Here at Recordkeeping Innovation we are really pleased to share the news of the arrival of the revised version of the International Standard ISO 15489 Records Management. Both myself and Director Barbara Reed, as members of the Editorial Group responsible for its delivery, have been toiling for over three years on the review, all our blood, sweat and tears culminating in the release of the 2016 version earlier this year. It was formally launched in Wellington, New Zealand in May.
ISO 15489: 2001 was a daunting act to follow. Adopted by 50 countries worldwide and translated into over 15 languages, it was the first global consensus on what recordkeeping professionals are about, and took a significant step away from the work being characterised as physical and custodial and to thinking about the strategic role of the recordkeeper. But, being over 15 years old, it was well and truly time for change.
Changing models of business are extending responsibilities for records beyond traditional organizational and jurisdictional boundaries. There are increased expectations of transparency in decision making from business and government, the general public, customers, users of services, records’ subjects, and others with an interest in how records are created, captured and managed. Expectations for information security are also becoming increasingly significant to stakeholders within and outside of organizational boundaries.
Indeed the very concept of a ‘record’ has changed. It’s not just documents! Given the dynamic nature of systems today, It is much more helpful to think of records as evidence of business that is data – from structured to non-structured along with its contextualising metadata. That data and metadata might be presented in any number of forms, and in different types of groupings or aggregations. In this world, the skills of understanding the rapidly changing business and technological context and of analysing how to best capture the records, the context and the systems based relationships we need are more important than ever.
With the release of ISO 15489: 2016 we have moved away from the remaining conventions and practices that came with paper practicalities. What we now have is a digital-ready, adaptable set of principles and tools to ensure we meet the needs of society, business and government today.
Work is underway via a Standards Australia Committee to adopt ISO 15489 as an Australian Standard, which is likely to involve some small terminological changes for the Australian audience. The International version of the standard, ISO 15489: 2016 is currently available from ISO. Keep an eye out for more information about it in industry magazines and via Standards Australia.