The development of a model for education and training in electronic records management
As the emphasis on accountability in the Electronic Government (EG) environment has increased, the interest in providing the requisite knowledge and skills for the employees and potential employees (i.e. students) to manage electronic records has been heightened. A number of initiatives aimed at providing educational and training opportunities for administrators, archivists, IT personnel and records managers to manage electronic records have been developed. The primary aims of this study are: (a) to analyse the education and training programmes in electronic records management (ERM) for record keepers and develop a model, (b) to examine the needs of record keepers in relation to such knowledge and skills as are required to manage electronic records in the specific context of the EG in Malaysia, and (c) to provide a suitable vocational and professional education and training model for record keepers in Malaysia to acquire and maintain knowledge and skills required for the effective management of electronic records. To achieve the above aims, the research adopted a case study approach that combined both quantitative and qualitative data to answer the various research questions. Quantitative data was gathered from a high level web survey of the national archives and related professional organisations world-wide to identify and examine education and training programmes for record keepers and current international best practice. A questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews were used to investigate and identify the roles and responsibilities of different record keepers in the Malaysian Federal Ministries, explore the context in which the record keepers managed electronic records, and examine their needs for education and training in ERM. Different software packages such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access and NUD.IST (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorising) were used to analyse the data. This study developed a generic model relating to vocational and professional education and training in ERM. It was based on a review of the various concepts on education and training, as well as concepts underpinning the four pragmatic examples of education and training programmes in ERM developed in Europe and UK. This generic model was used to explore the emergent issues in Malaysia that were related to the need for knowledge and skills in ERM. The model was discussed and tested with the Malaysian record keepers through five focus group discussions. It was found that the generic model matched the situation in Malaysia, even though there were variations in the details due to the varying needs of the Malaysian record keepers within the EG environment and the Malaysian government bureaucracy. The underlying concepts which underpinned the generic model for vocational and professional education and training in ERM developed in this study have been validated within the Malaysian public sector setting. Therefore this generic model must be understood within the specific context of the environment in which the fieldwork was carried out. In order to assess the extent of its universal application, similar projects employing the same methods but conducted in contrasting environments or in other countries have been found to have great value.