Off the Record: RIM Month Special Edition– Blockchain, Record Tampering, Internet Archive: Oh My!

Tune in monthly for a curated collection of articles we found interesting on a broad range of topics; some which are directly related to records management and others which might share common themes.

No, we didn’t write these articles —hence the name of this series, “Off the Record”— but fortunately, we didn’t need to in order to share the knowledge with our subscribers.

Let us know in the comments below what topics you are interested in learning more about!

This month, we’re featuring one of our analyst’s fur children, miniature schnauzers Grendel and Friday.

What blockchain means for records management” — GCN

Friday says, “Prick your ears and read about this important information!”

“Blockchain” is the latest technology buzzword mostly discussed alongside cryptocurrencies, methods of exchanging money using cryptography for security. It turns out, it has a place in records management as well– at least according to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

While still theoretical in nature, NARA recently released a white paper looking into “whether distributed ledger technology could be useful in ensuring the authenticity of records, especially through features [like] long-term storage of digital signatures”.

Of course, this raises concerns, not only for NARA, but also for any entity considering this type of digital security and transfer, regarding a “shift from a centralized model of trust to a network-based model” and the potential records management implications of how records are organized and managed.

Why there’s so little left of the early internet“- Stephen Dowling

In case you needed it, here’s your warning that without a plan and intentional actions taken, the information and records you create virtually (electronically?) is vulnerable and at risk of disappearing at anytime.

Grendel insists, “Don’t be like me with fur in your eyes! Keep listening and learning!”

“We consider the material we post onto social networks as something that will always be there, just a click of a keyboard away. …[T]he recent loss of some 12 years of music and photos on the pioneering social site Myspace…shows that even material stored on the biggest of sites may not be safe.”

While this article is specifically speaking to the loss of the early internet and growing challenge, oftentimes inability, to continually capture and archive the data created over time, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Don’t rely solely on the internet (and other third-party providers) to provide long term access to your information.

“Central Texas jail administrator arrested” – KWTX

Oftentimes as records managers we struggle with answering our colleagues questions about whether there are real world economic and legal ramifications to mismanaging records and their concerns regarding potential mistakes. While we should continue to point to Section 202.009 of the Local Government Records Act highlighting the penalties of intentionally destroying records, and the distinction of “intentional” versus “accidental” destruction, as well as the Public Information Act, rest assured that “knowingly…destroying or alienating a local government records” has repercussions.

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