Fourth Annual Meeting of the
The Fourth annual meeting of the Corporate Archives Forum was held June 21-22, 2001 in Northfield, Illinois. Kraft Foods hosted the meeting. The following individuals were present:
Paul Lasewicz (IBM) and Eleanor Fye (Microsoft) attended parts of the meeting via teleconference.
Several staff members from Kraft Foods also attended the meeting: Sally Mayer, Mike Bullington, Carol Palumbo, and Sallie Garrett.
Greg Hunter of Long Island University served as facilitator and note-taker.
To protect confidentiality, these meeting notes do not attribute comments to any attendee or company. The attendees are sharing these notes with the wider archival community in the hopes of furthering the discussion of issues.
This yearís meeting covered the following topics:
Privacy, Confidentiality, and Compliance
Privacy is an issue now in the forefront in Europe and Canada. Corporate archivists must become aware of the issues and change policies and procedures as required.
Privacy is a key aspect of access to archives in Europe:
Since banks and insurance companies are people-centric, they are more likely to be affected by privacy regulations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a new regulation dealing with the confidentiality of customer information. By July 1 companies must have privacy policies in place.
Among the main issues are:
A question is: How much business risk do you want to take with information posted on the Internet? One company has made this the responsibility of the operating heads.
How will privacy regulations affect Intranet capture? Will European or Canadian employees expect more privacy?
There was a recent European treaty reported on the Digital Future Coalition Discussion List.
How will corporate archives deal with customer letters to the president or letters to the marketing department? Will privacy regulations require the protection of names of individuals?
Corporate Memory Initiatives
One company has established a "corporate memory initiative" that involves cooperation among several departments, including records management and departmental recordkeepers. The corporate memory initiative is not bound to organizational lines. There is cross-group partnering.
The archivist is the owner of a "channel" on the corporate Intranet portal. This channel will complement the employee newsletter channel. The archives channel will focus on the company, its products, and its history.
The archivist is trying to develop standard practices and guidelines about what to capture and how to do the capture. In July they are planning an event for managers to build awareness of the importance of documentation.
The culture of this company is changing to emphasize "services" rather than "products." The corporate memory initiative includes managing cultural/organizational change.
The archives will continue its oral history program, but it also will focus on short-term employees who are doing interesting things. They will not just interview departing employees. The oral history program will offer an introduction to the culture of the company. They have received excellent feedback so far from employees.
Oral history interviews are posted on the Intranet. Full transcripts are posted; short video clips (3-5 minutes) also are available. Once the new Intranet channel is in place, compressed videos of the full interviews will be available.
Capturing culture goes beyond oral history interviews. They also try to collect documents and artifacts from new product teams. Some historically valuable material is behind departmental firewalls, leading to access problems.
Very often archival content is inaccurate when repackaged and reposted to the Internet/Intranet by other departments. One company prepares "service level agreements" when they provide content to others in the company.
Product anniversaries are a challenge. Sometimes there is not enough content in the archives. Some products also do not lend themselves to photographs or images.
During the next year, the corporate memory initiative will form an internal consortium to add an archival component to knowledge management discussions. They will prepare guidelines for capturing and revising information. More importantly, they will try to make this part of daily culture.
Managing the Corporate Archives: Teambuilding
The session began by viewing a 20-minute video on teambuilding produced by CRM films. The film stressed that the basic unit is the team player, not the team leader. How do you get players with different strengths and backgrounds to work together? How do you deal with conflicts?
The video identified four types of team players:
The video suggested the following 5-step approach:
There followed a general discussion which covered the following points:
CENSA is the Cooperative Electronic Notebook Systems Association. They are trying to develop standards for vendors developing solutions to the challenges posed by maintaining laboratory notebooks in digital form.
CENSA has both "end user members" and "vendor members." The pharmaceutical industry is predominantly represented among the end user members, but several oil and consumer products companies are also represented. .
CENSA is defining various components of the problem (technical, regulatory) and working with vendors to develop solutions. CENSA is monitoring other initiatives, including the San Diego Supercomputer Center, InterPARES, and the National Archives of Australia.
CENSA is developing "archival functional requirements" that can be integrated into electronic notebook systems; they do not want to use a separate electronic records management system. Several people at the CAF mentioned previous work on functional requirements (University of Pittsburgh, University of British Columbia) and questioned why CENSA was developing yet another set of functional requirements. Would the CENSA requirements be that much different from the earlier efforts that they were worth the cost of development?
Many of the CENSA member companies use Documentum. There has not been much discussion of integrating with Documentum. Moving legacy data is the biggest issue.
It was pointed out that records management application (RMA) software will manage records but does not have a real preservation strategy (keeping records readable over time). The RMAs keep the records in their native file formats.
Metadata is the key, including "audit trail" metadata (who did what to the files).
The discussion then turned to the management of research and development records at the CAF companies:
Retention and Preservation of Electronic Records
One archivist presented a summary of recent activities to retain and preserve electronic records. The highlights were:
Republishing Copyrighted Materials Through the Web
This session was a general discussion of copyright issues and concerns. Among the main points were:
Capturing Web Sites
One archivist gave an overview of current practices to capture and retain corporate Web sites. Among the points made were:
Global Information Management
One company has recently restructured to unify various components on a global scale: archives, records management, and audiovisual asset management. The presentation covered:
Attendees shared e-mail policies and discussed the management of e-mail records. Many more substantive processes are taking place through e-mail. This has archival implications.
E-mail is becoming more complex. It includes attached video clips and PowerPoint presentations.
Collaborative software (such as "e-room") is being used in many corporations. One corporation has defined this as "transient" information that need not be preserved.
Most corporations have limitations on the size of individual mailboxes. One corporation does not, which has led to all kinds of problems.
Encryption is emerging as a recordkeeping issue. How will we preserve the encryption system so that records are readable in the future?
Digital Asset Management
One corporation has a major initiative to manage digital image assets, including moving images. They have over 100,000 photographs and still images, 15,000 print ads, and 25,000 television spots.
Information is becoming a commodity. There also is a movement to decentralize information so that local managers are empowered. The motto is: "Think local, act local." The archives is trying to integrate assets so they are searchable by local managers.
Image assets are a corporate resource. The corporation is investing in image assets in order to make employees more productive. The savings come from budgets across the entire company, not the archives. The archives is adding value to the image assets by digitizing and cataloging them.
The corporation is developing its own information system. They had a bad experience with support of proprietary vendor software. The corporation has decided to control its own software destiny. It is based upon IBM Content Manager and will run on Lotus Notes.
The digital asset management system only will be available on the Intranet because of property rights issues. Each image has attached information about reproduction rights and other metadata components. They are using a service bureau to do the cataloging.
Only low resolution images (75 dots per inch) are on the Intranet. The reproduction of high resolution images (1,200 dpi) is handled by a service bureau which scanned the images for free in exchange for receiving the income from reproductions. The archives is not involved in collecting funds or doing chargebacks to budgets Ė they are out of the "fulfillment business" for photos and videos.
The archives spends a great deal of time on the quality control of images. This is the face they present to their customers.
Talent rights in the United States are administered by the Screen Actors Guild. For all new advertisements, the talent rights will be entered into the database: Who can use the spot? Who must be contacted?
For video, the software contains a number of screen shots that look like a storyboard. Most people do not need to see a moving image to know if this is the video they are seeking.
There will be a regular flow of new content into the system once it is 2-3 years old. This will almost be a records management function.
The archives has been the "guinea pig" for digital asset management. Other systems will have to integrate with the archivesí system. The system is now in the final phase of testing.
For next year, someone suggested that we discuss the topic of chargebacks.
Surviving Mergers and Divestitures
One archivist has had to deal with the sale of over
200 subsidiaries to another company. The final questions were: What
records go and what records stay? How do the purchaser and seller use
the history they share? How do the Archives administer the records
shared by both purchaser and seller? These questions were not all
addressed in the final sale agreement.
Virtual Corporate Culture Museum
The Organizational Effectiveness Department in one company is trying to help employees deal with a changing business environment. The first step was to assess the corporate culture to decide what to keep and what to change.
One component involved "culture scanners:" employees with less than 5 years experience who were asked to identify elements of the corporate culture. They were given Polaroid cameras and asked to take pictures of things that embody the corporate culture. The pictures and their captions were transferred to the corporate archives.
A second component involved having managers, many of whom were long-term employees, identify cultural artifacts. The archivist was asked to be the "curator" of an exhibit of these artifacts at a managersí meeting. This was important in increasing the visibility of the archivist. The exhibit was very well received.
The photographs and the artifacts will be an important collection for the archives Ė it is very difficult to document corporate culture.
Research Proposal in Business Archives
Greg shared with participants the first draft of a research proposal to document the current status of and best practices in business archives.
Attendees suggested the following as areas to explore in the survey:
Among possible sources for funding are: the Conference Board and Iron Mountain.
Informal Salary Survey
The group asked Greg to coordinate an informal, anonymous salary survey. The purpose was to develop information for benchmarking purposes. Salary information, especially from corporations, is almost impossible to get from professional sources.
Participants shared with Greg the salaries of the Archives Manager and the Senior Archivist. The results were:
Page Updated August 2, 2001