1.1 Background to the Study
The creation of records is a fundamental aspect of the management of any business and operations, be it government or private organization. Today, corporations such as media houses (Radio Corporations, Television Stations and Print Media) and government agencies are creating and receiving records at an astonishing rate. The volumes of these records are not only staggering but the records also come in a variety of formats. According to Charles (2000), records are paper, maps, exhibits, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, and other documents produced, received, owned or used by an agency, regardless of media, physical form or characteristics. Similarly, the International Standard Organization (2001) defines records as information created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. The key word in the two definitions is evidence. This means that a record serves as evidence, be it in a physical or electronic format which, at the end of the day, provides an essential means to meet legal, financial and accountability requirements of an organization. A body’s ability to function efficiently and give account of its actions could be negatively affected if sound records management principles are not applied.
Records management is a process of ensuring the proper creation, organization, use maintenance and disposal of records to achieve efficient, transparent and accountable governance. Sound records management ensures that all the records that radio corporations create in the conduct of their official business are, and remain reliable, authoritative and authentic. According to Xolite and Jerry (2012), records management seeks to efficiently and systematically control records that are routinely created as a result of activities and transactions and throughout their lifecycle (creation, organization, use, maintenance and disposal). This means that records management is also based on the principles of regular review and controlled retention or destruction with the general aim of ensuring cost-effective business processes, legal and regulatory compliance, and corporate accountability. Chinyemba and Ngulube (2005) in Xolite and Jerry (2012) asserted that “Proper records management involves establishing systematic controls at every stage of the record’s lifecycle in accordance with established principles of records management.” This, therefore, means that practicing proper records management leads to good management.
Electronic records are records created electronically and stored by means of computer technology and other machines that go with the given electronic records. Machine-readable records cannot be read without the proper hardware and software. A coding process of the information (converting the data into an electronic signal) makes the record machine-readable. Electronic records are used for decision making, reference purpose, legal purpose, information creation (Kansas Historical Society, 2012).
MANAGEMENT OF ELECTRONIC RECORDS IN PRIVATE RADIO CORPORATION