My sudden interest in record keeping influenced my decision to complete twenty courses offered by RIMPA out of which I have been fortunate to completed twelve courses. When I recieved the invitation from RIMPA to attend a webinar on Digital Transformation, I did not imagine that it would turn out to be quite a revelatory experience through the history of record keeping. Piqued and impressed by a presentation by a Japanese delegate about the earliest records I embarked on a journey to satisfy my inquisitiveness. The earliest records were created on caves as our ancestors recorded their significant events of their leives and thoughts through pictures and paintings. Research show that the first written record were created in Egypt in the Sumer language using cuneiform on soft clay which was baked hard later and we still have access to these clay tablets dated back to more than 5,000 years ago. Between 2500 – 2340 BCE, as the civilization developed, the Sumerians created “Bill of Rights” on clay cones .
Different countries created recods using different systems such as Oracle Bone Scripts which were maintained by China and used for foretelling the future. Bamboo stalks were also used to create political records by the chinese scholars wheras the Russians Indians and the Middle East were kknown to have created records of all sorts on birch barks. While the Greeks created records on ostraca or broken pieces of pottery which they also regarded as “the scrap paper”, the South East Asians created records on palm leaves and used rounded Southeast Asian scripts to prevent breaking the palm leaves. Following the manufacture of paper, the more sophisticated and structured record keeping came into existence all over the world. In 2019, the buzzwords among record managment professionals were Records 365, TRIM, Content Manager 9.3 since digitisation of fragile paper records became mandatory and these have retained its significance in 2021.
Today, with the talk revolving around concepts such as digitisation, digital activity, business continuity, digital transformation and these being the need of the hour are emphazized repeatedly by the government. Digitisation, though instrumental in resolving most of the problems concerned with long term preservation of paper records such as minimising storage space, loss of important records, improving business efficiency, etc., have also given birth to new security threates making the job of safeguarding digital data from cyber attacks challenging for records and information management professionals. The multiplying nature od digital data has made it difficult for businesses to integrate or combine data to present the real picture with accuracy. Artificial Intelligence, a miracle, seems to be the answer to the problem though its employment till date is not successful as humans are still required to confirm the machine’s work. It’s a no win situation anyway for if the Artificial Intelligence integrates and groups data with perfection, then we would lose our careers to it.