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Press Release:
New Technology Demands New Strategies for University Records Management

July 2001

In a video-streamed presentation recently released by Arizona State University, networked information expert Clifford Lynch sounded a call to action, urging colleges and universities to examine the critical challenges of managing their data.

“The relatively static boundaries that we’ve understood between scholarly publication, academic records, and what happens in the classroom are all getting blown out the window,” Lynch said. “We have to fundamentally rethink what we’re doing about records.”

Lynch is the executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity. He spoke at ECURE 2000, a national conference concerning the future of electronic records in higher education. The full speech can be viewed online at <http://is.asu.edu/copyright/>.

Lynch went on to observe, “The discussion about management, archiving and access to records is going to become a very rich and complicated conversation which is going to engage everyone from archivists to librarians to faculty to publishers to systems builders to legal counsel to registrars.”

Although the design of an adequate digital signature infrastructure is critical for e-learning, Lynch emphasized that when thinking through the interplay of such evolving infrastructure with records management policies and approaches, universities “also have to hedge our bets a little bit, and recognize that twenty years or so downstream this infrastructure itself might change in radical ways.”

Lynch also suggested that the fate of student research products be considered. “It used to be that students didn’t leave very much behind. They left a confidential transcript, a master’s thesis or dissertation, but that’s about it,” he said. “Now they leave these enormous trails of term papers and class projects. Are those things going to become records? The way we’re going right now, this is left to the discretion of the faculty member and the availability of disc space,” warned Lynch.

ECURE, at which Lynch was a keynote speaker, is an annual conference that seeks to promote dialogue about record keeping issues across institutions. It brings together professionals from diverse fields for workshops and interdisciplinary discussion. The third annual conference, ECURE 2001: Preservation and Access for Electronic College and University Records, is planned for October 12 and 13, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona. Early registration is available through the ECURE Web site at <http://www.asu.edu/it/events/ecure/>.

This year’s speakers will address topics that include metadata standards, campus policymaking, legal and regulatory issues, electronic publishing of dissertations and theses, and email management. Provosts, records managers, archivists, faculty, legal experts, registrars, technology professionals and other campus administrators will attend. Interdisciplinary teams will receive registration discounts. Special discussion sessions will offer conference goers a chance to interact with presenters and peers from around the nation.

ECURE is sponsored by Arizona State University with support from CNI; the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records; and Bell & Howell Information and Learning.