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Limited consensus around ARM information protection practices

Fred Cohen
Mel Leverich
Meghan Whyte
Eng Sengsavang
Grant Hurley


Archives and Records Management (ARM) literature surrounding Information Protection (IP) has been developed in relative isolation from the IP field. As a result, it has been unclear until now whether and to what extent ARM literature and practice is consistent with or divergent from IP literature and practice. This paper compares IP and ARM information protection through the lens of a Standard of Practice (SoP). An existing enterprise IP SoP was adapted to ARM through literature analysis and produced a draft ARM SoP. The draft ARM SoP was applied in a rote fashion to a small sample of government-operated archives to identify likely areas of consensus and lack of consensus surrounding the various elements of the SoP. This resulted in some areas of strong consensus and other areas of strong divergence. A horizontal element was also used to identify whether and to what extent learning and thinking about the issues caused changes in evaluation. Increased consensus was found after a delay between initial exposure to the SoP and subsequent review of SoP elements. While this is a small sample study, it points toward both the need and the value of larger and more comprehensive studies in order to afford a clear consensus around reasonable and prudent practices for ARM IP and the value of additional awareness, training, and education in IP issues within the ARM community.