Definition

Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (the Principles)

Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles is a framework for managing records in a way that supports an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk mitigation, environmental and operational requirements.

The framework, which is also known as simply the Principles, has eight precepts for creating information governance best practices:

Principle of Accountability - An organization shall assign a senior executive who will oversee a recordkeeping program and delegate program responsibility to appropriate individuals, adopt policies and procedures to guide personnel and ensure program audit ability.

Principle of Transparency - The processes and activities of an organization’s recordkeeping program shall be documented in an understandable manner and be available to all personnel and appropriate interested parties.

Principle of Integrity - A recordkeeping program shall be constructed so the records and information generated or managed by or for the organization have a reasonable and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.

Principle of Protection - A recordkeeping program shall be constructed to ensure a reasonable level of protection to records and information that are private, confidential, privileged, secret, or essential to business continuity.

Principle of Compliance - The recordkeeping program shall be constructed to comply with applicable laws and other binding authorities, as well as the organization’s policies.

Principle of Availability - An organization shall maintain records in a manner that ensures timely, efficient, and accurate retrieval of needed information.

Principle of Retention - An organization shall maintain its records and information for an appropriate time, taking into account legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational and historical requirements.

Principle of Disposition - An organization shall provide secure and appropriate disposition for records that are no longer required to be maintained by laws and organizational policies.

The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles were created with the assistance of ARMA International and legal and IT professionals who reviewed and distilled global best practice resources. These included the international records management standard ISO15489-1 from the American National Standards Institute and court case law. The Principles were vetted through a public call-for-comment process involving the professional records information management (RIM) community.

See also: records management,  information governance, enterprise information management

This was last updated in March 2014

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The focus on effective records management is appropriate and valuable, but it misses an essential truth: effective records management is founded on the availability of manageable records which is founded on workplaces that are capable of generating those records.  Unfortunately, the workplace  automation design and implementation world is largely (perhaps purposely)unaware of the requirements for easy and efficient creation of manageable records from the working content used in workplace operations.
In effect, the workplace world views content (records) it generates and uses from a cross-sectional perspective: "what is available now and how do I use it?" rather than an appropriate longitudinal perspective: "how will the content I am working with now be organized into manageable records for the future?"
Somehow, the records management and workplace worlds must recognize that each other exist and begin exploration of how their resources and requirements can integrate and support one another.  In a software product/vendor focused world, this won't be easy but if we are to manage the rapidly exploding world of records management, it is a must.
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