Completed my last teaching session at University College Dublin last week. This autumn semester I’ve been teaching the Records Management module to the students on the Masters course in Archives and Records Management whilst one of the lecturers is on maternity leave. I’m really grateful for opportunity I was given. It was a bit scary at the start but really enjoyable and it was no hardship going to Dublin every fortnight! They are a great bunch of students this academic year and I wish them the very best for their future careers.
Delighted to attend the launch of Margaret Crockett’s new book, “The No-nonsense Guide to Archives and Recordkeeping” at the British Library last night and to have the opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues after entertaining short talks from David Leitch (Secretary-General, International Council on Archives), Alison North (Director, AN Ltd), and Iain Brown (IT Security Consultant). David gave an entertaining overview of the international archive and records management scene, whilst Alison’s talk was all about information governance and how the use of that phrase is far more ‘sexy’ than records management but, nevertheless, the route to ensuring that better RM is in place! Iain followed up with an interesting and amusing account of current challenges such as cyber theft, which tied in much of what the previous two speakers had said.
The book is a practical guide for those just starting out in the profession or who have no formal training and is based on the excellent training days run by Margaret and her business partner Janet Foster as The Archive-Skills Consultancy Ltd. More details on Margaret’s book here – http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=048552#.VqddsyqLTIU
Whilst on the subject of new books, another friend, James Earlby, has brought out an e-book about corporate governance in the football world, which is based on his Master’s dissertation in Corporate Governance. And, as we all know, good recordkeeping has its part to play in corporate governance! For more on James’ book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Corporate-Governance-Performance-Scottish-Football-ebook/dp/B01AC1H98M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452586610&sr=8-1&keywords=corporate+governance+and+firm+performance+in+english+and+scottish+football
In the last two weeks I’ve had the delight of staying in both London and Dublin. It seems to be my year for speaking engagements! In 2018 The Economist newspaper will be 175 years old and a European Research Council funded project at University College London has been looking at the status and practices of this singular publication. On 24-25 September UCL hosted a conference about The Economist with the aim of identifying a set of people and themes which will lead to a book of essays on the past and present of The Economist to be published to mark the 175th anniversary. I was asked to speak about the archives of The Economist (where I have been helping to identify and arrange material) and to suggest areas for potential research.
The following week I was off to Ireland to speak at a one-day conference on “Issues in Contemporary Records Management” at University College Dublin. Records Management is still somewhat in its infancy in Ireland, so all credit to Julie Brooks of UCD for obtaining the funding and pulling together an excellent cross-section of speakers, mostly from the UK, who spoke about different challenges, including Julie McLeod on current research in the field, Zoe Smyth on dispositioning in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Conan Tormey on the corporate world of banking, Alan Bell on FOI and the challenges of RM in the university environment, Claire Johnson on her experience as a consultant, Mark Farrell on the scope for working in the RM sector in Ireland, and my own talk on the “big bucket” approach to retention scheduling. There’s clearly a demand for this type of training and for information about RM as the event was fully booked within a day of being advertised. The audience came from all sectors of work and included the students on the UCD course. The panel at the end of day faced a multitude of questions and the audience clearly had more but most of the speakers had long journeys home, so a halt had to be called! A very enjoyable and successful day.
Attended the launch of the Archives & Records Association’s “Don’t Risk It! Know Your Records” campaign yesterday at London Metropolitan Archives. It’s ARA’s first advocacy campaign for records management and has been developed by the Section for Records Management & Information Governance. The campaign aims to increase understanding of the importance of good records management and raise awareness of the risks of not managing records properly. It’s also intended to provide practical help and advice to anyone with records management responsibility by means of a toolkit, which is available on the ARA website – www.archives.org.uk/campaigns/knowyourrecords.html . Look out too for other activities taking place this autumn, including a “Bring the Boss” event in November.
In the meantime, check out the website and start promoting those core messages –
· There are significant benefits and economies for organisations which get records management right
· The legal and reputational dangers of getting recordkeeping wrong can be profound
· More organisations need to employ and empower recordkeeping professionals and use his or her skills wisely
My thoughts, views and musings about what's happening in the world of archives and records management, information and heritage