To analyze, understand and explain any concept, I’ve always reverted to analogies / used conceptual thinking. I love finding similarities in complete opposite concepts and I’m excited to invite you on my storytelling journey of exploring, verifying, and disseminating records management.
The logical start would be to look at information, and if you’re anything like me, you might have thought of “data” automatically, but you’re wrong, and of course, so was I.
Think of data as the raw materials, in a painting process. Frames, canvas, oil paint, brushes, turpentine, a glass jar and rags for cleaning, a palette and easel. Using those raw materials then allow us to create paintings. Now keep in mind, the painting cannot exist without the raw materials used to create it, but those raw materials on their own, still have purpose. In the end though, the painting becomes much more valuable than the total cost of the collection of raw materials.
Now that’s exactly the relationship between data and information, with one exception to my analogy. We are talking actual completed paintings as well as photos and prints of it, videos, written descriptions, brochures, appraisals, and valuations. This means that physical as well as digital data is recognized as information.
In summary: Data processed, analyzed, placed in sequence, and or remodeled, and then structured becomes information. The most valuable benefit is that it provides context and if done right, enables decision making.
ISO 15489 (Information and documentation – Records Management) states that records are “information created, received and maintained as evidence and as an asset by an organization or person, in pursuit of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.”
Sure, you can consider your Records store as a huge shoebox. You throw all your records into the box and hope you never have to look for any of them ever again. But, in order to know what must be destroyed, you have to know what is in that shoebox.