Did you know that April is Records and Information Management Month? This week is Organize Your Files Week. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Try as I might I couldn’t find a way to spice up records management. Even to records management professionals, records management can seem a bit dull.
“Records Management [RM] is intrinsically unglamorous but vital to the efficient running of your institution’s daily operations. It is also the essential tool which underpins your institution’s legal and regulatory compliances.” [JISC: Joint Information Systems Committee, UK3]
OK, so records management is essential, but dull and I need to do it for legal reasons. Are you still awake? Whenever people start talking legalese with words like compliance and regulations, I just start to doze off.
Here are some practical reasons why you should organize your files and have a records management plan for your office:
- You will avoid the frustration of tracking down that file that you know you created but you can’t remember where you saved it or what your file name was. It made perfect sense at that time, but now you are stressed/rushed/exhausted and can’t remember what you did before.
- You will impress your boss with your organizational skills. Love ‘em or hate ‘em you will be the person who is always able to find what is needed in an emergency. Getting positive attention from the boss is usually a good thing.
- Do I have to save that? Can I delete that? Is your email inbox more stuffed than that closet at home that you swear you will clean out one rainy day? (But, let’s face it, you are never going to do it.) Knowing what to save means something else – knowing what you can delete.
(Archivist’s confession – we are the people who save materials so we can make them available for the future, but there is a certain joy to us in being able to weed out the material that we don’t need to keep. And yes “weed out” is a nice euphemism for “throw out.” One thing that has stuck with me from my school years was the archivists’ mantra, “When in doubt, throw it out!”)
If you have made it this far, I feel you deserve a nice prize for reading about organizing your files. I don’t have a prize for you, but know that you definitely deserve one. For those of you who are really interested and want to know more, then I suggest you check out our records management website.
For those of you whose brain is overloading, you can take a look at the pictures on our Flickr site. We don’t have cute cats, but we do have lots of photos of cows. Hopefully, they can ease the pain of thinking about organizing your files.