Enterprise search – the answer to all our problems or technology that most users neither need nor want? March 25, 2015 2 Comments

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Enterprise search technologies have been widely touted as the answer to the massive quantities of information being created and kept in many organisations today. Employees won’t need to know where particular information is kept – they will be able to search for the information across network drives, email systems, traditional document and records management systems and other repositories.

Some think that the implementation of enterprise search will boost the productivity of employees and thereby increase an organisation’s profits. In fact, we referred to a survey that found that organisations could save millions of dollars by improving the ability of users to find relevant information in our last post.

Yesterday’s meeting of State Records’ Digital Implementers Group focussed on enterprise search technologies. We were keen to hear about the experiences of NSW public sector organisations in implementing these technologies, and the uses they are being put to. The current situation within the organisations represented at the meeting was not what we expected, but very interesting none the less! Read the rest of this entry »

Metadata enables users to find records and information March 5, 2015 No Comments

3198241988_d40d115213_zA survey by Brisbane-based information management specialists Glentworth has revealed that organisations across the private and public sectors are losing millions of dollars in productivity each year as staff waste time finding information. Glentworth used the minimum award wage of $16.87 per hour, combined with the average time it took survey respondents to find information at work (44.36 minutes), to determine that organisations could save millions of dollars by improving the ability of users to find relevant information.

Carefully structured metadata in combination with good system search functionality can help users to find and use business information quickly and easily when they need to. Using defined categories or elements (e.g. ‘Creator’, ‘Title’, ‘Date Created’ etc.), and then assigning particular terms within these, facilitates specific search queries that can target relevant categories rather than needing to search across all metadata.

Metadata can also connect related records so that a consolidated picture of a business process, subject or matter is provided. Read the rest of this entry »

New Standard on Records Management issued to the NSW Public Sector March 2, 2015 No Comments

look downstairs into stairwell whirlThe Standard on Records Management was issued to the NSW public sector today. It has been over a year of planning, development and consultation, and we had some great feedback from the professional community.

The standard is now available on the State Records NSW website together with implementation resources. A comprehensive implementation guide is available here.

The standard has been designed to support digital recordkeeping as NSW Government transitions from paper to digital business processes. Underpinning all requirements in the standard is the need to ensure that requirements support digital records and information management through sound information management practices. Importantly, the standard has been framed and targeted to support good digital information practices in complex business and information environments.

New and updated guidance to support the standard’s implementation is now available on the recordkeeping in the NSW public sector area of the website, particularly the pages under designing, implementing and managing systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Managing information in a mobile working environment February 13, 2015 No Comments

Mobile worker by Michael CoughlanThis week we had our regular digital implementers group. Our session topics are set based on the opportunities and challenges which are at the forefront for the group members. Establishing a robust mobile working environment is becoming important for a large number of organisations.

The group members, as always, represented a large and diverse cross section. Information and Records Managers, ICT Managers, project managers and hands-on practitioners were all in the room sharing their diverse perspectives. These members represent government departments and agencies, state owned corporations, local government, and cultural institutions.

Current state of mobile working

As usual, the meeting began with group members sharing the current status of their projects and, in particular, their status with the session’s topic of information management for a mobile working environment.

Many of the members have a significant mobile workforce, responsible for some of the most important work conducted by the organisations. Almost all saw a need for executive mobile applications, including email and document management, as well as finance and HR approvals.

However, the clear message was that while they are beginning to adopt mobile technologies, the information and records management functionality is frequently underestimated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Enhancing the effectiveness of an EDRMS/ECM system January 29, 2015 No Comments

Recently I had a very interesting meeting with a New South Wales local council which has revamped its processes for capture, management and application of retention rules to document-based records. They are currently undertaking a multi-phase project to enhanced the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of their digital records management.

This includes:

  • understanding how technology could manage a fully digital process
  • configuring technology for managing information in fully digital processes
  • renewing and maintaining an understanding of business units’ information requirements
  • enhancing the training processes for end users
  • dealing with a backlog of legacy digital information

At the beginning of the project, they identified the following challenges:

  • people still stored significant quantities of documents in shared/network drives, which meant they had poor security controls, multiple versions and duplicates, and no clear place to go for an authoritative version
  • where the EDRMS system was used, file containers relating to a business activity were often held open indefinitely
  • the existing configuration of the system was not always well understood
  • staff were confused by recordkeeping language

Read the rest of this entry »

New podcasts on Future Proof December 2, 2014 No Comments

Last week we had our Records Managers Forum. State Records NSW uses the forum as an opportunity to communicate directly with our public offices, and to get in presenters to speak about allied cross-government programmes and initiatives. Its also a great chance to catch up with colleagues from across the government sector. We also record the speakers and publish podcasts so that those who couldn’t make it on the day, and our colleagues in the wider sector, can hear what was said.

This time, the forum included presentations from the Information and Privacy Commssion, the Office of Finance and Services, and State Records NSW.

Check out http://futureproof.records.nsw.gov.au/the-future-proof-podcast-series/#episode40 to hear these latest podcasts.

Recent digital advice – the challenges currently facing public offices November 25, 2014 No Comments

Recently we’ve been very active out and about talking to public offices about their digital projects and the information management issues they are facing.

Scenarios we talked about included the redevelopment of client management systems, expanding ECM/EDRMS systems to enable collaboration across agencies in a cluster, and the consolidation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. We talked about digital contract management, cloud computing risk assessments, and the proliferation of communication, messaging and collaboration platforms. We talked to a diverse set of organisations:  large operational departments, local councils and small specialist agencies. Read the rest of this entry »

Managing information in cloud systems November 7, 2014 No Comments

cloudsThis week we had our regular EDRMS (Electronic Document and Records Management System) implementers’ group meeting. The meeting’s topic was managing information in cloud systems. A great thing about this group is the wide range of expertise in the room: today there were records and information managers, information specialists, operations directors and business analysts among the group attending. This reflects the diverse expertise required to deal with today’s records and information management issues.

The constant factor was, as always, significant change. People were going through organisational mergers, dealing with the continuing legacy of demergers, and adapting new business models. There was wide agreement in the room that this environment requires a broad information management leadership role; that EDRMS is an important part of a digital organisation, but only part of the solution. A number of excellent examples were related which discussed the expanding, complex role they are increasingly called upon to play. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review of General disposal authority: imaged records October 31, 2014 No Comments

State Records is currently reviewing the General disposal authority for imaged records (GA36). This authority authorises the destruction of the originals of records that  have been imaged (provided that certain conditions have been met) including records required as State archives or required to be retained in agency. Currently the originals of records required as State archives or required to be retained in agency are only authorised for destruction after imaging if they were created on or after 1 January 2000.The main focus of the review was to examine if an earlier date would be appropriate.

We also sought feedback on issues with technical specifications, metadata requirements, the inclusion of microfilm, exclusions and conditions. We would like to thank all the people who responded to our requests for feedback.

We have now prepared an exposure draft of the revised authority that incorporates the comments received and are seeking feedback on the exposure draft. The main proposed changes are:

  • rolling the date range back to 1980 from 2000
  • widening the scope of the authority to include source or original records that have been imaged, copied or converted
  • adding original film negatives and recordings to the excluded records
  • adding to the types of records that are excluded as they have intrinsic value in their original format.

Please forward any feedback on the draft to Angela McGing, Project Officer, Government Recordkeeping, by Friday 21 November at angela.mcging@records.nsw.gov..au

iPres 2014 October 14, 2014 No Comments

Last week the State Records NSW Digital Archives team was in Melbourne for the iPres 2014 Conference.  We presented a poster on Thursday outlining our Migration Methodology during the Posters and Demonstrations session.  Many conference attendees stopped by to talk about the State Records NSW approach to preserving a digital record of government activity, even after contemporary systems are decommissioned.  Some of our visitors requested a copy of the poster to look over in their own time and, for others who were unable to attend,  the full scale PDF is attached to this post along with a preview below.

Migration Methodology Poster v3

Migration Methodology Poster [PDF]