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Managing Documented Evidence

ISO9000 Document Controls

 
 
 

 

   
   
   

 

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Managing Electronic Documents as Evidence

Traditional document management techniques have been addressed largely at the management of paper documents. It is now time for these techniques to be extended to the management of electronic documents, otherwise we risk the loss of valuable corporate memory through the inaccessibility or inadvertent destruction of valuable electronic documents.

This is not a new problem. The need for evidence has been around for a long time. What is changing is the way we keep the evidence. More and more, the proof is moving from traditional paper documents to electronic media. This poses problems because traditional document management disciplines that have been applied to paper documents are not necessarily being applied to electronic documents. This can result in:

        confusion between different versions of a document (e.g. because there may be multiple copies, none of which is the authoritative version)

        loss or destruction of documents that should be kept (e.g. because there is no central repository analogous to the paper file repository, and the author is unaware of the need for retention)

        questionable authenticity, because of possible manipulation of text in electronic documents

        loss of context of documents (e.g. because related documents are not linked or kept together)

        documents becoming inaccessible because of technological change (e.g. changes in software or storage media make the files unreadable)

These problems are part of an on-going challenge for CDMR to find better ways for managing electronic documents, while taking advantage of the very real advantages offered by technology.

 

 

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