RIM-Brain: The Horror

By: Anne Poulos, Rebecca Hanna

Jack-o'-lantern.

It is that time of year to get ready for the anticipation of terror and dust off the horror features. From movies to television, we in the records management field begin to see records and information management (RIM) applications in our entertainment. Below are two examples:

(Warning: Some spoilers ahead!)

The Mummy (1999)

Egyptian mummy

While the film holds considerable connections to our sister discipline archaeology (October is Texas Archaeology Month), there are also scenes where RIM practices apply.

The introduction of Eve Carnahan, a librarian and aspiring archaeologist, is seen working at the Cairo Museum of Antiquities. While shelving books, she collides with the bookcases after losing her balance on a ladder. This accidentally knocks down the bookcases causing the books, boxes, and loose leaf paper records to scatter across the room. For workplace disasters, not only will the entity need to document what happened and the scope of the damage, but also check to make sure everything that went flying is accounted for in accordance with their inventory. This would be a good time to review their storage facility setup to make sure the accident won’t happen again.

For such cases we would recommend documenting the what, where, when, who, and how of the incident, and the measures in the prevention and protection against such mishaps. Bulletin F outlines the requirements and recommendations for records storage in protection from hazards such as structural collapse. Had they implemented these standards the museum would have researched into the set up of the bookcases, and possibly consider sturdier cases that are not aligned in a circular arrangement.

Next piece of guidance, is to make sure that all records are documented in the inventory to provide protection for records of both permanent and business value, and potentially mapping out the locations of the records as described in Bulletin C. By applying inventory practices would help identify what information was stored in which bookcase in case of any requests for records. Also, it is a good time to reevaluate the inventory in case any records went missing or were not shelved in the proper location.

For a deeper dive into records storage, check out our webinar Storage and Preservation of Paper Records.

Scream: The TV Series (2015-2019)

Once it is determined who Ghost Face is, the killer in the show, and how they became Ghost Face, you begin to understand the failure in proper records management security the Lakewood Police Department, the town in the show, has for their confidential records. Ghost Face obtains confidential information by secretively walking into the police department, ducking so the guard does not see them, and enters the record storage room that contains confidential records. Now, I am really ghost face from this lack of security access.

If the police department had taken the proper security measures like State Records Management Laws, §441.183(4), the Local Government Records Act, §203.003, and 13 TAC §7, Subchapter F require, Ghost Face would have faced a locked door when they tried to enter the record storage room. The police department should have a guard securing the room, badge access, or a key that restricts unauthorized users.

Ghostface from Scream standing behind two signs with arrows pointing different directions. First sign says "proper record storage" and other sign says "I terrorize the town."

Due to the Lakewood Police Department’s failure, the citizens of the town were not protected, subject to harassment by Ghost Face, and wrongfully arrested. We shake our heads at you Lakewood P.D., and say next time, please implement proper security measures. You are responsible for a town’s records where a well-known murder spree happened, and reporters are always swarming. Lakewood P.D., you clearly have confidential records that many people would like to get their hands on.


Ghostface from Scream asking "What's your favorite retention period?"

What other RIM Brain have you experienced this Halloween season? Let us know in the comments.

Checkout our other RIM Brain articles:

Happy Halloween!

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