The International Records Management Standards

free essayThe paper looks into the aspect of archiving and records management within an organization. The five standards for the paper has been chosen, because they contain various elements and contexts that provide necessary framework for an organization to launch a comprehensive and effective records management within its locality. On the other hand, there are further international standard that has been recommended for the chosen company. The recommended ones are mainly for the given company to adopt and implement due to the various important aspects that they contain regarding the management of archives and records. The comprehensive conclusion for the paper provides an efficient summary of the outcomes of the research paper and provides the benefits that the international standards discussed can give to a company in general.

One of the most critical aspects of management is for any given company to understand the strategic and critical issues within its record and information management. Therefore, the importance of undertaking this project is that it enables an individual to understand their role regarding management of records and information by focusing on the international standards that the company follows or plans to use in future. Furthermore, the project is important as it will enable a broad and clear understanding of the standards of archives and records management that are currently used internationally. The information was mainly collected through interactive interviews with the records and information management department personnel and comprehensive study of the record management databases within the company. Other methods will include a review of various websites especially those that deal with international standards related to archiving and information management. The paper covers several sections in trying to undertake this task. The various sections include a company overview, a list of 5 standards, three recommended international standards, and a summary or conclusion of the given research paper. Apparel GROUP Company has been chosen as the main study subject for the project.

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Company Overview: The section will mainly cover the overview of the given company. The section gives a comprehensive view of the nature of business, various branches that the business has and the kind of records and information that they deal with including the locations of the given record. Furthermore, the section will look into the availability of records management software in the company and the management system of a given record.

A list of five international standards: The section gives a description of five international standards that the company applies to its records and information management. Major focus on these standards will be in the form of name and codes of the standards, the overview of the given standards, and their coverage area. Other aspects include the importance of standards and its benefits towards record and information management.

Details about three international standards: The section gives details about three international standards that exists and are used by the company or have been recommended to be used by the company in future.

Conclusion: The conclusion covers a comprehensive summary of the outcomes of the entire project and how the application of various standards discussed will be of benefit to the company’s operation in general. The section will further give various lessons learned from the project.

Company Overview

Apparel Group is a company that deals mostly with the retail of global fashion and lifestyle and resides in Dubai, which is one of the major cities in the United Arab Emirates (“About Apparel Group,” 2015). The company mainly caters for the numerous shoppers through 55 international brands that it retails in over 1250 stores that it has established on four continents of the world. The retail conglomerate started in 1999 with a single brand and aims to have over 1500 stores in the next year (“About Apparel Group,” 2015). The company’s impressive growth in the last 17 years can further be attributed to the acquisition of the majority of world class fashion labels that exist around the world. For example, various fashion label names around the world such as Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Nine West, Tim Horton’s, and Aldo are all owned by Apparel Group.

The company’s major cosmetic brands include Inglot, Bottega Verde, which contain products that are meant to be high sensorial and effective and well developed to meet the need for beauty. The other product is the Gossip Milano, which is a makeup product that was mainly established for people with a passion for putting on makeup and s love to do experiments with new ideas of beauty (“About Apparel Group,” 2015). The fashion brands include Calvin Klein, Empora, and Aeropostale among others. The company has managed to employ over 12,000 staff all over the four continents with 3 106 of the employees located in its main headquarters in Dubai. Even though the company has its strong roots in other Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, it has managed to open other thriving gateways in other locations such as South Africa, Singapore, and India (“About Apparel Group,” 2015). The company has further established plans to enter into other markets such as Egypt, Iraq, etc.

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In terms of information, the company deals with a different kind of information since it has branches around the world. As a fashion company, the organization mainly deals with information such as the emergence of new fashion in the market, information about the strength and weaknesses of their competitors in the market, and information regarding the best designers around the world. On the other hand, the company deals with other internal information such as information regarding international and national trade policies, information on the rate of government tax and other government requirements that change and are updated almost daily. The company keeps and uses a wide variety of records based on its expansive market coverage of the world. Some of these records include sales data, company’s employees and staff data, records of both local and international fashion labels, products data records, and data on the fashion market trends in different markets around the world (“About Apparel Group,” 2015). Apparel Group as a company has established comprehensive database departments within its various branches. The database management department is mainly tasked with the company’s records and information management and stores the records within each branch, which is then forwarded to the main database department at the headquarters in Dubai.

The aspect of creating a record and information management system that is robust is often a difficult challenge for any given organization. However, without any such system company risks losing vital records and wasting a lot of time in search of important records, not forgetting the expenditures on government penalties for the missing records. Apparel Group has therefore started using record management software within the company’s database. The main record management software used by Apparel is the Insight RIMM software, which is a special type of management software designed specifically to aid companies that want to establish and maintain credible organization records management policies and procedures. The software makes it easy for a company to identify its available records, trace its records and make a decision on how to properly manage the records throughout their operational life cycle. Furthermore, Apparel Group has hired twenty archiving teams members located in Dubai to aid in records and data management.

A List of Five International Standards

Standards can often be relevant and meaningful in terms of providing the necessary guidance and guidelines for corporate managers to consider while undertaking various tasks within their organizations. In records management, standards often try to address different things which include the principles of record management and the records management system requirement (Smallwood, 2013). On the other hand, there are various standard bodies that are responsible for the development, monitoring, and approval of the given standards. There are several benefits that can be attributed to standards. The benefits include:

Support of quality assurance: A given product that has been certified and found to meet the required standards always gives a sense of confidence regarding quality.

Cost reduction: The support that is accorded to system uniformity has enabled the users to acquire an advantage of getting low requirements regarding maintenance and training costs.

International consensus: The established standards can at times represent the recommendation of best practices based on the global experience.

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However there are certain disadvantages for promoting standards which include standard confusion, since in various occasions, there can be problems arising from the overlapping and competing standards, especially regarding the national standards and the ISO standards.

The five standards of records and archive management usually include the following.

ISO 15489: Documentation-Records and Information Management

The standard was launched in 2001 and was designed specifically to meet the continuous generic requirement for recordkeeping in the ever busy corporate environment. The standard is highly used in both non-governmental and government organizations (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The ISO 15489 has two parts, which cover the general and guideline aspects of record management.

ISO 15489: Concepts and Principles: This part offers a framework level for keeping records and provides a comprehensive explanation concerning the aspect of managing proper records. The aspect further provides the importance and legal consideration involved in making an organization be responsible for keeping records (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The part further looks into the aspects required to manage good records and how to design a proper record keeping system.

ISO 15489: Guidelines: This aspect is more concerned with providing guidelines on how to turn the advice given in the first part into effective practices. It further provides specific details on how the records management policies are developed and the subsequent statement of responsibility. Finally, it discusses different ways in which an organization can use different tools to manage records.

Applying this standard to records and information management is beneficial, because it provides organizations with detailed specifications on the required contents and the framework for implementing programs related to record management within a given company.

ISO/TR 18128:2014: Risk Assessment for Records Processes and Systems

ISO/TR 18128:2014 was designed mainly to assist companies in making the assessment of the various risks in record systems and process to ensure that the organization’s records meet the identified needs of the business. The standard further covers the methods that are used for analyzing the identified organizational risks that are related to records system and process. Furthermore, it establishes various guidelines that can be used to conduct risk assessment related to records system and process (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The main benefit of applying this standard, however, is because it can be used by all companies regardless of their nature, size, and complexity of their structure and functions. The given factors coupled with various regulatory regimes, under which a given company operates and prescribes how its records are created and controlled, are usually taken into account when conducting risk identification and assessment related to records system and records. Furthermore, the standard can effectively be used by any people or records professionals who have the responsibility to manage records in a company and by the auditors responsible for risk management programs within a given company.

ISO/TR 13028:2010- Implementation Guidelines for Digitization of Records

The principles and structure that are necessary to create and maintain records in digital format require proper standards. The standard further establishes the best guidelines for the practice of digitization to ensure that the records are reliable and can be trusted. Another aspect is that the standards establish the guidelines that ensure that the digitized records that have been archived can be accessed any time they are required. Finally, the standard also covers the guidelines on how non-digitized source records are managed after they have been digitized (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The main benefit of applying this standard is because it ensures credible guidelines on how digital and non-digitized data is managed. The standard is highly applicable in the conduct and design or responsible digitization, especially by any company that undertakes the aspect of digitization. The standard is, however, not applicable in certain processes such as the capture and effective management of records that are born-digital. Other non-applicable aspects include digital capture specifications and record deposition procedures.

ISO 13008:2012-Digital Records Conversion and Migration Process

The standard was established in 2012 and guidelines on the conversion methods of records from a given format to another and the subsequent migration from one hardware configuration to another (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The standard also contains the applicable requirement for records management and the organization’s framework for carrying out the process of conversion, an issue of technological planning and the control and monitoring process. The standard further identifies various components, steps, and methodologies for each of the processes mentioned above by covering various topics such as testing workflow validation and control. Therefore, the main benefit of applying this standard is that it provides guidelines and ensure that with the rapid rise in technological changes, the records that exist in a particular digital form will have to be converted from one format to another in a reliable manner. Furthermore, it will ensure that the records are safely transferred between different systems to ensure that there is a continued process ability and accessibility.

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ISO 22310:2006: Guidelines for Standards Drafters for Stating Records Management Requirements in Standards

The standard was established in 2006 and allows for the appropriate inclusion of records requirements in terms of the creation and retention of the given records. The standard also highlights the different elements that require consideration as major components of the main framework for comprehensive record management (“ISO 15489-1: 2016,” n. d.). The main important detail of the standard is that it can be used by all the other ISO bodies that are involved in standards records management development. On the other hand, the standard can be used by other non-ISO organizations that develop at both the national and international level, and which also are in the process of establishing requirements for record management standards. The main benefit of applying it is that it enables organizations to access the required guidelines that they need in the process of creating or developing their record management framework.

Details about Three International Standards

Apparel Group as a company that also operates internationally has adopted international standards in its record management. The three existing international standards that can be recommended for Apparel Group in this case include the following.

International Standard 1

ISO/TR 26122:2008 “Information Documentation-Work Process Analysis for Records”

Apparel group has to deal with huge work analyses and data records received from various locations. Therefore, this standard is recommended to the company. The various data that the company receives, such as sales data and data on other operational aspect of the company, often undergoes a comprehensive analysis to enable the company to understand major aspects of its operation, such as profitability and projections on sales. The standard is mainly recommended, because it provides valuable guidance on the work analysis within the company from the perspective of the capture, creation, and records control. The two types of analysis that the standard covers include the functional analysis and the sequential analysis (Smallwood, 2013). Each of them tends to contain a preliminary review of the various contexts that is always appropriate for a given analysis. Furthermore, the components that make up the given analysis can always be undertaken in different combinations and order, depending on the project scale, the nature of the given task, and the purpose of the analysis itself. The standard gives a practical description of the application theory that is outlined in ISO15489.The aspect makes it mostly independent of technology, meaning the standard can be effectively applied without considering the technological environment. However, the standard also can be used to comprehensively assess the inadequacy of the available technical tools that provide support to a work process within an organization. Finally, current work processes rather are the focus of the standard rather than the work. The aspect implies that there are organizational automation processes that exist either in whole or partially in the aspect where the given information, task, or documentation are passed from one particular participant to another for a given action, according to the given rules.

International Standard 2

The standard is divided into three different parts: part one, which deals with the principles; part two, which deals with conceptual and implementation issues; and the third part, which handles the self-assessment methods.

ISO23081-1:2006- Records management processes-Metadata for Records-Principles

The standard is another archive and record management standard that has been highly recommended to Apparel Group for future use by records professionals and auditors (Smallwood, 2013). The standard mainly cover various principles that govern and underpin records management of metadata. The principles often apply to records and their given metadata, all the process that affects the records, the system that the records resides in, and the company responsible for the management of the records.

ISO23081-2:2009-Information documentation-managing metadata for records-conceptual and implementation issues

The standard establishes a dependable framework that can effectively be used to define the elements of metadata that are consistent with the principles that are outlined in the first part ISO23081-1:2006 (Smallwood, 2013).The main purpose of the framework is to allow for the standardization and description of various records and their critical contextual entities. Another purpose is to establish a common understanding of various aggregation fixed points to allow for an efficient interoperability of information and records between various business systems. The final purpose of the framework is to allow for the re-use and efficient standardization of metadata that is used to effectively manage records over space-time and across various applications. Finally, the standard identifies various critical decisions that require attention and documentation to allow for efficient metadata implementation of record management.

ISO23081-3:2011-managing metadata for records-self assessment method

The third part of this standard provides the necessary guidance for conducting an effective self-assessment on metadata records about capture creation and records control. The self-assessment provided by the standard is important in various aspects, which include identifying the present state of metadata management and capture across various organizations and the various priorities of the things to work on (Smallwood, 2013). The self-assessment further helps in the evaluation of the development progress of metadata framework that is necessary for implementing specific projects and system.

International Standard 3

ISO 14721:2003-Space Data and Information Transfer Systems-Open Archival Information Systems

This standard is aimed at establishing a comprehensive archiving information system, which can be either physical or digitalized, with a business corporation scheme that is composed of personalities who accept the responsibility to preserve records and information and make it available whenever needed (Smallwood, 2013). The standard model tends to handle a wide range of aspects of preserving archival information. The aspects include the archival storage, ingest, access management, and management of data. The standard model further addresses the models of data that has been applied in representing given information. The role is usually played by management software in the process of preserving information and the aspect of digital information exchange within various archives. Other aspects provided by the standard include identifying the external and the internal archive function interfaces and the various service levels for the given interfaces. More broadly, the standard provides the best illustrative examples to be used in the conversion of data and recommends the best practice to be used by organizations. The standard further defines various minimal sets of delegated responsibility that make an archive be referred to as an OAIS within organization management records, and defines the maximal or the highest interface level of an archive with the main aim of establishing a wide set of important concepts and terms to be used in archiving and records management.

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Furthermore, the fragility of the aspect of digital storage, when combined with the rapid changes in computer hardware and software, has often produced a great challenge towards ensuring access to reliable and trustworthy digital content in real-time. It is important to note that the model presented in the given standard (OAIS model) can be applied to any aspect of archiving within an organization. In most cases, it tends to apply to the organizations that have been given the responsibility of developing certain information to be used long term.


In conclusion, the aspect of using the standard method of record management forms a vital undertaking within any given organization as seen in the outcomes of the above project. The standards are important in ensuring quality, trustworthiness, and reliability of organizations records and information, which is the main aim of international standards of record management. The standard ISO 15489, which mainly deals with record management, has formed the standard basis for record management in various organizations due to its ability to provide the necessary framework for keeping records and a comprehensive explanation concerning the aspect of managing proper records. Other standards have further aided in providing the necessary guidelines, principles, and concepts necessary for the process of effective management an organization’s record. The standards as found in the above project will benefit the company with various frameworks and guidelines that would enable them to manage their records in a manner that adds quality and reliability to different records that are kept in the organization. The main lesson learned in this project is that every undertaking regarding handling records and information must be done according to specific international standards. Another lesson is that people value quality, which is only achieved through producing and managing various aspects according to the established standards.

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