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Sarah

 

I agree - you just beat me to it.  I’ve said all I plan to say on this topic in this listserv.

My apologies to anybody upset by the length of the discussion – “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time” (Blaise Pascal).

 

Marc Fresko

 

From: The Information and Records Management Society mailing list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Graham Sarah (NHS ENGLAND)
Sent: 12 November 2015 08:43
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: RM Control Grid - a short review

 

Gentlemen, do you not think it’s time to take this discussion off the listserv? 

 

This back and forth sparring isn’t doing either of you any favours.

 

Regards

 

Sarah

 

 

 

From: The Information and Records Management Society mailing list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Frank Guerino
Sent: 11 November 2015 17:10
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: RM Control Grid - a short review

 

Marc,

 

In just over two days, the RM Control Grid has been downloaded by over 100 people around the world and we’ve received almost 400 requests for more information and/or positive feedback.  Whether you believe it or not, there are others who contribute to it, like it and who get value from it and our other materials.  This includes some of the largest companies and government agencies in the world (some of them right in the U.K, where you operate).  We also vet the material against other documentation which, interestingly, contradicts your opinions.

 

I’m not up for a flame war with you.  If you have other options available for the community, great, please offer them up for use.  Or, if you have constructive feedback that helps improve what we’re doing, please provide it and we’ll gladly do what we can to incorporate it.  If, on the other hand, you’re only tactic is to attack me and the IF4IT for what we’re doing and making openly available, so be it.  I recognize that we can’t please everyone and we’ll simply continue to work with those who do get it, who are constructive, and who want our help.

 

My Best,

 

Frank

--
Frank Guerino, Chairman
The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT)
http://www.if4it.com
1.908.294.5191 (M)

 

 

 

 

From: Marc Fresko <[log in to unmask]>
Organization: Inforesight Limited
Reply-To: Marc Fresko <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: RM Control Grid - a short review

 

Thank you to all the IRMS Fellows and others who have written to me off-list supporting my observations on the IF4IT and its “grid”.

 

Thank you also to Frank for writing to  “personally” thank me, despite the negative tenor of my review.  Very noble of you.

 

I am less grateful, Frank, that you think this listserv is a good platform from which to try to attack Inforesight’s website.  It isn’t.  The review was mine, and my company’s website is irrelevant to the discussion (unless it has potential for harm or misdirection, as does IF4IT’s site).  But since you raise it, you are right that the site is not even recognised by Alexa.  Actually, that’s fine: perhaps unlike some, we don’t look to our website to generate large volumes of irrelevant hits; we rely instead on it being found by anyone who might need us.  So, while Alexa does not care about our site – and Alexa also fails to notice sites of almost ALL the small UK and Ireland consultancies I checked – Inforesight has a pleasingly high Google PageRank (meaning it is easily findable).  In fact the Inforesight PageRank is higher than IF4IT’s PageRank.

 

Frank, maybe you really have, as you claim, received 200 “positive feedback submissions and requests for more information”.  The world is a big place, and I would be amazed if there are not at least that number of poorly-informed folk, desperate for RM help, who think that your “grid” has high face validity, and that it represents a quick-and-easy shortcut to overcoming the complex challenges of records management.  There are always suckers “out there” who fall for apparently quick fixes.  It is precisely because there are such people that I am concerned enough to take my time to look at your output, and to bother to respond.  These people deserve better than a poorly produced, misleading and (at least arguably) incorrect and misleading document.  You ask for “some specific and productive improvement ideas and examples”.  Here are a few.  And believe me, this is only a tiny fraction of the problems and issues.

 

1. GLOSSARY – MISSING TERMS

You claim to provide a glossary of RM terms.  But it omits lots of terms, including some that are essential to RM.  So a few missing terms are (see if you can spot  the essential ones):

- Archive

- Flawed

- Classification

- Pointless

- Retention

- Useless

- Series

- Inconsistent

Despite being absent from the glossary, several important terms are used elsewhere in your RM resources.

SPECIFIC ADVICE: define the terms you use.  Make your glossaries (all of them) complete.

 

2. POOR, LOOSE, DEFINITIONS

One example.  The grid defines “Policy Link” as “An HTML link to the detailed policies, processes and procedures for said Record Type [including] policies for communications, testing, archiving, access, recovery, destruction and purging, at a minimum”.   Leave aside the point that it rarely makes sense to have policies of this kind at the record type level, (1) the assertion that the link must be an HTML is nonsense; (2) a link to “Policy Link” should not point to  “policies, PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES”; (3) there is no need for the word “detailed” here. 

Second example: “Taxonomy of Record Types” is defined at http://www.if4it.com/taxonomy.html  as “A linear list of the different Record types that have been deemed to be important to IT Organizations, IT Professionals, and the Business stakeholders they provide services for. This taxonomy is a component of the IT Discipline called Records Management and is often used to classify the many different types of records that are generated and tracked as part of its processes…”  Tricky to know where to stop with this one:   (1) it is unnecessary, because if taxonomy is defined as it should be, and “Record types” is also defined you do not need this definition, and indeed any definition other than “See Record Type and Taxonomy” will mislead; (2) Taxonomies to not need to be linear; (3) the definition is completely different to the definition in your grid (glossary sheet)(!); (4)  the term is missing from your own RM Glossary; (5) it depends on “record type”, your definition of which is recursive (thus meaningless); (6) few RM practitioners would agree that RM is an “IT discipline”; and so on, I lack the courage to go on.

These are only two examples of many in the grid, and one example of LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF LOOSE AND POOR DEFINITIONS IN THE IF4IT SITE.

SPECIFIC ADVICE: Tidy up your glossaries to make them consistent and correct.

 

3. AUTHORITY, ATTRIBUTION

I could not find in IF4IT.com or the grid any authorities for the assertions and definitions; no attributions, no acknowledgements and no thanks.  No mention of any standards, authoritative guidance, or trade bodies.  Some readers might be tempted to think that the content is entirely machine-generated without reference to external expertise.

SPECIFIC ADVICE: cite and acknowledge your authorities.

 

4. MECHANICAL, UNCURATED

The content of the IF4IT glossary, frameworks, models etc. gives the appearance of being machine-generated, without expert human curation.  Presumably as a result, they are littered  with hundreds of errors and ambiguities.  If the “Foundation” had the kind of expertise I claims, this would not happen.

SPECIFIC ADVICE: use the expertise available to your institute to remove the most egregious anomalies from your publications; then work your way on to the rest.

 

5.  FOUNDATION

Some readers might express their surprise at a “Foundation” which does not list its founders, members, principals, clients, staff, governance model or street address.  They might suspect that there is little substance in the organisation, and that the appellation “Foundation” is grander than is warranted.

SPECIFIC ADVICE: be open about what the IF4IT really is.

 

 

Marc Fresko

 

From: The Information and Records Management Society mailing list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Frank Guerino
Sent: 09 November 2015 17:25
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: RM Control Grid - a short review

 

Hi Marc,

 

I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to provide your opinions.  Although, I personally believe your critique would have been more helpful had you to provided some specific and productive improvement ideas and examples.

 

It’s interesting that since requesting the feedback, this morning, we received more than 200 positive feedback submissions and requests for more information.  This also includes requests for formats of taxonomies and the glossary for load into other systems (both which have also generated positive feedback).

 

While you personally believe that the grid doesn’t help people, please note that it originated from data provided by numerous very big brand enterprises that already use such tools to manage their RM efforts.  It would appear that their RM stakeholders, at a minimum, disagree with your positions.

 

So, given your single negative critique there is a ratio of greater than 200:1 for people who disagree with you.  Please do not feel offended if we continue to work with them.

 

By the way, since you felt the need to personally attack our web site, please note that we’re constantly working to improve it.  I did check your web site and noticed that, after approximately six years of existence, it has yet to register enough traffic to even be considered noteworthy by measurement sites like Alexa.  You may want to work on that before attacking other sites.

 

Again, thank you for your contributions.

 

My Best,

 

Frank

--
Frank Guerino, Chairman
The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT)
http://www.if4it.com
1.908.294.5191 (M)

 

 

 

 

From: Marc Fresko <[log in to unmask]>
Organization: Inforesight Limited
Reply-To: Marc Fresko <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, November 9, 2015 at 11:51 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: RM Control Grid - a short review

 

Executive Summary

 

I looked at this grid.  Oh dear.  Not a good use of electrons.

 

In a bit more detail

 

We’ve seen self-promotional postings here from this “institute” posting before.  Every two years at about this time of year in fact.  I recall commenting in 2013 that most of the institute’s site content could be seen as spurious (I am choosing my words, um, delicately).  This is more of the same, or at least some might say so (is that delicate enough?)

 

The “grid” itself is a small Excel spreadsheet.  It invites you to list all your record types, one Excel row per type. The value it purports to add is by proposing 50 metadata attributes for each record type, and the idea is that you populate the metadata for each of your record types (yes, 50 for each!)  Good luck with that.  Fortunately (for the amount of work required) or unfortunately (for the credibility of the grid) many of the attributes are not normally related to record types.  If you understand your RM, this might prompt some idea or thought you did not previously have, but the benefit would be slight for most.  If you don’t understand your RM, it will not be helpful and in some cases will be positively unhelpful.  Or so some indelicate folk might say.

 

The grid is backed up by a glossary which is awful (no need for delicacy here).  The definitions are confused, confusing, internally inconsistent, and (at least arguably) wrong in material respects.  They contain errors of every kind I can think of: spelling, grammar, clarity, correctness, completeness…  if you doubt me, try to follow through the definitions of “Record” and “Record Item” then their usages in other definitions. Better yet, don’t – it is not a fruitful use of time.

 

Some people might say (if they lack a certain delicacy) that the worst thing about this grid is the website on which it is hosted.  Much of it contains of hundreds and hundreds of definitions, mostly useless, unnecessary and seemingly machine-generated.  Avoid with glee.

 

Sorry.

 

Marc Fresko

 

 

 

From: The Information and Records Management Society mailing list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Frank Guerino
Sent: 09 November 2015 11:59
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: RM Control Grid

 

Hi All,

 

(Apologies for cross-posting.)

 

For those interested, we’ve been putting together a Records Management Command, Control and Communications Grid (a.k.a. a RM Control Grid).  The grid currently consists of over 50 control attributes, with a metadata dictionary and term glossary.  The goal is to help Records Managers across different enterprises reuse and track key common RM data.

 

If anyone is interested in using it or providing feedback to help improve it, the document can be found at the download location: http://www.if4it.com/download-records-management-control-grid/.  Download does require free registration with the site but doing it this way allows us to better control versioning and distribution.

 

If interested in more detail, there is also a correlating blog post with some more descriptive information about the grid located at: http://www.if4it.com/records-management-rm-control-grid/

 

We hope you find it useful and we look forward to any feedback you might be able to offer.

 

My Best,

 

Frank

--
Frank Guerino, Chairman
The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT)
http://www.if4it.com
1.908.294.5191 (M)

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