Archival Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 287–318 | Cite as

Continuous classification: capturing dynamic relationships among information resources

  • Greg BakEmail author
Original Paper


Records classification within electronic records management systems often is constrained by rules derived from paper-era recordkeeping, particularly the rule that one record can have only one file code—a rule that was developed to enable the management of records in aggregate. This paper calls for a transformation of recordkeeping and archival practice through an expanded definition of records classification and through item-level management of electronic records.


Classification Item-level management Electronic records management systems Functionalism in archival theory Function-based records classification Digital records management Digital records discovery Digital archiving Digital information ecology 



This article is the product of a long process of discussion, writing and rewriting. Along the way it has benefitted from discussions and feedback from a number of colleagues and scholars including Brian Thurgood, Paul Marsden, Karine Burger, Geoffrey Yeo and Luciana Duranti. The resulting paper further benefitted from the critiques of this journal’s editor and anonymous reviewers. Terry Cook, Tom Nesmith and Kat Timms have come along for the journey through the many transformations of the paper, offering perceptive readings of various versions and always challenging me to continue to develop my argument and conclusions. My thanks to all. Errors remain my own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Master’s of Archival Studies Program, Department of HistoryUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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