ISO 15489, published in 2001, is perhaps the most influential standard in records management internationally. Determining the information that must be managed as records is only the first of the records management processes it identifies. The full list of records management processes identified by ISO 15489 includes, additionally:
- Determining how long to retain records;
- Creating and registering records;
- Classification of records;
- Storage and handling of records;
- Controlling access to records;
- Tracking records;
- Disposing of records; and
- Documenting records management processes.
ISO 15489 proposes that an organisation should use a records system to implement these processes. It defines a records system as an “information system which captures, manages and provides access to records through time” (ISO 15489-1:2001, 3.17).
MoReq2010® is a specification for defining a records system expressed as a modular set of requirements. It goes beyond the broad description offered by ISO 15489 and adds a far greater level of specificity in how these processed should be carried out. Achieving MoReq2010® compliance requires a greater degree of rigour than can be achieved by simply building a records system that handles the records management processes described by ISO 15489 in its own proprietary way.
One of the advantages of this, and a design goal of MoReq2010®, is the potential for interoperability between MoReq2010® compliant records systems (MCRS). An MCRS does not only understand its own entities and its own processes, it can export them to a standardised format that can be understood by another MCRS.
Interoperability is essential to the management of records using a records system. Today’s organisations typically refresh their technology every three to five years. Records are often held for much longer than that. If an organisation is required to keep a particular record for 75 years then, at the end of that period, it will typically have been transferred from one records system to another between 15 and 25 times.