Thursday, October 4, 2012

Records Management or Document Management? Differences?

The ECM World is full of acronyms, concepts and terms which boundaries seem extremely confusing.
Every day we talk about Records Management, but few really know what you mean with this term and how it differs from Document Management.
We will try to resolve this confusion by explaining two fundamental aspects that differentiate them.

Records and Documents are not the same
A document may be a record, but not all documents are records. Records are about management and business activity, so they are usually subject to compliance with laws, either for storage or edition once created.

Not all document management software can help you with your records

Usually, the concern for document management software is allowing access and retrieval of documents in digital format by many users. This usually allows collaborative work with documents, but not all ECM or DM systems can ensure special treatment for tax documents, labor, contract or others that require it.

Some opinions were brought on a conversation on Linkedin that I thought worth sharing:

In my point of view, records management (RM) is really about process of managing records 
Ifecycle from the point of creation, classification, storing, securing and finally destruction. Records for an organisation can be tangible format (documents, folders, certificate, media, microfiche, etc) and non-tangible format (emails, database, electronic documents, etc). Records and document management (DM) often have overlapping areas. In my experience with the Asian market, records management are less emhasize unless the clients are the government agencies and related organization. Thus DM space is huge compare to the RM space. Differences? It is the way of handling the contents. RM is based on several industries and government standards and practices while DM is based on loose practises and more relying on the businesses SOP. Furthermore, in order for a system to be label as records management required strict adhere to industries standards while any tom, dick and harry can produce a DM. That's why you can see the market is flooded with DM software but not RM software. My two cents view
Kenny Hoh

The basic difference between records and document management is the meaning of the entity being handled i.e. document or a record 
A record is a piece of evidence about the past that cannot be edited e.g. emails, signed contracts, transcripts, salary slip etc which are usually disposed as per a set of governance rules. 
A document is "content in progress" which can be modified or deleted before baselining is done and it is converted into a record. 
The only difference between systems managing the two is that records need to have set disposition rules set into place and normally cannot be deleted in an adhoc manner while documents can. 
There are other differences but these would be main in my opinion.
Delia Dias

You can always refer to the ISO 15489-1: 2001 standard regarding record management. It defines records management as the "field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records". Delia's description is far more readable!!!! Remember there may (will) be National or State legislation on record management ie disposal times, stored in a form that cannot be altered etc. Documents, particularly policies, generally have a lifecycle and when archived due to new version being created they are stored as a record.
Bruce Tually

In simplest words possible
Document management means managing a document from the creation to versionning to routing and finally archiving

records management:
a record can be anything that matters and needs to be recorded.. for example you can have a 1 document in your dm system and 1000 records about this document in your RM system ... and those records would be who modified the document and what are the modifications and when... who created versions.. what are the differences...etc

DM applies for documents only whether electronic, paper based, audio, cad, video...etc
while RM applies for anything and mostly actions or things that you might even say... in movies they would say to the judge: just for the record your honor :-)
Tariq Khatib

The conversation is here, in the DMS Group at Linkedin:

If you need more information about Records Management Consulting, please contact Porter Roth Associates.

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1 comment:

  1. Records management in Kentucky is not just about long-term storage, but rather end-to-end management of information from creation, operational usage, and storage to final disposition.