The Impact of ICT on Records Management

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Background of the Study

Over a quarter of a century ago, Ben Russak (1975) noted that traditional models of scholarly communication would be undermined by the photocopy machine and the computer. His prediction has held: the advent of new information technologies that have completely and irrevocably transformed the ways in which materials are created, structured, stored, transmitted, distributed, communicated, and accessed, have similarly transformed the means and modes of scientific communication. During the past decade, global communications have changed dramatically, as a result of the increased use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs are becoming necessary if countries are to compete on a global scale. Oliver (1999) sees ICT as the science that investigates the properties and behaviour of information, the force governing the flow of information and the means of processing information for optimum accessibility and usability. In the past few years Information Communication Technology (ICT) has spread through the whole world in a big way. Computers are finding their way into schools and higher learning institutions, government and the private sector, and other organisations. In many cases, ICT has penetrated work and learning environments unplanned. Many governments and users recognize the potential of ICT and the opportunities it provides, particularly for economic and social development where distances and traditional systems have tended to hamper progress. ICT also presents opportunities for recordkeeping in developing countries. Bamiro and Liverpool (2002 in Akwegwu et al 2011) observe that the computer (ICT) has already invaded and dominated universities in the developed world. It has also been widely acknowledged that ICTs have the potential to play an immediate role in the quest for sustainable and equitable development in Third World countries. In Ghana, over the past few years there have been attempts by governments past and present to improve Ghana’s information highways because of the realization of the use of ICT as a tool for sustainable development, which is indeed significant. This has led to some improvements in ICT infrastructure though there is still room for further improvement. The private sector has also been very instrumental in developments in this sector, building some form of infrastructure on their own with great success. Records management as a field of work and as a means of ensuring productivity has not been given the necessary attention that it deserves in Ghana until recently when both public and private institutions have started to pay attention to good records management systems and practices. Although International Standard for the management of business records (ISO 15489) emphasizes the need for good records management as an effective way for countries and organizations to fulfil their obligations and meet expectations of their stakeholders, this requirement has suffered a major backlash in Ghana. Records and record keeping constitute the life wire of organizations (Egwunyenga, 2006). It would be very difficult to plan and administer any organization such as the school effectively if records are not kept and managed properly.

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