The first International Standard for the management of business records is expected to result in cost savings for users, whether large or small enterprises, as well as improved risk management.

Published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), ISO 15489, Information and documentation - Records management, focuses on the business principles behind records management and how organizations can establish a framework to enable a comprehensive records management programme.

ISO 15489, which consists of two parts, and, costs 86 Swiss francs (Part 1 only) and 122 Swiss francs (Part 2 only) and is available from ISO national member institutes (see complete list with contact) and from ISO Central Secretariat (customerservice@iso.org).

According to Robert McLean, member of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, Subcommittee 11, Archives/records management, which developed the new standard, ISO 15489 will significantly improve the way organizations manage records. "Global organizations will find specific benefits in this truly international standard. Experts from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia forged agreement on a clear and systematic approach to the essentials of record keeping. "

"ISO 15489 standard clearly shows how an organization can systematically and effectively improve its record keeping - and do so in such a way that the business objectives are supported. Senior management will be able to identify tangible benefits such as reduced costs and better managed risks, thereby contributing to better corporate governance."

The standard will provide a common international language for people to record and file material, in any medium or format or in any combination of media. Regardless of the size of the enterprise, the type of organization, or the level of technology used, users will benefit from reviewing their record keeping activities against the standard's best practice.

"The new standard enables organizations to develop policies, strategies and programmes which will ensure that information assets have the essential characteristics of accuracy, integrity and reliability," further noted Mr. McLean.

"It demonstrates why good records management practice is essential to create, capture and use information essential for the organization to fulfil its obligations and meet the expectations of its stakeholders. The new standard identifies the key issues involved in retaining the information and making it available in a useable and reliable way as well as how it may be selectively and securely disposed of at the appropriate time."

ISO 15489 is aimed at individuals responsible for setting policies, standards and guidelines for information management within organizations including records managers, archivists, special librarians, knowledge management professionals, database managers, business administrators and individuals within organizations who are responsible for the oversight of record keeping practices.