Thursday, 3 May 2012

Information Audit: Towards common standards and methodology

an article by Peter Griffiths (Independent Information Specialist) published in Business Information Review Volume 29 Number 1 (March 2012)


This article further analyses a number of issues highlighted in a previous discussion of the current state of Information Audit (IA), and offers a graphical representation of the IA landscape.

Library and Information Science (LIS) struggles to establish its ‘soft’ approach to IA as the leading methodology despite repeated endorsement by authors in other professional groups with some kind of interest in information management. They have found the LIS IA methodology using analysis of information needs and flows to be a useful analytical tool that allows them to evaluate information assets and to demonstrate compliance in asset management – whether those assets are financial, documentary or intangibles such as know-how.

Since the implementation of Freedom of Information legislation, records management has espoused a strong focus on compliance and the avoidance of penalties for data protection breaches, but recent publications suggest that organizations of all kinds are adopting this finance- and accountancy-driven approach to information audit. This may be because it is seen as best able to manage the growing complexity of regulation and legislation (local, national and international) that affects information management.

Forming strategic alliances with other players, the information profession must take the lead in establishing standard IA procedures and definitions drawing on its own praxis, which is widely accepted by other disciplines. There needs to be a single point of call for standardizing and accrediting IA skills, with the creation of a supporting body of knowledge whose evidence base goes beyond standard journal literature and monographs to include the now considerable corpus of unpublished theses as well as papers in languages other than English.

As IA is adopted by a growing number of professional disciplines, LIS and KIM (Knowledge and Information Management) professionals – and also some finance professionals – can now find and seize opportunities beyond the boundaries of more traditional information work.

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