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Managing electronic information is of the most complex and important challenges in higher education today. Virtually every program and planning decision made today — from student information systems and online courses, to Web-based manuals and recruitment, to expansion of research efforts — involves creating and managing electronic records.
At the same time, the legal, policy, and political environments are shifting rapidly and dramatically. Changes in copyright law, legal discovery practices, and state and federal records management requirements continually redefine the environment in which educational institutions operate. Efforts to improve business systems and increase access through process reengineering raise questions about the relevance of core services and the need for records that were once considered vital to the organization. Pressures for increased access to student transcripts, registration and recruitment materials, and the intellectual output of institutions in the form of research data, theses and dissertations, and faculty publication add further complications.
The fifth annual ECURE 2005: Preservation and Access for Digital College and University Resources Conference once again brought together a unique blend of resources to discuss and analyze the issues related to managing institutional information in electronic form. The conference partnered knowledgeable individuals from a range of backgrounds — comptrollers, attorneys, registrars, technologists, archivists, academic administrators, and faculty — to begin the interdisciplinary dialogue necessary to identify viable solutions and best practices for management of electronic information and creation, retention, and disposition of electronic records. The goal was to continue the dialog begun in ECURE 1999, to help participants better understand the issues and challenges, learn about models for collaboration, and prepare to address the challenges of planning and managing electronic records in today’s complex policy, technological, and political environment.
The ECURE 2006 program will focus on the topic of bioinformatics, the infrastructure required to collect, sustain and make available associated research data and administrative records, and the policy and regulatory environments that drive this activity at the institutional or national level. Specifically ECURE will seek presenters who are investigating the nature of biomedical research data and designing information systems that accommodate appropriate use, reuse and preservation. Research faculty and administrators, policy analysts, technology professionals, librarians, records managers and archivists would be potential speakers and the target audience for this conference.