DAM it! July 12, 2011

Barbie and ken reunite in the Web 2.0 world (image from hardblogcafe.com).

Digital modes of business and have changed recordkeeping practices dramatically. The ‘ground rules’ have shifted and now it’s harder for staff to even identify what a digital record is, let alone understand when and how they need to capture it!

As so much recordkeeping needs to happen at an individual level it is our collective responsibility as recordkeeping professionals to arm staff in our organisations with the skills to meet their new responsibilities.

At State Records NSW we have a professional development program to raise staff awareness, knowledge and skills about digital recordkeeping issues. As part of this program we host an annual Digital Awareness Month, known affectionately as ‘DAM’.

DAM provides an opportunity for our staff to take a little time out of their regular work routines to learn more about digital records archives and the impacts of digital recordkeeping.

During DAM 2001, held in June, we took a lighthearted approach. Each week we sent all staff members an e-newsletter. These were colourful and full of fun facts, trivia, silly photos and quizes but also contained some important conceptual and factual information our staff needed to know about.
For example, one newsletter was mainly devoted to issues concerning Web 2.0 and recordkeeping. A small piece of trivia in this newsletter described how the Mattel Ken doll opened a Twitter and Facebook account in order to win back the affections of his former girlfriend, Barbie. For those of you who love a happy ending, you will be pleased to know the couple were reunited on Valentine’s Day this year!

As part of DAM, we also offered three presentations for staff during the month, focusing on different digital recordkeeping issues; metadata, digital archives and Web 2.0.

We are happy to say that DAM was a very useful awareness raising exercise. A post-DAM survey revealed that it was welcomed by employees. Some comments included:

  • ‘Congratulations: I think it’s a DAM fine idea!’
  • ‘Thanks. A useful supplement to other professional development opportunities.’
  • ‘Loved the newsletters: very entertaining.’

Why not consider organising something like DAM in your own organisations to raise awareness of digital recordkeeping? A little more knowledge might help your employees feel empowered to ‘do the right thing.’ It might also be a useful marketing exercise for you – to let the organisation know about the excellent work you are doing in protecting and managing their important information assets!

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