Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Record keeping

One of my first tasks in this new job has been to get my head around our records management systems and processes. The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has created an online assessment tool called Check-up and all government agencies have to submit their assessment by 30th September.

This really just involved talking to as many people as possible about how and when they use the systems and also about associated topics. The assessment asks about audits, business continuity plans, cabinet documents and other corporate governance areas. It was a good introduction to the agency as I learnt a lot while asking these questions.

Record keeping or records management (RM) has always been one of those neglected areas in government organisations from what I have seen. Coming from a law firm who had implemented a Document Management System attached to Outlook years ago, I was a bit amazed at how records were managed in the public sector. Obviously lawyers have different drivers for innovation (litigation, discovery, efficiency and cost savings). Now the NAA along with support from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) have introduced whole of government reforms and made this a function to notice (and resource)!

So our Check-up assessment is complete and I have been able to create a list of areas and tasks that my agency will need to look at over the coming year to ensure we have made some improvements by the next assessment date. This will help me to plan the resources I need and to prioritise what is the most important and realistic for our agency.

Has anyone else been involved in this process for their agency?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

First month

So, I am new to KM.

People at work ask me 'what is knowledge management?' (my predecessor was an information manager). So far this is how I answer: I take a high level view of all of the internal information generated within the organisation. Hopefully from this I can improve processes and systems to increase the use and value of the information and knowledge that is generated by the people within the organisation. That was my interview response anyway..... Try explaining that to your massage therapist! I thought explaining what a modern (non-public) librarian did was difficult.

This means that I have to consider the systems that manage the information and knowledge, be able to identify and classify the information itself and influence the culture of the organisation. I think this last one is the most important aspect. If we don't have a 'learning culture' or one that encourages knowledge sharing, my job may as well be that of records manager, systems librarian or intranet designer (all specialist jobs that others could do better than I). So, I have to work closely with the IT, HR and Communications and Marketing teams as well as the staff who produce most of the 'information' that the organisation exists to create.

Why am I blogging about this? In the past 4 weeks I have been searching online, talking to people and generally faffing about trying to uncover a KM network or forum that will help me develop the skills I need in this role. Mainly I have learnt that KM theory is a bit beyond me at this point and that the practical help I need may be harder to locate. It appears that the tasks or responsibilities of KM and IM staff differ vastly among organisations and industries and depend on the needs of the employer. I will be exploring that more on this blog and hope to be able to share some of my learning and also to bring together others who in some capacity (whether it be through libraries, innovation, business improvement, information management, knowledge management or any other area or title) face the same challenges.

If anyone is out there, do you have any tips, something I have missed? Feel free to comment or to get in touch offline to share your experience or join with me in my learning.

Knitting Monkey