many inducements for the information professions to look both backward and forward. Another is information technology (IT), which has been changing the nature of information creation, publication, and communication for almost five decades. In so doing, IT is creating changes for both


information professionals and the society in which they find themselves. The ubiquitous nature of IT and its fast development cycles have created confusion about the boundaries of specific professions and even their very nature. It has also created a need for reflection and analysis of the professions themselves. Developments in today’s IT spectrum (e.g., intranets, push technologies, and information filtering) have profound social implications, suggesting that IT has moved beyond data management within organizations and now influences the ways in which organizational communication takes place. This in turn affects the nature and fabric of societies and organizations, predicated as they increasingly are upon their information flows. IT no longer handles raw data, or indeed, just information. IT systems are now being developed which address the most intangible and unquantifiable – yet probably the most valuable – resource of all: knowledge. Information and its dimensions are perceived and dealt with differently by IT specialists, librarians,

archivists, records managers, and corporate information systems staff. While superficially a clear distinction is understood about the nature and work of each of these professions, members of each have long experienced conflicts with one another and with management: clashes of interest, overlapping duties, lack of mutual acknowledgment, lack of consultation, and other turf wars. There are, of course, differences in education and training, differences that serve to exaggerate the contrasts rather than clarify the similarities between the various groups of information workers. Relationships between interested parties have ranged from indifference to intolerance to outright hostility on occasion. However, much of the confusion about how these bodies deal with information seems to stem from semantic confusion surrounding the terms data, information, knowledge, record, and document.

IT As an Agent of Change
Ironically, convergence is probably the term that most describes the changes in IT. Various aspects of IT seem to be converging and becoming


and document management (paper and electronic) slips though the cracks with no assigned management accountability. people and facilities. RM is thriving. typically. blurring distinctions among visual. Multifunctional services such as the Internet with its array of functions (e. It is also. print. the people who handled information were better acquainted with data processing. They lacked a holistic view of corporate information 6 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . audio. It is the unifying of the professions and professional objectives or functions – as opposed to the continuing schismatic nature of specialization. telephony. or divergence. Cox (1997) agrees that convergence in IT through such unification..g. although not allowing for internal politics and overlaps: There are three significant classes of information within an organization: data. as well as emergence of new IM disciplines: Convergence in the information professions is fairly easy to characterize. cook. Or another way to describe it is the traditional records management profession is rapidly metamorphosing into RIM (records and information management). This in turn creates a commonness of purpose. and newsgroups) causes changes as well in the human functions or activities it affects. friend. They were also ignorant of the fact that decisions were often based on insufficient information. This illustrates that. As a contributor to the electronic listserve RECMGMT stated. One reason for this lack of understanding is that. This conjunction of events. In this scenario. there has been. According to Darnton (1992): A glaring omission from the organizational charts of most enterprises is responsibility for the enterprise’s overall information needs. just as it is for other enterprise assets such as cash. none of the debates on this topic consider that technology itself can supplant any of these groups of information professions. organizations were generally unaware of the cost of the information they were producing. Organizations were also oblivious to the fact that poorly arranged and documented information was costing a substantial amount in storage and staff costs. and student – perhaps all in one day and sometimes simultaneously. and convergence in media as everything becomes digital. RIM is the convergence of traditional records management disciplines and the IT profession. Interestingly. a general ignorance of the value and importance of information within the organization. activities. and multimedia documents. World Wide Web. Documents are records and yes.integrated or concatenated. This view is supported by the underlying belief that technology itself neither produces. Will IT. until very recently. the merging of professional objectives is a result of IT.Because knowledge and information are key assets in any enterprise. and roles is even evident in our daily lives. accountancy. We are now witnessing a profound change in the way in which organizations perceive. they are being managed. each business unit is responsible for their correct use. evaluates. together with its business processes. chauffeur. e-mail. lead to a similar convergence among the various disciplines that can be described as the information professions? Or will even greater clarity and distinctions be identified among these various roles? Some information professionals may not view this as a problem. documents and published information. until very recently.. nor adds meaning to information.. We act in a range of various roles – parent. Yet it is critical to look at the information flows of the enterprise. librarians are responsible for published information management. The emphasis in the dialogue focuses on how information professions can deal with such changes and how IT can be usefully integrated into their work. which means a less clear distinction between professions in their activities and functions. understands. a conjunction of activities and tasks. mathematics. We find confluence of disciplines. teacher. Daum (1997) explains the working categorization of functions within organizations. in fact. or engineering than with information management. they may find their positions enhanced and strengthened by IT. results in the convergence of the information management professions. as an agent of change. understand. “RM is dying. e-commerce. the harnessing of technology in particular settings to improve or to create new activities.” This is not a solitary view. and manage their information. Such discussion about the information professions is quite important because these professions have become distinguishing characteristics of our information age. What you will find in most organizations is that technologists are responsible for data management. However. but often with little overall planning and without standard records management tools.

Beyond a wrestling with the identification of concepts unique to records management. the retrieval of existing information. Harris (1996) provides an intriguing. corporate librarians. as is illustrated by an exchange that took place on the records management electronic listserve. you will see that both have dealings with cognitive processes…In other words… they are telling us that there is a difference. Kennedy and Schauder (1998) wrote: In addition to their own distinct body of knowledge. the sales figures for a certain month or the height of a certain building. the records management and archives disciplines draw on the knowledge and skills of related fields. a coordinated approach to the work done by various information workers in the organization is essential. understand. legitimately. Data can be independent of context. the number 42) will have much meaning except where it The Need for Definition A need for clarity of terminology seems to be required. but there is no difference… Recently an academic described the word knowledge as a new exciting word to replace the word information. Information has a substance and a purpose. There is now clear recognition of the value of information. Typically. It is rare that a fact on its own (e.. Now records managers face problems such as the distinctions between records and documents. for example. These were seen as two entirely separate activities. Records managers have been around since the earliest days of the Mesopotamian civilization. data are used in context with one another or with other details in order to convey full meaning and to be useful. the storage of important information. in enough quantity forms knowledge.g. They also must decide how much they should know about IT. Data can easily be assessed with regard to their accuracy. and manage their information. assets. and records managers. However. which comes from the information science school…If you look underneath the definitions of information and knowledge. expertise. Knowledge is the combination of information. legal studies. it becomes knowledge. which is generally factual and quantifiable. This group or team includes information technology support staff. Shifting Paradigms We are now witnessing a profound change in the way in which organizations perceive. subsequently. It must be sorted. systems analysis and information technology. and the disposal of redundant information. comes from the management school THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 7 . There was a lack of direct communication between those responsible for information handling and those who determined corporate objectives and policy. information. such as management. There is also greater awareness of the cost of not getting the right information to the right person at the right time. resources or maybe all of these?” to which someone replied “I hate to disappoint you but there is no agreed definition to knowledge management…Knowledge management. and only in their accumulated and relative form can they become information. knowledge managers. Placing records management within the broader area of information management is an important point and one to which we will return. information science. there is growing concern among records managers about their competency and the skills required to handle records in electronic form. It is generally agreed that a datum is a single. When data is processed in this manner. and history. discrete element. One individual wrote: “I’m becoming more confused by the hour…I still can not obtain a definition of ‘knowledge management’ that is consistent. Records management may also be viewed in the context of the broader field of information. information does not have meaning [sic]. and whether an electronic document system can in fact manage records suitably and as opposed to information management. The records and information profession has drawn theory from a variety of related fields. analyzed and interpreted. librarianship. Managing information was frequently interpreted as merely having the appropriate information technology. way of distinguishing among data.resources. what do all of these words mean? Data A commonly encountered definition of data describes it as a building block of information which. but are they becoming more central to business effectiveness? Jobs and levels of responsibility are changing as a result of the introduction of IT (in the work domain in particular) to organizations with groupware such as Lotus Notes and PC Docs and with various electronic document management packages. if enigmatic. context and experience. records management seemed clearer.” So. the creation of new information. When information is combined with context and experience. grouped. and knowledge: The lowest level of known facts is data. it becomes information. privacy and corporate ownership. Does it deal with corporate knowledge. from what I have been reading. systems analysts and programmers. This is similar to the challenges faced by librarians when online searching of bibliographic databases became widespread in the 1980s and various media other than books began appearing on library shelves. In a paper-based world. or how to manage information (as opposed to managing data). Data has [sic] no intrinsic meaning. To fully reap the benefits of this change. the information life cycle.

context and interpretation are important aspects of information. The following consist of or depend on 8 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . a context. and distributing information and then using it to make better business decisions will enjoy a competitive edge in achieving success in their field. This is a familiar topic for the information scientists but is often found disturbing by data processing staff with a conventional computer science background. comprehensiveness. It is preferable to have an educated. likewise. whether in countries or in organizations. It is therefore important to reach some understanding of the significance of information for the enterprise. and vocabulary all play a role in increasing the complexity of a system that seeks to retrieve and use information. or an understandable relationship among data. since complete recall and precision are easily obtained in data retrieval systems.. it must generate. This has great implications for the design and use of a data retrieval system. and validity It is preferable to have an educated. which is. information. As Ashford and Willett (1988) point out: The achievement of both high recall and high precision is a popular target for information science research but may in fact be not only pragmatically but also theoretically unachievable. While technology may have made it easier to gather and store large amounts of data. Because information uses language. implies understanding. Whatever else an organization may do. designing. Information. relevance. While data can often be expressed simply as numbers. processing. This rather narrow interpretation of information has arisen directly out of the emphasis on internally generated data handled by internal IT systems and staff who called data. the key to success for a business lies in its ability to transform the data into intelligence and knowledge and then use it more effectively than the competition. Some of the ways in which information might be valued include: • assessing the quality of information itself – its degree of accuracy. informed population than an illiterate and ignorant one. It is important to agree that information professions consider information to be a unique type of resource. and the interpretation of data such as numbers. credibility. Much data. but data is not everything. Methods for evaluating information become progressively more complex and abstract. acquire. satisfactory information: • monitoring of the organization’s performance and possibly its breakdown • creation and communication of instructions. in fact. Another way of distinguishing between the concepts of data. For example. Information is more complex in nature than mere data. linguistics. Data can be entered into a system. One way of evaluating information is to distinguish between the results of informed actions versus results of uninformed actions or no action. whether in countries or in organizations. this has a fundamental value. simplicity.. establishing and managing information systems…Unfortunately. Here we can better understand the argument that everything is data. where people have concentrated on computer based systems or allowed the requirements of data processing to become central to organizational structure. simple. and use information. Liebenau and Backhouse (1990) describe the confusion between information and data as a fundamental misconception: It is crucial to understand information when analyzing. Information Information itself is more than merely a conglomeration or combination of data. there is a common but rather nebulous assumption that such manipulated or processed data constitutes information. and policies • exchange of experience and knowledge • scanning of environment the business • major and minor decisions Organizations that are most efficient in gathering. advice. process. and knowledge is to examine the different methodologies for their evaluation.g. information is more frequently expressed in language. retrieved in its identical pristine state. information. banks and airlines) rely heavily on data. “Bill is 42 years old”).contextually appears as an answer to a question (e. does not necessarily information make. It has been said that the value of information lies in the value of the actions a person takes as a result of having information.g. even though it is difficult to determine in dollar terms because it fluctuates according to a variety of factors. and contain the same meaning. as well as protection of privacy. informed population than an illiterate and ignorant one. While many organizations (e. they have usually lost sight of what information actually does to and for an organization. in general. data processing. the problems of the communication process. however. data is accounted for in terms of integrity and security.

for the term information or knowledge.g. and disseminate information. organizing..” It is useful in this context to exclude those peripheral fields where central activities are the development. at least by general managers. and its outcome as a measurable impact on a return on investment Information Management Bent (1999) provides a broad and useful definition: “Information Management (IM) is the enterprisewide planning. In addition. which resemble records management systems in many respects and even some information retrieval systems. Activities related to IRM include identification. since it is frequently used unambiguously to refer to the management of information and information resources (e. assessment. The information in the organisation includes material on paper. is clear. The intimate relationship between the information itself and the supporting technology. and construction of technologies. and promoting more harmonious relationships • noting the impact on the organization’s financial position. however. those who manage information resources must understand how users learn. organise. as Day (1997) mentions: “IT and related developments provide the usual slightly ambiguous backdrop to information management. This view is argued by Beaumont and Sutherland (1992). organizing. Indeed. improved customer satisfaction. directing. store. database management. engineering. IRM refers therefore to the planning. meaning the management of internally generated data.• examining the utility of information already held by the organization as to its degree of intellectual and physical accessibility. information science. The installation and refinement of corporate networks continues apace and offers us some extraordinary tools for the control and distribution of data. or in machine-readable form. Information management is sometimes used in a narrow sense. budgeting. systems analysis. and both computer-based or traditional information systems. office automation. and informatics. its substitution for more expensive resource inputs. such as computer science (developing the tools which aid the function). archives. packages. ease of use. it may be used to describe document metadata systems such as bibliographic databases. Another is because the term document is sometimes used as an alternative. if not DP/IS managers. in order to distinguish 10 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . and systems used to generate. in terms of contribution to new markets. it was the failure of DP/IS departments to focus on the business benefits of large-scale investments that led to increasing acceptance of the information resources management perspective. flexibility. retrieve. organize. IRM needs to collect. Documents Why is defining a document important in this context? One reason is because of the development of electronic management systems (EDMS). But in action it covers a precise territory. support technologies. records management. and information resources management. Alternatively. meeting targets and objectives. computer science. departments that provide information services. retain. one which incorporates many foci. that is capable of being turned into knowledge by people and applied in their work to help meet the enterprise’s objectives. Orna (1990) describes information resources as …the services. and recall information. IM includes the management of various information resources: carriers of information such as documents or electronic media. its role in increased profits.” Information management can be easily and usefully viewed as an umbrella term. and use of information resources. tools that can be used to facilitate and assist the professions described here. various technologies assist with each of these activities. such as its contribution to cost reduction or avoidance. move and display information. and presentation • evaluating the impact of this information on the productivity of the organization • assessing the impact on effectiveness of organization. While librarians and records managers would argue that they are IRMs. the term has also now come to include mainly those who deal with computerized systems. embodiments in documents or people or technological media). staffing. store. or in the minds of its staff. It is troubling that IM is often viewed as synonymous with IT. directing. Information Resources Management Information resources management (IRM) is a term arguably more simple to deal with. for information produces results only when it springs into the consciousness of the user at the appropriate time. the range of which is indicated above. if not an exact synonym. and controlling of information resources within organizations. but most senior managers still regard the technology as the end of the process rather than as its means. data resource management. librarianship. We manage information resources to raise probability that the information content will be useful to persons in a particular environment with specific problems. Information management can also include telecommunications. training and controlling of information. This seems to include records and document management and information and knowledge management. who state: [Information resources management] is not a development from the traditional and specialist data processing functions.

graphics). Indeed. spreadsheet. which may consist of digitized presentations. but in the broader sense as well. which may or may not be official organizational records. managing the flow of work as the name implies. title. Document is interpreted here as a container of information. the phrase information resources is sometimes substituted for the word document. or a document containing several different formats documents generated in the normal course of business by an organization. or even instead of. as previously described. in any form. text. They maintain an audit trail. when talking about records. Document management systems will include records management systems but cannot substitute for them because of the special requirements of records for maintaining an audit trail for evidentiality. (e. What is normally retrieved from bibliographic databases and earlier records management systems is data showing where to get the information rather than the information itself.g. have records managers and archivists. This combination of metadata (data describing the information) is known as a document surrogate. drawings. or photographs 12 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . According to Kennedy and Schauder (1998). If we consider documents as containers of information. It is important that their contents are intellectually • anything on which there are marks. including data in computer systems.these concepts from data. as such. the discipline has developed dramatically as IT has become widespread. Such data are normally held in bibliographic and records management systems. Document Management Document management is distinct from records management in that the former manages documents. created or received and maintained by an organisation or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs and kept as evidence of such activity. Records were identified earlier as a subset of documents. So. or perforations having a meaning for persons qualified to interpret them • anything from which sounds.” This is consistent with the description given earlier. where it can be understood that all records are documents. but they do not necessarily actually manage documents. document means any record of information and includes • anything is writing on which there While records have always been considered important within organizations. Adding to this semantic Babel. and managed as discrete units in information systems. Records While records have always been considered important within organizations. the discipline has developed dramatically as IT has become widespread. perhaps because what is envisioned is a system that will image analog documents and manage them in this new digital mode (although these digital documents could be anything. This distinction becomes more complex in the world of the records manager or archivist.. and number. or writings can be reproduced with or without the aid of anything else • maps. to documents (or records) within an organization. published or unpublished in hard copy or electronic form. The characteristics of a particular document. figures. a list-serve thread. symbols. plans. including HTML-coded Web pages).’” This is quite distinct from documents. from creation to disposition. which the Australian Standard AS4390-1996 defines as “structured units of recorded information. In the Australian Commonwealth Evidence Act of 1995. “The definition of ‘record’ in the Australian Standard AS4390-1996 reads:…‘recorded information. Workflow systems allow rapid access. or even data. subject. Electronic document management systems are also sometimes used in conjunction with. even though such databases are commonly called information retrieval systems. and. but not all documents are records. are a type of data now known as metadata. requires a different type of management. for that matter. Document management systems are often confused (usually by vendors) as imaging products. then librarians have been managing documents for centuries. workflow systems. Electronic documents need to be managed not only in the sense of being physically accessible and well maintained and protected. images. The term is increasingly used in relation to electronic documents. a record needs to be kept of who viewed or had access to certain documents and when since this type of information may be required in a court of law. such as date. a substitute for the document itself (and thus the information it contains). But they have been doing it for different reasons and under different circumstances: the management of accessible to those who need them and that they are protected from view and from alteration by those not authorized to peruse them. even simultaneously by several users.

the documents may fall among that class of materials needing to be preserved for a much longer term because of rarity value or because of historical or social contributions. as well as the media that comprise the documents. Our understanding of information or document management will depend on our definitions of these various terms. or. treated here as part of the records management continuum. although it can also be transferred verbally. parchment. The critical difference between a document and a record is that the record provides evidence of a business transaction. a Braille letter. are assessed in a manner similar to documents. in fact. as a physical entity. The points themselves are so integrated that they are not readily distinguishable. dance. as indicated. Knowledge Knowledge exists at an order of complexity above information. Alternatively. Provision needs to be made for legitimate modifications. particularly because there are variations of meaning possible within information. a database. a spreadsheet. It is here that viewing records (and document) management as a continuum. A continuum is a series of points that pass into each other. more properly. Thus. the meaning of the information contained by the document will affect the categorization – and subsequent handling and organization – of the document as a record or a document. and experiencing life themselves. which permit it to cross the boundaries of space and time. the record. typically indicated and controlled by legislated requirements or potential legislative requirements. It can be of several types. which includes archival management. its container the document.” It could be argued that as records pass into archives. Their physical well-being is also a consideration. “A continuum based approach is by definition an integrated one. compound. access. as well as physical protection). documents are handled quite differently from records. this seems consistent. Most other documents do not need to be as rigorously maintained. information is what we can convey about it. analyzed. One can agree with Upward (1998). and structured. However. but for the information they contain and perhaps as physical artifacts. it is hard to imagine or construct a system that is truly a knowledge system. knowledge has to do fundamentally with what people know and what they have understood and interpreted. When the documents become less used. including knowing of something. and knowing how to do something. is useful. or microfilm) or digital (such as a word-processed file). and music. knowing about something. wherever it may be found (usually in people’s heads). Some of these containers of information (documents) are known as records. Information is more complex. this seems very confusing.At first glance. What it means is that anything that contains meaningful information – be it a magnetic tape. It is information as absorbed and comprehended by an individual. their creation. interesting no longer in a legal sense. with administrative and legal qualities that distinguish them. Records contain the vital information of the organization. Knowledge is complex. A document is a container of information and. Computers. Thus far. Documents are assessed in a manner similar to data (integrity and security. they cease being records and revert to being documents. Knowledge management is therefore involved with recognizing the value of knowledge. The management of records is. Information is more difficult to ascertain and to communicate. Documents more generally serve informational but non-litigious functions. Information is most frequently contained in documents. While information is an important component. and the special document. irrespective of medium. Most seem to agree that knowledge involves some level of human input and manipulation. As they are a hypothetical construct. Humans both assimilate and interpret the information that they get from these various sources (including recondite sources such as intuition and spiritual inspiration) and attempt to communicate this information to others using language. Archives. data have been identified as discrete facts that are handled relatively easily in analog or digital mode. and use must all be tracked and properly documented in some way. continuum. Knowledge is what we have accumulated from all our experiences and learning. and harnessing its powers so that it can be used to the organization’s advantage. they may need to be stored for some time before the final decision is made to dispose of them. importantly. a poem. can be analog (such as a book. namely for the information they contain. In general. or a piece of recorded sound – can be considered a document. Our understanding is further differentiated by the purposes of the information or documents. Records are assessed and managed in terms that are laid down by the laws of evidence in each country. handle data extremely well. and their chief characteristic is that they provide evidence of that organization’s business transactions. who states. as well as arts such as painting. but based wholly THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 13 . score. and the tools designed to control and access the information or documents. Records Management Records and documents share a similar life cycle. Knowledge is something that humans acquire after learning from documents and other people. For this reason. The main distinction in this scenario between the two types is that all actions that occur to a record need to be scrupulously maintained in accordance with the evidential procedures of the law so that they can be used in evidence in court when required.

and document management – share similar objectives. Knowledge Management A new phrase has now entered the information professionals’ vocabulary: knowledge management (KM). how it works. however. its objectives. However. it has created an increased insight by each group into the work of the other. We might. information. The good thing about the growth of the concept of KM is the resurgence of interest in broader information appear that KM encompasses what the individuals in the organization actually know about the business. records. knowledge is often assessed in terms of philosophical arguments related to sophisticated methods of research and testing. IT.on technology. which will. IT itself has for some time now illustrated characteristics of convergence. work flow. and the like. try to identify sources of knowledge. What blurs the distinction a little is that the technologies and software used by these groups to achieve their various objectives seem similar. COLD and records management amongst the most relevant to this Listserv. seems to have also created a need for fresh self-examination of the professions. In accordance with the earlier definition of knowledge. largely driven by developments in technology and their concomitant organizational changes. seems to have also created a need for fresh self-examination of professions. in turn. neither use of objectives or IT as unifying factors is definitive in merging or distinguishing between these disciplines. In particular. and 2) the translation of information and knowledge into business intelligence that can be used for wise decision making. currency. Although fleetingly similar to the view of IRM described earlier. It is clear that the field of information management is presently in a state of flux. they seek to manage information in a manner that will ensure its integrity and use according to a variety of objectives. creating such changes within professions. document management. Changes are occurring more within those professions that deal with information and knowledge and have the least to do with the design and management of actual hardware or software. KM is a new field emerging at the confluence of organization theory. not to mention the broader term IRM? A working definition of KM is offered by Malhotra (1998): A knowledge-based view of the organization’s business process for leveraging the information processing capacity of advanced information and communication technologies via translation of information into action by means of the creativity and innovation of humans to affect organizational competence and survival in an increasingly unpredictable (hyper-turbulent) competitive environment. Bookbinder (1997) emphasizes the need for cooperation and teamwork between these different groups: One would think that with the convergence of many of the information management technologies and applications like imaging. Malhotra’s definition moves beyond the mere identification and management of information resources. and management information systems. and archivists now have to work with the traditionally technical information resources personnel. particularly in making information useable. creating such changes within professions. IT. that successful projects require a great deal of teamwork. ensure the survival of the business. and completeness. as technology has had a profound influence on these related professions. While information is evaluated in terms of authority. this in itself has not led to convergence between them. The emergence of the knowledge society and the increasing realization that knowledge is the most valuable organizational asset are two of several factors contributing to the increased relevance of KM. It is hard to avoid the technological determinist view here. So what is KM. it would It considers information in terms of two important aspects: 1) the intervention of human beings as resources. Because of the strong emphasis on electronic information. While the objectives of managing information and using technology appropriately and intelligently are common to all IM professions. such as experts in a particular field. knowledge. issues. This has not necessarily meant a convergence of their roles. This seems to contradict directly the earlier assertion regarding the importance of records in the organization. and how does it differ from the vitally important RM. These developments have been conceptual as well as technical in that they have changed the expectation of various professions as well as the ways in which individual activities and functions are executed. This means 14 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . niche markets. Common Ground The professional groups that practice the various activities mentioned earlier – namely data. particularly between computers and communications (informatics). records managers. however. management strategy. librarians. its relationship with competitors and customers.

Will the development of technologies that form knowledge management systems create a convergence between groups of information professionals such as IT specialists. Harris. Internet. Available at www. while on a Fulbright Fellowship. Myburgh is currently working toward a Ph. “Technology and the Four-level Information Hierarchy.that for document and records processing requirements to be fully understood. and. Day. Records Management: A Guide to Corporate Record Keeping. microfilm. The ways in which data. records managers. must contribute their requirements. David The synergies of records management principles of file classification. records managers. Richard J. workflow COLD. librarians. She may be contacted at sue. it doesn’t make much sense in most business environments from information architecture point of view. Rick. Patricia B. Electronic message to Listserv RECMGMT. Without it. end-users. and corporate information systems staff. 1996. at University of South Australia. September 1997.” Records Management Journal. that convergence is a reality. 1998. Geoffrey. John and Peter Willett. www. World Wide Web Virtual Library on Knowledge Management. Yogesh. 2nd ed. 50% of system implementations become failures. Kennedy. Especially now. Jay and Cheryl Schauder. Ian. Barry’s comments (1997) add an interesting perspective: The chances of gaining serious management understanding of record keeping needs and risks can be very favorably advanced by the integration of IS and ARM functions – not like homogenized cream and milk but like a good salad where the individual contributions remain distinct but the overall product tastes better than the component parts…It is also refreshing to see increasingly that information management and information technology managers and professionals are becoming more aware of the need to integrate document management and records management functions in the systems. “Creating a Knowledge-centric Information Technology Environment. Understanding Information: An Introduction.brint. Elizabeth. Myburgh has had extensive and international experience in the discipline of information management spanning two decades. information or knowledge-based management systems and record keeping systems. Malhotra. 1990. disposition and destruction integrated with electronic document management. Bromley [England]: (accessed 9 March 2000).htcs. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann. information technology specialists/analysts. means that TEAMWORK is a prerequisite for success. Daum. Beaumont. information. Frank. 1988. John R. Aldershot: Gower. retention schedules. “The Continuum-based Approach to Integration. Cox. J s ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sue Myburgh is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and Information Studies at the University of South Australia. 1992. and Ewan Sutherland. “Why Technology Convergence Is Not Enough for the Management of Information and Records. Sydney: Addison Wesley Longman. etc. 1998. “The Role of Records Management in Business Information Services.myburgh@unisa. and knowledge (as represented in documents) are dealt with by the various professions is perhaps more different and more distinct than before because of these fresh insights. not to mention a technology architecture perspective. London: Macmillan. 1990. October 1997: 8-14.” Records Management Quarterly. MA: Digital.htm (accessed 9 March 2000).” Unpublished paper. Burlington.” Records and Retrieval Report: The Newsletter for Professional Information Managers. Bookbinder. She teaches corporate information resources management and electronic document management and has particular research interest in information retrieval and human information seeking behavior. customers/clients and any other individual that requires access to corporate memory. Information in the Enterprise: It’s More Than Technology. Upward. Information Resources Management: Management in Our Knowledge-based Society and Economy. Barry. Practical Information Policies: How to Manage Information Flow in Organisations. REFERENCES Ashford. which could include imaging.D. studied at Simmons College in Boston. Darnton. Liebenau. Jonathan and James Backhouse. Electronic message to Listserv RECMGMT. Text Retrieval and Document Databases. it has simultaneously created a renewed attempt to define both the knowledge and expertise domain of each. the requirements of each profession ensure their unique niche. She was an academic at the University of Cape Town. Apart from the fact that nowadays most organizations cannot afford parallel enterprise document. 18 December 1997. Even while similar terminology may be used. 18 December 1997. August 1997: 91-99. or will it make some groups redundant? While IT has created greater convergence between these professions than has ever existed before and changed the very nature of each of these professions. 16 THE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT JOURNAL / April 2000 . Michael.

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