Pandemic, digitisation and good archiving practices

By Sofia Ribeiro, Research Assistant at the Management Support Service

I joined INESC TEC in May 2020. Yes, during the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic that took people from their usual workplace to… well, a new, yet familiar workspace.

My project focuses on the definition of an archive management policy for INESC TEC, taking into account the guidelines of the GDPR. In this sense, I had to get to know all INESC TEC’s services, their managers and procedures… from home.

Have you ever tried to get to know an organisation that is adjusting itself, in order to adapt to new processes and ways of working? It’s just like being in a relationship with someone who is still discovering themselves; let me tell you, it was not easy. However, the kindliness and openness of everyone helped my work move forward.

I believe that, and despite all these constraints, I joined INESC TEC at a good time. Yes, I may not be as part of the great INESC TEC team as others; but it’s safe to say that, as soon as I met you, I was widely welcomed to your home! Just like I said, I joined at a “good time”, because part of my job focuses on the digitisation of your files. And what better times if not the ones we’re going through, since we’re all forced to embrace the digitisation of our work?

However, this level of digitisation brings certain challenges: how to organise the files (yes, it is a file, even if we’re talking about files in a folder or worse… in the desktop!); how to deal with capacity questions, and – one of 2020 “champions” – how to adopt best information security practices.

I’ll now leave you with a brief set of adequate information management practices, just to call to mind some previous conversations:

  1. Mapping the information produced and received by the services: identify the information flows (where the documentation comes from, where it goes, who handles it), in order to understand its life cycle;
  2. Defining the storage locations for documentation: select the resources and the most appropriate structure for each type of information;
  3. Naming the documentation according to a naming convention: they facilitate the retrieval of information;
  4. Storing the documentation in specific places: comply with the structure established in the previous points! Having access to an organisation’s guide could be helpful;
  5. Avoiding “junk” folders: we all know them, and we all have them; that “junk drawer” also applies to documentation;
  6. Controlling duplication, copies and transmission of documentation: this leads to the replication of information and, worse, to the unrestrained dissemination of personal data;
  7. Defining documentation control and monitoring routines (please check the global conservation timeframe map): maybe during August, when the majority of people enjoy “tidying up” their paperwork! Can someone explain to me why August causes an unexplainable urge to organise things?
  8. Adopting information security and GDPR compliance procedures: you can read the guidelines issued by the Data Protection Team.

The documents on good practices and the global map of conservation periods (a map with all the documentation produced by INESC TEC services, with the respective conservation periods) is available on the Management Support’s repository, and I am always available to help you in these matters.

Documentation is one of the main aspects of any organisation, and since INESCTEC is dedicated to generate knowledge, it may actually be its main element (alongside people, of course). Therefore, it is important to create the necessary conditions to leverage information and knowledge, in a safe and structured way, in order to help INESC TEC reaching new heights.

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