When it comes to managing files at work, if you’re like most uOttawa employees, you probably tend to over-retain files; you may even have developed a naming convention and a method of filing or sharing work files that only makes sense to you. There’s also a good chance that you almost never take the time to delete the preliminary drafts or copies of a document that you kept “just in case”. (You're not alone — we all have those so-called “final-final-FINAL” documents hidden away somewhere).
“Most people don’t realize that provincial and federal legislation, and best practices, govern how long we’re supposed to keep specific documents. Each file is governed by a Records Retention Schedule, which outlines what is to be kept or not, and for how long. If in doubt, do not hesitate to contact us,” says Nina Carter, senior director, Information and Archives Management, whose career in the information management industry spans 30 years.
During her career, Carter has assisted numerous Crown corporations and municipalities across North America with the development and implementation of their electronic information management strategies. Now it's the University of Ottawa’s turn to benefit from her extensive knowledge.
“One of the things that drew me to uOttawa was the goals of Transformation 2030,” says Carter. “From the very beginning, I wanted to contribute to those goals by helping to improve information management. The results of our efforts would support the goals of being more connected and more agile in a sustainable way. Our team wants to be a trusted partner to the University. This goes beyond managing paper records and our historical archives — we touch on everything digital.”
Building for success, together
Since joining the department, Carter has looked to understand the information management landscape at the University. She aims to help define best practices, find solutions that rely on our current technologies and help employees find the right information, at the right time.
Several successful projects have already taken shape for Carter and her team, working with several groups at the University. A great collaboration with Facilities was their pilot project, validating the approach and guidance that the department could provide.
“Nina and her group of experts really pulled out all the stops to make our initial transition from DocuShare to a modular solution in SharePoint painless,” explains Marc-Antoine Joly, associate vice-president, Facilities. “We now have a framework that allows us to make project files that can quickly become very complex much more transparent, visible and organized.”
To ensure that your content is properly classified, that you have an effective naming convention and that you follow legislation, the IMA team is here to help. They can also work with you to classify or organize your existing files stored on network drives or in DocuShare and migrate them to a SharePoint Online collaboration site.
Improve your information management skills
“In addition to using network drives, we’re now using OneDrive and Teams, so we need to learn how to leverage these technologies to optimize our business processes, improve information management practices and make sure we’re compliant with regulations and policies. Our team is here to make this transition as smooth as possible for you,” says Carter.
In the coming months, the team will focus its energies on refining this coaching process and updating existing training tools. They are currently working on a video series designed to introduce the main concepts of information management, which will be followed by two other series to present how to ensure compliance and how to collaborate in the digital age.
“I’m very passionate about information management and the positive impact that developing good practices can have on our current way of working,” says Carter. “We will be consultative, providing advice and guidance to the University. We are happy to help any team interested in learning more, seeking to develop best practices to organize their information or looking to collaborate. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.”