How did we get here from there? As rapidly as the world of IT changes, we often forget how recently nearly ALL business documents were paper. To understand where we’re going, here’s a brief look at recent history.
By Gordon Hoke
How did we get here? Despite the staunch efforts of AIIM, ARMA, and myriad practitioners, the Records & Information Management (RIM) world still wrestles with the progression of paper records to electronic records, not to mention the integration of the two media. Paper or plastic? Isolated or federated? Local or remote? The choices are endless. To successfully address these issues, it helps to know the back-story. How did we get here from there?
Until the mid-1980s, almost all business records were physical, that is, the medium that held the information was made up of atoms. Most of that was paper, which, by today’s standard, is an inefficient form for storage. The rest was mostly microform—pretty much the same idea, but denser. Paper had advantages. Reading required no power source, so long as a window was nearby. And file systems were straightforward. It’s not surprising that records management borrowed heavily from Library Science. To this day, most academic degrees in records management are conferred by schools of Library Science.
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