In October 2006 the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) released a report on recordkeeping in government agencies. This found problems, particularly with electronic records, as had two previous reports. The ANAO recommended training in recordkeeping. As I give lectures in electronic document management at the Australian National University (ANU), I have been asked to help create new courses for agencies.
Also of relevance is work by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) obtaining sufficient skilled staff for the Australian Public Service. Cadetships and apprentice schemes to train new public servants could incorporate the electronic document management material. Those for IT professionals could include more technical content.
This the first of a series of notes intended to document the process. Please note that these are not an official record, nor do they represent a commitment by any organization to conduct a course. Comments, corrections and contributions would be welcome.
As the ANAO report noted, there is no shortage of material to work from, with Australian government agencies issuing legislation, standards, policies and guidance on recordkeeping.
There are guidelines issued by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) for records handling. NAA also helped develop the Australian and International standards in this field. NAA's also distributed open source software for e-archiving called "Xena" and an electronic arching system.
Previously, as a public servant, I chaired the committee which prepared "Electronic Document Management: Guidelines for Australian Government Agencies". This is used in the ANU course "Information Technology in Electronic Commerce" COMP3410/COMP634. There is also relevant material on web site design in "Networked Information Systems" (COMP2410 / COMP6340). However, these courses are intended for IT specialists who develop software for records management. More suited may be material prepared for a five day workshop for staff from museums of the Pacific Islands Region.
The intention is to run the courses as conventional small classroom events. However, it seems reasonable to prepare the courses so they could be easily adapted for on-line distance education, if needed. This could use course preparation systems such as the Integrated Content Environment (ICE), an on-line course management system, such as Moodle and Podcasting. Also an open access license, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, can be used. This will allow the content creators to prepare and distribute their material for comment, while retaining commercial rights to use it in a course.
On-line delivery may be provided in unconventional ways, such as to Blackberry and other smartphones/PDAs issued to senior executives. This could deliver on-demand training in very small units, as required.
The intention is to create short in-service courses for use by staff of government agencies and others who need knowledge of e-records management. However, the material may latter be used for a full university course. It therefore seemed prudent to first look at the formal guidance and requirements for a course. This proved to be much easier than expected. A web search of "ANU Course Proposal" found "The ANU Official Course and Program Proposals Site". This contains links to detailed procedures for new courses, forms to be used and examples.
The ANU course web site is publicly available. the procedures page has an overview of the process is provided, complete with flowcharts. Whoever prepared it clearly has a sense of humor; including a reproduction of Munch's "The Scream". But at this stage I only need to worry about the first step: "First draft of the proposal: Course proponent proposes and designs draft for a new course in consultation with the relevant academic area according to that academic area's internal procedures. This is usually done by a lecturer at a school/departmental level. ...'.