In honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to acknowledge the ten things we love about records management. From Webinars to Teamwork, analysts Joslyn Ceasar and Raul Gonzalez wrote about 5 things they each love about records management, and what those things mean to them.
Joslyn Ceasar: Joslyn’s approach was to records management and Valentine’s Day was to think of records management elements as people and what she would give to them on Valentine’s Day.
If I could give consulting a Valentine’s Day gift, I would give it a giant teddy bear. I love consulting because it is one of the best tools we have to help local governments and state agencies with their records management program. The government information analysts at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission are invested in state agencies and local governments learning as much as they can about records and information management and best practices. We love to connect with entities via email, phone, or even remote meeting if needed. We encourage local governments and state entities to contact us anytime with their records management questions. We will do our best to answer your questions in the best way possible!
What I love about our webinars is twofold: First, our webinars offer a dive deep into records management topics. Second, TSLAC has a library of webinars available for state agencies and local governments to access anytime, anywhere through our website. Our webinars include Records Management Basics, Email Management Basics, Social Media Records mini videos, and Disposition 101. Check out our full collection of archived webinars on our website! Webinars definitely deserve a nice Valentine’s Day card with a sweet note for all they do in sharing knowledge and remaining accessible.
If I could, I’d give Schedule GR a dozen red roses and a box of chocolate. (I may buy the roses and eat the chocolate in Schedule GR’s honor). Schedule GR, Retention Schedule for Records Common to All Local Governments, is the more general retention schedule that all local governments can use to classify their records and find minimum retention periods. Schedule GR includes all kinds of record series, from administrative records like contracts, leases, and agreements, personnel records like employment applications, and information technology records such as system security records! Schedule GR is one of the most frequently referenced schedules government information analysts use when helping local governments classify their records. In fact, it is so important, it is automatically checked on our SLR 512 (for elected officials) and SLR 508 (for other local governments) compliance forms. When in doubt, check Schedule GR out!
No worries, state agency readers, we love the Texas State Records Retention Schedule, too! Check out the RRS on our website that contains similar record series and retention periods as that of Schedule GR.
Records Management Officers
Records Management Officers, we love you! You all are the backbone to good records management in local governments and state agencies. If RMOs could receive a Valentine’s Day gift, it would be a candlelit dinner with a beautiful serenade! RMOs work hard to achieve compliance and share the important knowledge throughout their agency. Records management may seem like thankless work but know that the government information analysts here at TSLAC see and value your hard work and dedication to the craft!
If I had to give a Valentine’s Day gift to electronic records, it would definitely be candy hearts. Electronic records are becoming the standard way records are created and received. We must love them, even if that means we have to learn to love them. Thankfully, when transitioning from a mostly paper-based system to a mostly electronic-based system, Bulletin B can help! Bulletin B summarizes the administrative rules that provide the standards and procedures for managing electronic records. This Bulletin helps guide local governments to use proper standards when implementing, or updating, an electronic system for records and information access and storage. For state agencies, Bulletin 1: Electronic Records Standards and Procedure provides agencies with proper guidelines for their electronic systems. Electronic records are here to stay, and it is up to each local government and state agency to come up with the best strategies to have a responsive electronic management system.
Raul Gonzalez: Raul Gonzalez’s approach to records management and Valentine’s Day was for local governments and state agencies to think about aspects of records management that Records Management Officers and liaisons should love, and apply those elements to their office to make an effective records management program:
The organization aspect of records management is certainly worth falling for. Whether it’s sorting emails by record series or completing inventory lists, keeping your work organized is desirable. Achieving perfection in records management is close to impossible but staying organized is just as rewarding. A well-kept records management program is set for success, ready for any future challenges that may occur. Besides, who doesn’t love clearing a to-do list, just to start a new one for tomorrow? Records management allows us to keep a tidy space, tidy mind, and, finally, a tidy heart.
One thing we’ve come to adore about records management is its ability to adapt. We see this anywhere from new legislation affecting record-keeping requirements to record managers revising their policy and procedure for suitability. However, adaptation can go beyond the response to new rulings. There are new tools and software to combat the growth and challenges of records management. Emerging technologies like content management systems or optical character recognition (OCR) provide relief when organizing and retrieving information. We love records management because it allows us to keep learning about new ideas and tools in our field, as well as implementing these solutions into our records management duties.
Finally, that 75-year retention for a large group of boxes/electronic media is coming to an end. You set a destruction day for the team and do the necessary prep in anticipation. The team celebrates as the disposition log is updated and the records are deleted or tossed into a shredder. As the records turn into confetti, you realize you weren’t there for the creation and original disposition. Were you even born yet? Records management means management spanning decades, the passing of one era of work to another. We treasure this kind of camaraderie since the records management of today is not the same as 75 years ago. As you take on the destruction of lengthy retentions, realize you are seeing the end of a previous teams’ work and caring for the records of a future team.
Going solo in the records management world can be daunting. How would we be able to carry out all the functions without help? Think about your customer service guru, the policy and procedure genius, the muscle for moving and storing boxes, or the person who sets the coffee pot in the morning. Appreciation of the team is another thing we love about records management. As we carry out our tasks, it is important to realize the number of other responsibilities being completed that keep the department afloat. What many don’t realize is the team reaches further with a whole network of record managers eager to share their ideas and solutions. Knowing there is an abundance of resources and people to rely on makes us cherish this part of records management.
It’s important to make your duty as a Records Management Officer heard. This brings us to another aspect we love about Records Management: Outreach! Who doesn’t love someone that will make sure their office is in compliance and improve productivity, especially when that person is you? Exercise your right to showcase your power as RMO and obtain buy-in. Tap into your creativity and inform your organization through gamification. Let your audience know that you exist and willing to help in their records management program.