Patricia C. Franks 2016-05-12 11:37:12
For Dr. Patricia C. Franks, who teaches in and coordinates the Master of Archives and Records Administration program (MARA) at San Jose State University, rapidly changing technology is both the cause of and the cure for many of the information problems archivists encounter on a daily basis. That’s one of the reasons why Franks is spearheading a new course within the MARA program that focuses on information lifecycle management, introducing students to the tools they will require in their respective careers as archivists and records management professionals. This first-of-its-kind course in the U.S. on digital preservation systems will provide students with the skills and competencies they need to help their current and future employers manage the entire information lifecycle. SAA talked with Franks about shifting trends in digital preservation and how we can address the challenges of technology. SAA: With an educational background in business, what drew you to the field of archives and records management? PF: My first degree was in business education and my final degree was a PhD in organization and management with an e-business specialization. My interest has always been with business processes that result in the creation of records and the systems used to manage them. Since three to five percent of those records have permanent value, either transferring records to an archive or preserving them in-house is naturally part of that process. SAA: What have been some major shifts and emerging trends—new methods, tools, expectations—that you're seeing in digital preservation? PF: There is a convergence of the types of skills required to fill a variety of positions—records and information managers, digital curators, archivists, and librarians. This means that everyone who touches a record must understand the importance of handling it in a way that those that must be preserved can be preserved. This is one of the reasons we are integrating technology tools, such as Preservica’s digital preservation system for the cloud, into our coursework. There is a trend toward integration of software that enables one to better manage the lifecycle of records and information. This involves understanding the metadata that can be captured and must be added throughout the life of the records and information. SAA: What challenges do archivists and educators face in the way we do our work? PF: Traditionally, archivists deal with inactive information, but we must change our thinking to understand that active records can have value beyond the life of the technology used to create it and a process must be in place to ensure that the records and information are available for the current business process (including data mining, business analytics, knowledge management) as well as preserved to document history and for future research. SAA: How can we address these challenges? PF: Technology alone is not the answer. That is the reason we see the push for information governance programs. Archivists and records and information managers must understand that they are not the complete answer and need to work with others in legal, risk, IT, and business departments within their organization to manage the records and information for the entire organization. That’s what led us to create two new courses in the MARA program on Information Governance and Information Assurance. We’re especially excited about our new course that combines Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation using Office 365, SharePoint Online and Preservica (Trusted Digital Repository). We feel that these technology courses are especially useful for transferring skills right from the course and into the workplace. Our goal is to provide students with the skills and competencies they need to help their current and future employers manage information and records from creation through final disposition—whether destruction or preservation.
Published by Society of American Archivists. View All Articles.
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