Exploring the Essence of Records Management, Engaging with Experts: Proceedings,* Edited by Susan Childs, Susan Heaford and Julie McLeod

School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences

Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

2006, pp. 224, £35 (£20 for students), soft cover. Purchasing instructions here or by contacting Dr. Julie McLeod.


* This paper is a pre-publication version of a paper published in the Records Management Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2006;  Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bradford, UK, pp. 124-136, and is published here with the kind permission of the publisher.


A review by Rick Barry


YouTube, and MyFace are among the more recent examples of so-called "user-generated content," (UGC) the latest development in the ever evolving world of content generation and management. Some of the historical predecessors of this movement are online personal journals, bulletin boards and blogs. Except where UGC systems may be employed for business purposes, as some businesses are doing with blogs, and of course for personal recordkeeping, it is early days to postulate any enduring recordkeeping implications. It is all about non-journalistic individuals publishing to the Web – and the invention of Web places that accept the content of many such individuals in social network settings.


Although it is not published on the Web, so far at least, Exploring the Essence of Records Management, Engaging with Experts, Proceedings – a.k.a., "A Witness Seminar Conference" –the format plays into this trend in a way that represents a departure from more traditional conference: individual witnessing on key topics in a group setting. This first international Witness Seminar Conference, as conference convener and leader, and Proceedings editor, Julie McLeod points out, has its roots in the oral history tradition. It has a purpose of gathering the best witnesses possible for more or less spontaneous testimony on three major pre-chosen topics. I got the sense reading this book that I was hearing the spoken word rather than reading the written text. I think this is what the author-editors wanted, and I fell for it happily.


My purpose here is not to summarize the Conference or Proceedings. Please buy the book for that information. Rather, it is to review the content, context and structure of this book within the framework of its likely users, which I believe will include university faculty engaged in educational programs, educators involved in continuing education, researchers, systems developers, records management consultants and public and private sector practitioners engaged in information and records management.


Comments on content are centered on broad subject-area coverage and balance. I have cited a few witnesses where it seemed especially helpful to illustrate a particular point. Obviously, space considerations make it impossible to make reference to the 20 witnesses and panelists, not to mention the Seminar chairs and other participants. I can only say that virtually all of the witnesses, and the other participants whose comments are contained in the Proceedings made important contributions to the dialogue recorded in this book.


Context is considered in terms of the relationships among key sections – internal context – and how it relates to topics of current interest in the larger international professional world – external context.


Comments on structure examine how the book is designed, using such tools as tables of content, indexes, footnotes, bibliographies, Web links, etc. In short: how well is the book designed to facilitate effective use by the reader in achieving the authors' intended ends? While it may seem as though the logical order of things would be Content, Context and Structure, I will not deal with those factors in that order for reasons that I think will become evident.


The Conference included a superior lineup of witnesses and other participants, all from Commonwealth and European countries. Many will be recognized fondly as "usual suspects". Each was designated to give personal testimony on one of three pre-selected "aspects of the essence of records management" Seminars.  For each Seminar, there was an anchoring published article that constituted the starting point for the Seminar. The testimony of witnesses was followed by interaction with one another and then with other conference participants. If I may draw the metaphors painfully further, it was a case of loading the jury, to assure a winning outcome.


The focuses of the conference-book were in three dedicated Seminars each on one of three essential aspects of recordkeeping; one unstructured mid-course Panel Discussion; and a Concluding Session:


  • Seminar 1: Embedding records management in business processes (120 minutes)
    • Witnesses: Steve Bailey, Peter Horsman, Gary Johnston, Barbara Reed, David Wainwright and Viki Wilkinson, chaired by Michael Moss
    • Initiating evidence: "What, If Anything, Is Records Management?" by Chris Hurley,[1] RMAA Conference, Canberra, September 2004; this paper postulates that the job now is to help design and maintain systems that integrate recordkeeping functionality into business processes and move on from recordkeeping systems to business systems that keep records


  • Seminar 2: Is records management the management of risk? (90 minutes)
    • Witnesses: James Currall, Michael Dunlevy, Alastair Irons, Vicki Lemeaux and Victoria Vallely, chaired by Ceri Hughes
    • Initiating evidence: "Corporate governance and management of information and records" by Anthony Willis[2]; this article aims to look at the intersection between corporate governance and information and records management


  • Panel Discussion: A view from the bridge. Issues and Impressions (60 minutes)
    • Panelists: Susannah Hanlon, David Faurio, Peter Benfell, chaired by Carl Newton


  • Seminar 3: Who are the records managers? (75 minutes)
    • Witnesses: Max Beekhuls, Frank Rankin, Ian McEwen, Peter McKinney, Clare Cowling, and Frank Upward, chaired by Stuart Orr
    • Initiating evidence: "Catalyst or cataclysm," Editorial: Information Management Journal editorial, Sep/Oct 2004. Vol. 38, Issue 5, page 4-7


  • Concluding Session: Rapporteur's Summary and Conclusions (40 minutes)
    • David Ryan and Julie McLeod


This book represents a near-verbatim transcript of the May 2006 Conference (even annotated in places with parenthetical comments on audience reaction). It brings with it all of the advantages and disadvantages that might be expected of such an approach. On the up-side it provides a high fidelity replication of the conference itself with no editorializing or rationalizing on the part of the editors after the fact. We are "there" to "hear" for ourselves the witnessing of individuals on a few broad, pre-selected issues. On the down-side, the fact that we were not there can sometimes make it difficult for readers to pick up on some of the nuances of the remarks of witnesses. For example, to summarize the Conference, David Ryan plays the role of Conference remembrancer in its final session, cleverly recounting crisp sound bites spoken by the various witness statements and other participant interventions during the three Seminars. (It is the only Microsoft Powerpoint™ presentation used in the conference.) These no doubt acted as excellent memory bookmarks for conference delegates; however, readers may have to work a bit or retrace their steps to appreciate their context.




The physical structure of the Proceeding is in the form of a spiral bound, A4, softbound book. In terms of its logical structure, as noted at the outset, the Conference was organized in such a manner as to promote stories-around-the-fire atmospherics, which might give the illusion of being an unstructured event. As will be seen, this was not the case. One novel structural element that promoted such atmospherics was a ban on the use of slide presentations. Only the final session rapporteur, as noted earlier, was permitted this crutch. I can appreciate that. Just before mounting the podium to make a keynote presentation on the opening day of a professional organization's three-day annual conference, the conference convener whispered in my ear. "By the way," he said, "it's our tradition that the keynote speaker summarizes the conference in its final session." So much for the city tours and the vineyards! Accordingly, I think the rapporteur deserves any such crib sheets as Microsoft or others may offer.  


A carefully constructed multi-layer structure was put in place for the Conference and this was also followed in the Proceedings:

  • There were three separate Seminars, each with its own pre-selected topic. A separate panel discussion was held between Seminars 2 and 3 that, rather than being a witness seminar, was intended as a no-holds-barred, unstructured discussion in the tradition of the organizational development practice with a mid-course Conference temperature-taking. Panelists coalesced what they were hearing in the daily corridors and evening networking sessions to flesh out major thread of thinking on the essences of records management, more centered on Conference participants than witnesses.
  • The witnesses selected for each Seminar were given a previously published article that was to serve as the starting point for their Seminar. I don't know whether these were made available to other participants before or during the Witness Seminar Conference or not. Unfortunately they were not included in the Proceedings, which would have added another dimension for the readers. Two of the three articles are, however, available on the Web. (The URL for one of them is provided in the Proceedings.)
  • Witnesses prepared short statements on their reactions to their Seminar starting-point article and these were included in Appendix B to the Proceedings. However, it appears that shorter versions were and witnesses adjusted their testimonies to incorporate reactions to the testimony of other witnesses who had spoken before them.
  • Witnesses' testimony was followed by a panel exchange with other Seminar witnesses and this, in turn, was followed by interactions on the part of other participants. All of the above interventions were transcribed into the Proceedings.
  • A concluding session with the rapporteur's summary and conclusions. 
  • A textual workbook in the form of Proceedings that contains all of the above and witness biographies. The Proceedings includes appropriate footnotes and URLs as needed (except for some of the initiating papers).


The above structure was no doubt very effective for the purposes of the Conference. It is less so for the purposes of most readers, I submit. In the commentary on content, it was noted that there is a good deal of crossover in the three-seminar topic areas from one to another, especially relating to the role of the records manager. As natural a development as this might have been for the witness format, it suggests that the first-time reader will not find the table of contents especially helpful in searching for various aspects of the role of records managers. Similarly, the Appendix in the Proceedings containing the pre-conference written witness statements is organized alphabetically by witness names. As simple as it may be, a much better approach would have been to organize those statements in three sections titled after the "essence" statements of the three Seminars, so that at least all of the statements of the Seminar on embedding would be together and the same for risk management and so on. 


In the absence of a well designed index, readers are left to fend on their own. This may not present a difficulty when first reading the Proceedings in a linear fashion. However, the best professional books (that are often very expensive compared to those of one's favorite novelist) are typically retained for future research purposes and reference to specific topics. Without an excellent index, and especially where there is also the absence of a multi-level table of contents, it will be very difficult to use the text for future reference purposes. A multi-tiered TOC likely would not have been feasible for this volume because of the semi-spontaneous nature of the witnessing that the conference records. Topical coverage below the high-level Seminar topic was not, and probably could not have been, orchestrated according to some predetermined agenda of sub-topics. Thus, the TOC was limited for all practical purposes to two levels: Seminar topic and names of witnesses for that topic – and only one level of subject matter.


It is not too late to remedy this flaw. The editors and publisher could give serious consideration to possibilities for doing so, including: produce a good, post-publication index, publish it on the university Website and place an insert in the text directing people to that online index, the Webpage user stats for which could also provide post-publication insights as to the book's usage; provide a CD containing the full publication, insert it in the Proceedings and change the price of the publication accordingly; or separately publish and sell a CD version. In the same place, the editors and publisher could seek permission to republish the three articles that were used as the starting points for the three Seminars or, at least, where they are already published elsewhere on the Web, link to them. This would constitute a Web extension of the Proceedings to both help interact with readers who have enough interest in the book to make use of those Web-based services and could provide worthwhile follow-up information for the host Northumbria School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences teaching and research programs.


To illustrate the power and multiplier effect of a digital version of a document that has no index, one need only carry out a search of any digitized book, as most people likely have done many times. For an example, see the treatment of the book: Researching Japanese War Crimes, Edward Drea, Ed.,[3] which has no index. However, in addition to the softbound paperback publication, the book is easily accessible online, making key word searches of the full text very easy for the reader to do. Moreover, in this case, a CD is provided in a sleeve attached inside the rear jacket of the book that contains an accompanying finding aid for subjects addressed in the book. Like the book, the finding aid CD attached to the hard copy publication, is also accessible online. [4] In this case, if the reader doesn't require a hard copy of the book, s/he can simply obtain the book and the finding aid by downloading it from the NARA Website. One wishing to obtain a softbound paperback copy of the book with the CD can do so by following instructions on the NARA Website. 


I am not suggesting that professional books should necessarily be given away on the Web for the convenience of professionals and researchers. Rather, I use this example because anyone can easily and freely view it and test its document search function to observe the ease with which incidences of appearance of specific topics and their exact location in the absence of an index. This is not the place to debate the pros and cons of indexing vs. full-text search strategies. Either or both are possible here.


Publishers in technical fields and professionals authoring such books – especially those of us who are in the archives and records management field and other information management professionals – should be more sensitive than most to how the structure of such books impact on the user friendliness and research effectiveness of their books. Authors should insist that the publishers provide the necessary treatment to insure that, even if it means a higher price tab on the book.


When designing an interface for a "writing system" that will be imposed on record creators to facilitate the creation, identification and capture of electronic records, we should always ensure that user and user environment considerations are taken fully into consideration so as to make it as easy and burden-free as possible for users to do what we need them to do. This is true whether we are doing the design ourselves or we are looking over the shoulders of IT or contract specialists who do the design or evaluate off-the-shelf software for the same purpose. Similarly with books, we should facilitate the use of our products for the purposes we hope they will serve (reading pleasure, research, etc.) and be advocates for the reader and reader experience.


One other structural issue becomes evident as the Proceedings are read. For each seminar there was an initiating paper. I assume that copies of those papers were distributed to participants at or before the Conference. However, they are not included in the Proceedings, which I found annoying. I think that including them would have been a positive addition to the text. If copyright considerations couldn't be worked out, then as a minimum, papers should have been selected that were accessible on the Web. As it happens, the URL for Chris Hurley's paper (Seminar 1) was provided in the Proceedings. I have provided a second one for the Anthony Willis paper (Seminar 2) at the beginning of this review. The third one, an unsigned editorial from the Information Management Journal, is not accessible on the Web.




The stated purpose of the conference-book was to gather key people together to discuss chosen topics and capture their testimony. It was not to recollect and document contemporary history but to explore issues of current and future significance related to the essence of the records management field. This is exactly the format that the conference followed on the above topics and that is reflected throughout the Proceedings.


The book delivers on the promise of witnessing on the three chosen essential topics, some receiving more coverage than others. There is much excellent discussion on the Seminar 3 topic – who are the records managers in current practice and what are the changing (or not changing) roles of records managers – including in other Seminars.


Embedding records management in business processes


Much of the discussion of the Seminar 1 topic of embedding records in business processes was in defense of the proposition that records and recordkeeping should be embedded in business processes and systems. The commentaries on the "whys" of business process embedding might seem to suggest, on the surface at least, that most records managers are uncertain whether this is a good or necessary thing to do. More likely, however, this actually reflects current thinking on this subject internationally. Very few professionals today seem to disagree with this evolving approach to recordkeeping. This was not a subject of contention among Conference witnesses or other participants, nor is it elsewhere in my observations, though some may have preferred the term "re-embed" to embed, because of their view that recordkeeping always, or at least some time ago, was embedded in business functions and processes than is generally the case today.


Some theorists and practitioners, including Chris Hurley, author of the theme paper for Seminar 1, believe that the importance of associating records with business activities has always been – or at least was a long time ago – the focus of recordkeeping practice, even though doing so by attempting to map traditional records series to business aims was not a very effective way of going about that. Rather than attempting to impose recordkeeping systems on business, as Hurley postulates, we should be fostering business systems that keep trustworthy records.


There were excellent observations on why embedding is important. Records managers and archivists in need of arguments to take to their business managers and CIOs/CTOs will find good material in the Proceedings to help make there cases. Much less was said about how embedding can be accomplished. What are some of the strategic and tactical options for achieving embedding? Is anyone using them? If not, why not, if people believe that embedding is as important as most of us suggest? If so, how are they working and what early lessons can be learned? An exception was Barbara Reed's brief discussion during her witnessing testimony of web services and enterprise architecture as promising approaches to achieving the desired results. This proposition was more fully explained in her pre-conference written witness statement.


Much more needs to be said about these and other ways to make embedding happen and what issues we may expect to arise in doing so, e.g., the use of service-oriented architecture (SOA) may result in a combination of records maintained centrally and others that might be maintained within a process-based system and, if so, what implications might this eventuality have on records management policies and practitioners?  SOA offers the opportunity to make sense out of information contained in disparate, non-interoperable, legacy stovepipe systems. Much more needs to be learned and shared about what organizations are picking up on this aspect to deal with legacy electronic records. For example, the U.S., National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) Electronic Records Archive (ERA) is using a Services-Oriented-Architecture (SOA) approach to support its own work, which by definition will manage monumental volumes of electronic records from all federal agencies "for the life of the Republic." NARA established the Records Management Service Component Program (RMSC) to take the lead in an interagency project that has developed supporting functional requirements[5] for the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) that is being developed by the Office of Management and Budget. Which agencies are breaking ground with the FEA? Who else in the US or elsewhere is pushing in these directions? What about other organizations in the private sector where SOA is beginning to gain considerable interest?


It has been my experience that many of the most articulate technical gurus in the field of SOA and enterprise architecture more generally are totally uninformed about recordkeeping and associated issues. Yet, they are rapidly setting the pace for many organizational CIOs and CTOs. Further exploration of architectural and other 'hows' of embedding recordkeeping would seem to be a logical extension of the Seminar-1 discussion that hopefully will emerge from this conference and book. 


Is records management the management of risk?


Seminar 2 was very much on point with little difference of opinion that there were close ties among records management, risk management and corporate compliance, but with varying opinions expressed on how these practices interplay. There were some excellent allegories used in this session to drive home positions taken by the witnesses. For example, Vicki Lemeiux used an excellent allegory from the 17th-18th century Chinese Qing dynasty, citing three emperors who, although they were Animist, managed to successfully rule large territories and populations of diverse ethnic backgrounds, languages, art traditions, and religious beliefs. They did this by traveling to the various regions and learning the local ways. She concluded: "We have to go into these other territories and…learn the languages and traditions of IT, of our legal colleagues, of auditors etc…but never forget who we are and what our message is.


In his brilliant exposition on positive vs. negative risk management, James Currall related in story fashion how most of us routinely make risk decisions when we choose to break traffic laws, weighing the risks of getting caught against the benefits of non-compliance. He posed a very different model of the records manager who facilitates positive risk management consulting to senior management through better alignment of information and records with corporate strategic growth objectives. He has caused me to reevaluate my own thinking about the balance between aligning records management with auditing and with enterprise business aims.


The Seminar included exchanges on the distinctions represented by various approaches to risk: zero-tolerance compliance, risk minimization and risk management and between known, existing risks and new risks associated with change and business development. As with Seminar 1, but less so, the testimony and exchanges in Seminar 2 also got into issues related to the role of the records manager, as illustrated above. The implications of these different models for business and the records management are considerable.


Who are the records managers?


As noted above, it is not surprising that many of the comments on the role of records managers arose in Seminars 1 and 2 and not only in Seminar 3. The topics are in any case highly interrelated. The Seminars each had its own focus, but discussion often lead from one to another. Hurley's theme paper for Seminar 1 on embedding had a great deal to say about the role of the records manager and archivist, which naturally underlies virtually every subject concerning records management, because there is a lot to be said about the records manager in that context. When there was little argument on the importance of embedding recordkeeping in business processes, and the best cases for justifying this approach were discussed, the subject naturally would turn to evolving concepts of what constitutes records management and the role of records professionals. What is their role in all of this? What, if any, new skills will be required? That thought process was evident in Seminar 1. A similar observation may be made about Seminar 2 on risk management. And what is more interesting to records management professionals than their own role and opportunities? Thus the topic designated for Seminar 3 – Who are the records managers? – tends to pervade the entire conference and Proceedings. This is not necessarily a criticism but rather a statement about the balance of content in the conference and Proceedings. This topic emerges as the most interesting subject, based on conference contributions.




In terms of the internal contextual relationships within and among the main sections of the book, basically the three Seminar sections, there was considerable diffusion of the Seminar 3 topic (Who are records managers?) in Seminars 1 and 2. There was much discussion in Seminar 1 about the roles of records managers that one might have expected to take place in Seminar 3 It is difficult to talk about embedding records without getting into what that means for records managers, as Steve Bailey and David Wainwright did. However, a closer look at Hurley's paper which was the starting point for this Seminar reveals that it too is more about impact of embedding on records management and so-called "invisible records management" than on how to achieve embedding. It is only natural that the Seminar would follow that lead.


Table 1 represents a crude way in which to observe the coverage of each Seminar topic in all Seminars.


Table 1: Incidence of Discussion of Seminar Topics in Each Seminar


Keyword                     Total  S1-Embed       S2-Risk           S3-RM'er       Grand Total

Embed*                          46          41 (89%)            1                     4                             77

Risk*                              94          10                     82 (97%)          2                           336

Records Manager         130          52                     26                   52 (40%)                278

"Totals" are for incidences within the 3 Seminars only. "Grand Total" covers all incidences, including Panel Discussion, bios, Annexes, etc.

* These are truncated words to include all word forms with that stem.


What this shows, again in crude terms, is that the topic "records manager" appeared about as often in Seminar 1, the topic of which was "embedding records management", as it did in Seminar 3, the topic of which was indeed the "records manager" and about half as often in Seminar 2, the topic of which was Risk Management. Hits on "records manager" during Seminar 3 constituted 40% of all incidences of that term. By contrast, in Seminar 1, 89% of incidences of "embed*"occurred there. Similarly, with Seminar 2, 82% of incidences of "risk*" appeared there. This would not have created problems for Conference attendees; but it illustrates that the format was much more suited to the Conference than to book treatment, in the absence of an index.


To provide some flavor for the various contexts represented in this book, I prepared a table of terms that are common in the field of records management. Tables 2 and 3 below show the top and bottom dozen terms out of nearly 100 terms, according to the number of incidences that appear in the Proceedings.


Table 2: Top Dozen Terms


Records: 1409

Business: 425

Risk: 336

Organi*: 278

Process:  272

System*: 249

Electronic/digital: 123

Change: 115

Recordkeeping/record keeping: 113

Archiv*: 104

Compliance: 103

Paper: 91



Table 3: Bottom Dozen Terms


Business systems analysis: 0

Functional analysis: 0

Institutional memory: 0

Social memory: 0

ECM*: 1

File plan: 1

Organisational memory: 1

Systems analysis: 1

Business process model: 2

Functional requirement: 2

Risk analysis: 3

Services oriented/orientated architecture: 3


What it also shows is that the Conference organizers and participants delivered well on the original vision and promise for the three chosen essences. The topics were well covered. One might wonder: how were these three focal points selected? What other candidates were considered? But what was promised was delivered. An outstanding line-up of witnesses and other participants was put together with impressively diverse professional credentials – public and private sector archives and records management, finance, information management, knowledge management, statistics, risk management, telecom, IT, law, QA, computer forensics, computer and information sciences, auditing, software engineering/testing, information security, research management, business systems analysis, information engineering, education and training, heritage program management, strategic planning and management consulting in various public and private sector industries. It was as diverse a group as I've seen at such a conference, but all were highly relevant to the subjects at hand. This multi-disciplinary approach to tackling tough problem areas reminded me of the birth of operations research in the early days of World War II when ex-naval officer, nuclear physicist and later Nobel Prize winner, Professor Patrick Blackett put together a multi-disciplinary team that became known as "Blackett's Circus," to solve numerous operational and tactical issues.


As word analysis can be used for evaluating internal context, a similar approach can be used as a rough way of thinking about the Proceedings in an external context – what subjects potential readers might expect to see covered in a book of this nature are included. Imagine a records management professional in a bookstore picking up this book because the title looks interesting. The browser sees the top-level subject coverage in the Table of Contents, but wants to look further than that and starts to peruse the index in contexts that are familiar to them.


Table 4 is a consolidation various contexts that might come to mind in such a person to get a better feel for the topics covered in the book. They want a further measure of how deep their interest might run.


As can be seen below, the topics covered in the Conference and Proceedings is quite extensive and covers most aspects of recordkeeping. Of course, others may have chosen different terms to define these word sets. Nonetheless, they are reasonably indicative of the breadth and depth of coverage in the Proceedings.



Table 4: Common Recordkeeping Word Sets


Words used to describe recordkeeping

Retention/Retain/Dispos*/Schedule: 86

Function: 78

Embed*: 77

Eviden*: 75

Valu*: 69

Store/Storage: 55

Standard/15489: 50

Strateg*: 45

Implement*: 36

Captur*: 34

Accountability/accountable: 29


Security: 24

Ethic*: 22

Apprais* 20

Registry: 18

Metadata: 15

Preserv*: 14 (excl. 5 in bios)

Index: 8

Integrity: 9

Series: 6

Service: 5


Words used to describe record attributes

Context: 59

Structure: 25 (excl. infrastructure)

Content: 18


Words used to describe stakeholders:

Records manager/archivist: 318

IT: 147

User: 87

Lawyer/Legal: 64 (excl. illegal)

Chief executive/senior executive/ senior manager: 31

Audit: 27         

Client: 21

Court: 12

Society: 11

Stakeholder: 7

Business manager: 3

CIO/CTO/chief information officer/chief technology officer: 1

Compliance officer: 1

Risk manager: 1




It seems clear that the Witness Seminar was well conceived and executed with a first-class cast of witnesses and other participants, and it did what the organizers wanted it to do. It is also clear that what makes for an excellent structure for a conference, may not translate as well directly to a proceedings without some extra props. In this case, what was missing was an excellent index.  Some minor rearrangement of Witness Statements (Annex B) would have been helpful as well. Suggestions are provided above that would allow for remedying the index problem.


Despite flaws raised in this review, there is much more about which to commend the Proceedings about. Its content and coverage are wide-ranging and reflect very current thinking on key issues facing records management educators, practitioners and system designers and that far outweigh the shortcomings discussed above.


An important aspect of this conference and its Proceedings is its research orientation. It was, after all, a Delphi-like experiment about modern recordkeeping. Rather than the problem-solution, advocacy orientation of most conferences, this one was more open-ended, introspective and provoking of ideas and options. Some personal risk taking was exercised by witnesses who didn't hold back on their views. This element obviously did not escape the notice of the Concluding Session Chair, Julie McLeod. She said: "The nature of this conference demands analysis and reflection."


The real test of this book will take place over the course of the next two years or so, if educators will make this book available to graduate and post-graduate students for teaching and research purposes, and if system developers will pick up on these current tides in thinking in our professional community. A model for making this happen might be for the Conference organizers to collaborate with other institutions to stimulate students and other research staff to take these Proceedings to the next step. There are several issues noted in this book that beg for further work. It was not the role of this reviewer to develop a research agenda from these Proceedings, but I found it tempting to do so, because some of them leapt out to me as I read the book. The Witness Seminar organizers might very well develop a research agenda from this source and enlist colleagues in other institutions to join them in moving ahead on such an agenda. Hopefully, at least one of those items will be a serious review of service-oriented architecture. If that could be made to happen soon, a follow-up conference in another year or two could yield some exciting news.






Index of Terms Analyzed for This Review


Accountability: 29

Implement*: 36

Series: 5

Agent*: 8

 (Implementation: 15)

Service oriented/orientated architecture*: 3

 (Intelligent agent: 1)

Information: 372

Skill*: 36                                  


 (Information management: 64)

Social: 12

 (Business analysis: 4)

 (Information system: 28)

Society: 11

 (Functional analysis: 0)

Integrity: 9

Standard: 37

 (Process analysis: 3)

Intelligen*: 11

Strategy: 9

 (Risk analysis: 3)

 (Intelligent agent: 1)

Structure: 33

 (Systems analysis: 1)

ISO (all caps): 20

 (Infrastructure: 8)

Appraisal: 20

 (ISO 15489: 13)

System*: 249

Architect*: 6

Knowledge: 43

Technology: 94

 (Service oriented/orientated architecture*: 3)

 (Knowledge manage*: 11)

Train*: 24

Archiv* (lower case): 104

Memory: 21

Trustworthy: 0

Authentic*: 7

 (Business memory: 1)

Workflow: 28

Business: 425

 (Institutional memory: 0)

Web: 38

 (Business analysis: 4)

 (Organisational memory: 1)

  (Web based: 1)

 (Business process: 124)

 (Social memory: 0)

 (Web service: 9)

   (Business process model: 2)

Model*: 30

 (Website/Web site: 16)

 (Business system: 10)

Organi*: 278

Valu*: 69

 (Business systems analysis: 0)

Paper: 91

Audit: 27

Classif*: 54

Planning: 4

Change: 115

Compliance: 103


Digital: 60

Content: 18

Process:  272

Infrastructure: 8

Context: 59

  (Business process: 124)

Metadata: 15

ECM*: 1

 Records: 1409

Strateg*: 45

EDM*: 4

   (Records manage*): 908

Stakeholder: 7

EDR*: 48

   (Records manager): 278


Educat*: 28

   (Record keeping/recordkeeping: 113

Captur*: 34

Electronic: 63

Registry: 18

Design: 30

Embed*: 77

 Responsib*: 44


Ethic*: 22


Eviden*: 75

File plan: 1

Risk: 336

Information security: 6

Function*: 78

 (Risk analysis: 3)

Security: 24

 (Functional analysis: 0)

 (Risk management: 79)

Schedule: 14

 (Functional requirement: 2)


Store/Storage: 55

 (Functional: 45)



Human: 18



 (Human resource*: 5)




[1] See other selected papers by Hurley in the Guest Authors section of this Website.

[2] "Corporate governance and management of information and records" by Anthony Willis, Records Management Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, 2005, pp. 86-97.

[3] Researching Japanese War Crimes, Edward Drea, Ed., with CD, Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, Washington, D.C., 2006, ISBN: 1-880875-28-4, accessible online.

[4] Japanese War Crimes and Related Topics: A Guide to Records at the National Archives, Compiled by Greg Bradsher, pp. 1717, accessible online.

[5] "Functional Requirements, Attributes, and Unified Modeling Language Class Diagrams for Records Management Services," Interagency Project Team and the Records Management Service Components Program Office of the National Archives and Records Administration,  September 7, 2006