Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The records management implications of blogging

Jesse Wilkins, eDoc

Technology-wise, blogs are similar to content management systems in that authors can update Web pages without having to know HTML or scripting, making blogging very user-friendly. Blog postings will frequently include links to supporting or contrary resources that provide additional context. Posts may be made in chronological or reverse chronological order, and may additionally be sorted by topic. Many blogs allow readers to post comments to the author's posts. ...

So what does all this mean to records management? As organizations use blogs to communicate both internally and to their customers and the public, the information will need to be managed effectively from a policy perspective. Some of the postings will rise to the level of a record, particularly those made by public companies or those in highly regulated or litigious industries. Many public blogs have elected to turn off comments due to the abusive nature of some; it may make sense to turn off comments for internal blogs or to periodically review them to ensure they comply with organizational policies.

Another issue relates to discovery. A fundamental tenet of discovery is that anything that is relevant must be produced, whether it is considered a record by the organization or not. Anything posted to a blog would be discoverable. For most blogs, archiving is both automatic and permanent. Blogs that allow comments will archive those comments unless the author removes them. The organizational communications policy must identify the process for removing posts and comments and the application should provide an audit trail not only of posts and comments made, but posts and comments removed.

1 comment:

records management said...

Once again, you raise an excellent point. It had never occured to me that deleted comments may have record-value.