Application of the records life-cycle and records continuum models in organizations in the 21st century

  • Mpubane Emanuel Matlala University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Asania Reneilwe Maphoto University of Zululand
Keywords: records management, records life-cycle, records continuum, theories, principles


This study provides a descriptive examination and traces the historical development of records management approaches, as well as their significance to the records management practice and their limitations. The study focuses on the records continuum model, developed in Australia's archival sciences field in recent years and discusses its implications for the practice of records and archival management. Prior to the emergence of the records continuum model, the life-cycle theory dominated most records management fields globally. The records continuum model responds – in ways that the life-cycle theory is unable to deal with the challenges of electronic records and proposes a new set of management thinking of the preservation of the electronic environment, in which contemporary institutions and their associated electronic records coexist. There appears to be insufficient literature on the practice of these two records management theories in the organizational context. To contribute to bridging this gap, this study analysed the major components of each records management theory and presents models of organizations built on these approaches. Therefore, the study examines the uses of the records continuum model and life-cycle theories within the broader field of archival research. The study is a literature review within a qualitative, interpretative paradigm. Relying on historical and narrative analysis, the findings established evidence of the practice of the records management theories in the organizations. The study concluded that records management practice in organizations can be enhanced, if specific factors within each records management approach are given adequate consideration in their application.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0376-4753