The role of records managers in the digital age: The Zambian experience
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In the information society, records are generated in many forms including paper and electronic forms. In addition, technology is consistently being used to convert paper records into electronic format presenting a change in a way records have to be managed. In the quest to increase efficiency in business processes in organisations, the management of electronic records is critical. However, the ascendancy of digital records poses a number of challenges in their management including those related to storage and preservation, aspects which fosters easy accessibility and retrieval for posterity. Records managers are challenged to possess specialised skills in handling digital records. They are also faced with the challenge of ensuring knowledge gaps do not exist as a result of poor storage and preservation approaches. One of the problems also confronting records managers in the digital age relates to security of information held in an electronic media and the privacy of records. This paper reviews the role of records managers in the era of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), with a specific focus on Zambia. It discusses theories and methodologies that have been developed to ensure the reliability, security, accuracy, authenticity and long term accessibility of digital records. In addition, it highlights the impact of new technologies on records management practices and examines the skills records managers should possess to effectively handle the new technologies as well as digital records. It concludes by recommending that records managers in Zambia should consider adopting contemporary records management practices in order to effectively manage organisational records in various forms.