UBC Theses and Dissertations
Origin and development of records scheduling in North America Mohan, Jennifer Alexandra
This thesis begins by tracing the development of the practice of records scheduling in the federal governments of United States and Canada, from the initial concern with records disposal in the late eighteen hundreds, to the implementation of formal records schedules in the 1940s in the United States and the late 1950s in Canada. These federal initiatives provided a model for later developments at the state and provincial level. However, changes in scheduling methods have lately become necessary to meet the demands of the increasing volume of records, organizational complexity and change, and the widespread use of new media, particularly electronic records. Many of these changes have occurred at the provincial and state level, where the limited size of government has allowed the agencies responsible for scheduling to be more responsive and innovative. For this reason, analysis of current records scheduling practices in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, and the states of Washington and New York were conducted. These studies reveal schedules which are both flexible in their use and adaptable over time because they attempt to accommodate both records in all media and organizational change. Among the scheduling techniques examined are the addition of media specific elements, the use of functional schedule arrangement, the integration of schedules with other management tools, like classification, and the expanded use of general schedules for records common to more than one organization. These techniques are capable of dealing with the volume, complexity and variety of records which are being created in government today. Despite the changes demonstrated, the studies show that records scheduling remains a viable practice to control the life cycle of all records, from creation until disposal. Throughout this investigation, the role of archivists is discussed. Archivists' involvement in scheduling began with the earliest developments and continues still today. Archivists have been central to the initiation, development and adaptation of records scheduling in government. With the development of new information technologies, archivists' role is even more important, for they must intervene into the process of records creation if they want to maintain the ability to identify records of enduring value to society, and to ensure that their integrity is maintained throughout administrative procedures and use.