Monday, August 3, 2009

The use of records

By Khairul Izzuan Ahmad


In this era, many country in the world especially develop country realize the important of record for them self. What is the record and what is the important of record?. Actually record has existed from the creation of world until now, begin from the ancient time that human are not civilized until human make their own civilization. For an example the china civilization, they realize the important of record and in their government also have the position record officer that responsible to preserve the record at their time. By the record they preserved, the china civilizations become one of the great civilization in the world. That same to other civilization like Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Islam and so on, they also realize the important of the record for their civilization.

Record can be determine as document from whatever form that has created, received, preserved and used it by organization to do their business transaction, whereby that document will be the evidence material for the business activities has be done. According to Malaysia Archival institution, record can be determine as “ Bahan dalam bentuk bertulis atau bentuk lain yang menyatakan fakta atau peristiwa atau selainnya merakamkan maklumat dan termasuklah kertas, dokumen, daftar, bahan bercetak, buku, peta, pelan, lukisan, gambar foto, mikrofilem,filem sinematograf, rakaman bunyi,rekod yang dihasilkan secara elektronik tanpa mengira bentuk atau cirri-ciri fizikal dan apa-apa salinanya” ( Jabatan Arkib Negara Malaysia, Akta Arkib Negara Malaysia 2003,Akta 629).

Beside that according to National archive of America (NARA), record can be determine as “all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency in connection with the transaction of business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization function, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, other activities or because of the informational value of data in them”

2.0 The Important of record

Record are important to us, in this section will discuss about the important of record in business activity for an agency and organization and also to us as individual. There have some the important of records that will discuss.

2.1 Record as evidence
Firstly the important of record is a record is evidence. Record are needed to proof the some activities has be done. For an example in the article “The Archivist as detective; or, The case of Ledyard v. William Morgan” by Bruce P.Stark has discusses the steps taken to identify the possibly stolen documents and to prove that they were once part of the collections of the Connecticut State Library. In this article, author have mention about with exact fact and have a record of the document, the case can be proof and the stolen or missing document can get back legally. In this article also mention about the lesson that will bear in mind for this case, firstly institutions need to be proactive to protect documents at risk. The better archivists know the content of their collections, the easier it will be to take steps to make certain that the originals do not disappear to be offered for sale by on-line auction houses and manuscript dealers. Institution need to analyze their collection to help identify materials that are most attractive to the dishonest and take positive steps to makes certain that they are not stolen. Beside that author also has mentioned about archives also need to review their security procedures, that because the archival material held is very important and have a value and also as a evidence to the country or organization, with the tight security, the material will protected and can be use when some cases happened. (P.Stark, The Archivist as detective; or, The case of Ledyard v. William Morgan, The American Archivist, vol 67,no 1-2, Year 2004,page 269)

Beside that in the article title “Looking in Archives in art” by Barbara L.Craig and James M.O’Toole. In this article the authors examine a selection of British and American portraits and genre painting, discussing their presentation of records as well as the contexts in which the painting were created and the importance of the records depicted. Archivists can use iconography of archives to understand the perception of artist to their art that their created. In this article overview that picture or images can be as evidence for the art that makes by the artist. For an example the portraits can be as evidence for the environment at the past and their lifestyle. By that, this record in form of images can be use as evidence for what ever purpose. (Barbara L.Craig and James M.O’Toole, “Looking in Archives in art”, The American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, year 2000, page 97)

Beside that in the article “The British effort of safeguarding the land records of Palestine 1948”, by Dov Gavish from Hebrew university of Jerusalem, Archives, Volume 22,No 95,October 1996,page 107-120. This article view about action that have been taken by Britain for safe the important record and archival material in Palestine 1948. in this article have show the important of the land record as a evidence for the existed of Palestine and Israel country. This land record has been kept by Israel government and that makes a conflict between Israel and Arabic people in establishing Palestine country. From that, we know the important of record In show the authority for the land.

2.2 Record as reference
Secondly the important of record is as the reference, that means record needed as reference when do work and duty. For an example, the manager will used the previous record when to handling some projects or duty. In article titled “Archives or Assets?” by Peter B.Hirtle, (page 235, the American archivist year 2002-2003), has said the function of the record itself as material that will be access by person to review it and as their reference for what ever purpose. For an example, the record and archives held in the archives will be access by the visitor for their reference, like historian will use the archival material like manuscript to their study and to makes a exact fact for the history. By that way, the record is important because the exact fact and will be used as reference for what ever purpose.

2.2 Record as control and legal tools
Thirdly the important of record is as control and legal tools, documents or record that contain rules or policies, act, order are important for some organization. Without records the transaction in one organization are difficult and cannot be handle. For an example, the constituent act, organization policies and so on, this record will help the courts to do their work and give the result for the cases. In the article titled “The Archivist as detective; or, The case of Ledyard v. William Morgan” by Bruce P.Stark , in this article has shows the authority of the document like in the phrase “Who Owns documents held by Mashantucket Tribe?” and “Mashantucket say they’ll return missing document to state- if they have them”(document missing). By this phrase in this case, shows the authority cannot be proof if they no have a rules or no have a record to shows who are responsible stolen these kind of record. by that way, by following the act of constitution of state as the record( which record consider as control and legal tools), the state( in this cases) are apply law in document case to proof who are the responsible stole that document. (P.Stark, The Archivist as detective; or, The case of Ledyard v. William Morgan, The American Archivist, vol 67,no 1-2, Year 2004,page 269)

Beside that in article “Archives or Asset?” by Peter B.Hirtle, The American archivist, year 2002-2003, page 243, the author has mentioned about archival principal and control of public domain material, under this section, author has describe the archives task to take care object placed in archive and have responsibility to pass them to good condition to their successor. The thing want to discuss about the responsible to take care of the archival material is archival institution, archival institution has been given mandate by the act (known as controlling and legal tools) to take care and preserve the record and conserve it in good condition, by have this legal tool in form of act of constitution of state, every body know the responsibility to take care of the archival material and record is under archival institution. Another example is in Malaysia, the constitution of Malaysia is the record and also the control and legal tools, in this constitution has mentioned about the responsibility of archival material is under the Archive of Malaysia and must follow their policies.

2.3 Record as decision helper
Records also know as decision helper, as known, for making decision, we need enough fact and information. Record as one tools that will help the decision makers to make the decision because records contain exact information. Without record the decision maker will face the difficulty to make a good decision and will give the risk to the organization. In the article titled “The beginnings of the NHRPC Records programs” by Frank G.Burke, The American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, year 2000, page 18, the author has describe the important of record to the company, many agency or organization face the successfully of their business are cause of records and proper record management in their organization, same with many organization bankrupt and lost their profit because of record and do not arrange their record properly according record management process. From that, The NHRPC or National historical publications and records commission has begun develop the record programs, by the development record programs shows the record is important to any organization either government or private sector, one of the purpose of this record programs is to make the organization either governmental or non-governmental are more effective and efficient in their business transaction. This programs also helps the organization can arrange and manage their record especially vital records in good condition and also guide them to make a exact decision for their business activity.

In Article titled “Archivistics Research Saving the Profession” by Eric Ketelaar, page 327, American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, year 2000, page 322. The author also have same opinion, record as decision helper, author have said “Records are created in and organization to support and manage work, to record why, when, where, in what capacity and by whom particular action were carried out”

2.4 Record as the memory, money and great value.
Record also known as the memory, that because as with the record we can remember what happened in the past. Records are very useful to person or organization. In article titled “Archivistics Research Saving the Profession” by Eric Ketelaar, page 327, American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, year 2000, page 320. The author has described record and archives are “memory institution”, “memoire perdue” (in French language). All of this meaning is record gain the memory of the past and very reliable and useful.

Record that have a great or high value can also have monetary value. In the Article title “Archives or Asset” by Peter B.Hirtle, The American archivist, year 2002-2003, page 243, author in the introduction of his article has address “In April of this year, the Washington Post reported that the papers of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Post reporters who uncovered most of the Watergate scandal, had been sold to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas for $5 million. The Article on the Post noted that other collections had been sold for similar large amounts, including Susan Sontag’s papers for $1.1 million, Francis Crick’s papers for $1.3 million, the Zap ruder Film of the Kennedy assasination for $16 million, and some of Winston Churchill’s papers for $18.4 million. The paper could have cited additional purchases, such as the $18 million that U.S government paid for Richard Nixon’s paper in 2000, or the current offering by Sotheby’s of some of Martin Luther King’s paper that had been offered to the Library of Congress for $20 million and have been appraised for $30 million.” From the article and the author statement, can be said the record is very important to every body, some record have highly monetary value and because of that the record management is very important to makes sure record can handle properly and when the record have a value can be preserved for the next generation.

3.0 Conclusion
As a conclusion, record and archives is very important either for individual, agency, government sector and private sector, and nation. Record also makes the human are more civilized and make individual or organization are more effective and efficient.


Burke, F.G, (2000), The beginning of NHPRC records program, Journal American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, pp 18.

Cox, D., (2005),The rise of confidently :state courts on access to public records during the mid-twentieth century, Journal American Archivist, vol 68, no, 1-2, pp 312.

Craig, B.L. & O’toole,J.M., (2000), Looking at archives in art, Journal American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, pp97.

Gavish, D.,(1996),”The British effort of safeguarding the land records of Palestine 1948”, Archives, Volume 22,No 95 ,pp 107-120.

Hirtle,P.B, (2002-2003), Archives of asset?, Journal American Archivist, pp 235.
Ketelar, E. (2000), Archivist research saving the profession, American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2,pp 322.

Newhall, A.C., (2000), The NHPRC in the new record age, Journal American Archivist, vol 63, no 1-2, pp 67.

Stark, B.P, (2004), The archivist as detective, the case of Ledyard V. William morgan, Journal American Archivist, Vol 67, no 1-2, pp 269.

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