Fourth Annual Meeting of the
Corporate Archives Forum
June 21-22, 2001
Northfield, Illinois

Meeting Notes

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:

  • Elizabeth Adkins, Ford Motor Company

  • Bruce Bruemmer, Cargill

  • Kathleen Collins, Bank of America

  • Becky Haglund Tousey, Kraft Foods

  • Susan Maclin, AIG

  • Phil Mooney, Coca-Cola Company

  • Leslie Simon, CIGNA

  • Deborah Skaggs, Frank Russell Co.

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

  • Corporate Memory Initiatives

  • Managing the Corporate Archives: Teambuilding

  • CENSA Initiatives

  • Retention and Preservation of Electronic Records

  • Republishing Copyrighted Materials Through the Web

  • Capturing Web Sites

  • Global Information Management

  • E-Mail Policies

  • Digital Asset Management

  • Surviving Mergers and Divestitures

  • Virtual Corporate Culture Museum

  • Research Proposal in Business Archives

  • Informal Salary Survey

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:

  • There is no tradition of open archival access in public repositories. One has to apply for access and justify reasons, especially if the research involves personal matters.

  • It is not always clear to whom "privacy" relates: "famous" people donít have the same right to privacy.

  • Access is granted to individual researchers. The idea of "team research" is a foreign one. It is necessary to negotiate the sharing of documents and the deposit of copies elsewhere. The researcher granted access is personally liable for any violation of privacy.

  • Some European archivists are more conservative in interpreting policies than others.

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:

  • Securing data that is non-public.

  • Changing our thinking about what should or should not be on the Internet/Intranet.

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?

  • The conservative approach would be to restrict the correspondence. This is private correspondence between two individuals, which was never intended to be published.

  • But if we canít use the material, why save it?

  • At one company, executive correspondence is shredded. Another corporation has extensive executive correspondence, but it mostly deals with business partners rather than the public.

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:

  • "Collaborator." Focuses on the mission. Likes the big picture. Avoids specifics.

  • "Contributor." Task oriented. Very efficient and dependable.

  • "Communicator." The people person. Interested in process. Builds team spirit.

  • "Challenger." Asks the tough questions. Provides a reality check.

The video suggested the following 5-step approach:

  • Identify your style.

  • Utilize the team player with the appropriate style for the task at hand.

  • Avoid carrying your style too far.

  • Acknowledge the value of other styles.

  • Learn to switch your style when necessary.

There followed a general discussion which covered the following points:

  • A team must be focused on results. You need to define clearly where you are going Ė otherwise you create a "mess." Clear goals lead to less conflict at performance review time.

  • You donít want a team composed just of people who think alike. Some conflicts may be good. You need to match skills to the tasks that need doing.

  • One archivist specifically tried to recruit staff from different backgrounds, including people from outside the archival field. Unfortunately, this team has not yet jelled

  • Outside events can blow your goals and plans out of the water. This requires revision.

  • At least two companiesí performance review systems includes "strategic behaviors," such a team building.

  • An advantage of corporations is that you receive training. Other archivists donít always receive this. One of the best workshops one archivist attended included getting input from subordinates and superiors.

  • Several corporations include the Myers-Briggs Test as part of workshops dealing with communication and team building.

  • One company is empowering all staff, down to the janitors. Success starts with the selection process: "Select in haste; repent at leisure."

  • It is important to understand culture as well. One university had a deliberate culture and took 11 years to decide on Human Resources software. One company has a "populist culture." Another company is not "policy driven."

  • One archivist holds weekly staff meetings, with the agendas built around annual performance objectives.

  • Several archivists talked about the importance of regular team building rituals: celebrations of birthdays, regular informal lunches, etc. This unstructured bonding team is very important.

CENSA Initiatives

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:

  •  One archives is responsible for the physical control of notebooks but not their intellectual content. This archives primarily stores and preserves the notebooks.

  •  In another company, records management handles the notebooks.

  • The research culture can be very different than the rest of the corporate culture. The research culture can be more academic: "These are my research files."

  • One company hopes to develop solutions that are less tool oriented and more business process oriented. People donít want to use new tools because they force you to change the way you work. People also tend not to want to take the time to set up a document architecture.

  • In one company, centralized approaches donít work. For example, records management in this company focuses on legal issues rather than providing support to operating units.

Retention and Preservation of Electronic Records

One archivist presented a summary of recent activities to retain and preserve electronic records. The highlights were:

  • They are five years into building an integrated archives and records management program, which now reports to the General Counsel.

  • This company had a FileNet system that did not achieve its goals due to poor indexing.

  • A staff of three reports to the archivist: 2 business analysts and 1 senior archivist. In particular, having the business analysts has been a plus Ė they have gotten very good at mapping business functions and processes. These "functional process maps" make it easy to identify records for retention scheduling.

  • The archivist is part of several Information Technology teams (Technology Evaluation Committee, Architecture Policy and Plans, and Electronic Document Management Systems). This gives the archivist the ability to influence system design.

  • The archives issued a document: "Electronic Records Archiving: Requirements, Principles, and Best Practices." This has been very important in the development of the electronic records program.

  • In November 1999 the archivist issued a document called "E-Mail Best Practices: Management and Retention of E-Mail Records."

  • In January 2001 they issued another document, "Web-Based Corporate Records: Issues, Principles and Practices." This document sets out strategies for dealing with legal and regulatory issues.

  • The company has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an "electronic records archiving study. The first step is to assess how well the company is doing against its functional requirements.

  • Contracts with application service providers (ASP) need to address records issues.

  • Building awareness and trust involves: demonstrating competence, delivering on promises, and serving as an "enabler" rather than a compliance regulator.

  • Some of the major e-business challenges are: Web sites; Web-based records; records architecture (indexing/metadata and classification/taxonomy); integration (IT, business, and records); global environment with different regulatory jurisdictions); technical solutions and expertise; and business implementation (time to market, cost).

  • Despite all of the above, the biggest challenge remains understanding the business and learning the records.

Republishing Copyrighted Materials Through the Web

This session was a general discussion of copyright issues and concerns. Among the main points were:

  • One company equates intellectual property with the use of company trademarks. They donít actively police external Web sites, but make a determination when something comes to their attention.

  • Another company goes beyond trademarks to enforce copyrights, including the copyright of software source codes. They have a software archives dating from the 1970s with over 100,000 items. Bits and pieces of old software often are reused in current products.

  • Cooperating with computer hobbyists will take a great deal of corporate staff time.

  • A consumer products company has one full-time attorney just policing external Web sites. They choose their battles carefully Ė over 30,000 sites have content from the company. They ignore most fan-based sites unless there is a significant exposure (complaints from actors and other talent, high number of hits, etc.). They take action against sites trying to make money from corporate property. They also go after any site that appears to have official sanction (without having it) or that is disparaging to the company or its products. They do not permit others to include content on their Web sites without an agreement.

Capturing Web Sites

One archivist gave an overview of current practices to capture and retain corporate Web sites. Among the points made were:

  • There has not yet been much case law involving Web pages.

  • IT was too busy to help deal with the issue on an enterprise level. The archives needed to do something unilaterally.

  • From the Internet they capture: product sites and corporate pages.

  • From the Intranet they capture: all business division sites and all support function sites.

  • They use two criteria in determining what to save: informational content (speeches, press releases, etc.) and visual history (how the look of the site has changed over time).

  • The archives uses the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Writer. (5.0) This will "grab" Web pages. You also can tell it how many "levels" to grab. Acrobat aggregates the pages (in some cases 200 pages or more) under one file name.

  • Acrobat has some limitations. It wonít capture: music; video; ".exe" and other application-driven files that have to load; and data-driven sites.

  • They capture Internet sites once per quarter. Intranet sites are captured twice a year because they donít change as often. They store files on a server with a backup on CD. They segment the files by quarter, identified by date

  • The archives has established a provenance-based filing system to maintain the captured Web pages.

  • Once they capture the Web pages, they use the "find" feature to do full-text searching.

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:

  • The integration has been entrusted to the archivist because of previous successes with other major global corporate projects.

  • Previous efforts at records and information management tended to focus on technology. There now is an appreciation that technology canít solve everything; there also needs to be a non-technology component.

  • The information architecture now will include taxonomy and XML. They will develop global information standards for metadata and content management.

  • Having an executive champion is key. They were able to hire 8 new people in the middle of a hiring freeze. However, despite a significant budget increase, they still will not have funding to do everything that needs to be done.

  • They are trying to leverage information in new ways and use the existing technical infrastructure (especially the Intranet). There are potential problems with scalability.

E-Mail Policies

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.

Ultimately the companies decided to operate the Archives as a shared facility with separate staff for purchaser and seller. The seller handles rent and other costs through a chargeback arrangement with the purchaser.

The collections were divided, a painstaking process for certain series such as service marks that had to be reviewed document by document.

They cloned the database structures and copied relevant database records for purchaser, and transferred one database license to the purchaser.

The two staffs provide backup reference services for one another. This had been somewhat informally managed for a while. However, with changes in staffing and other circumstances, a more formal collaborative agreement is in development.

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:

  • Reporting relationships

  • Staff size

  • Centralized vs. decentralized structures

  • Chargebacks and cost recovery

  • Size of company (staff and revenue). Industry code

  • Budget elements (supplies, service, staff, training)

  • Founding of program: When was the archives established? When was the first professional archivist hired?

  • Involvement in records management

  • Professional qualifications of archivist

  • Outsourcing relationships

  • Corporate structure (privately held; publicly traded)

  • Archives collecting scope (US? International?)

  • Electronic records management activities

  • Support by senior executives

  • Use statistics: internal vs. external, major customers

  • Volume of holdings

  • Nature of reports to management: frequency, contents

  • Salary levels

  • Education and training programs

  • Licensing/rights procedures

  • Outreach and exhibits

  • Connections with museum

  • Capturing Web sites? Tools?

  • Software used for collection maintenance

  • Web presence: Intranet and Internet

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:


Manager of Archives

Senior Archivist














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