City Government and other government entities are excellent examples of where record management plays a key role in day-to-day activities. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a city council meeting to talk to the council members about preserving the history of the city. This is no small task, as cities have century’s worth of data that explain completed policies, why those policies take place, and how the policies will impact the future.
The City Council members are responsible for setting and recording all municipal policies. They adopt ordinances and resolutions that are not already designated by city charter or state legislation. With that, they make history for the city to preserve forever each and every time they meet in the city council chambers. They make record of everything from who takes care of the alley behind my house to what wild animals I can keep in city limits.
A record in general can be a tangible object or digital information. This may include minutes, resolutions, office documents, databases, application data and e-mail. Record management is primarily related to the evidence of an organization’s activities, and is usually applied according to the value of the records rather than their physical format.
Record management for City government has changed dramatically over the years. What once was large bound books all wrote in pen, with as many as three meetings recorded on a single page, has now turned into something like Microsoft Word™. No matter what the media has been, it has been permanent so that people can understand why the city acts the way it does. These records are crucial during both city council meetings and the City Clerk’s daily routine.
City government records are an excellent example of how archiving documents in an electronic format can become so essential. All in all, what seems to be a simple periodic meeting is actually information that is preserved for eternity. Decisions are made and documented that affect individuals within a community for centuries to come.