International E–Records Standards

Standards can be meaningful and relevant, providing guidance for managers to consider; and specific records management (RM) and electronic records management (ERM) standards are useful tools for system selection decision–makers, records managers, software developers, and implementers of software applications and computer systems.

But they do not always have their intended effect. There are standards that are formally established and completely ignored. And there are standards that emerge through popular use although they are not formalized by any standards–setting body. So adhering to a standard does not, in itself, guarantee any kind of safe harbor or compatibility with future systems or standards. It depends on which standard you select, how it arose, and what its characteristics and requirements may be.

There are two general types of standards: de jure and de facto. De jure (“the law”) standards are those published by recognized standards–setting bodies, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), British Standards Institution (BSI), Standards Council of Canada (SCC), and Standards Australia. Standards promulgated by authorities such as these have the formal status of standards.

De facto (“the fact”) standards are not formal standards but are regarded by many as if they were. They may arise through popular use ...

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