Two offices TRIM archiving

The Center for Army Lessons Learned and the Office of Thrift Supervision both have
archiving projects under way using a Defense Department 5015.2-Std-certified software
application called TRIM.

The Tower Records and Information Management package, from Tower Software Corp. of
Fairfax, Va. [GCN, June 29, Page 1], is a C++ client-server
application originally developed for the Australian government.

The Office of Thrift Supervision in Washington, the Army center at Fort Leavenworth,
Kan., and the United Nations in New York are using TRIM to manage departmental paper
records, e-mail, electronic documents and embedded objects, according to officials
familiar with those projects.

TRIM handles record-keeping for registering file folders and documents, managing
multiple file series, tracking folders, registering and tracking archive boxes, and
managing user access profiles.

Depending on how an agency decides to use it, TRIM can be a records archiving system or
a document management system or both, said Geoff Moore, president of Tower Software.

Departments can use the application for either centralized or decentralized records
management, he said. In both cases, users have to fill in at least one mandatory field for
every record they register in TRIM.

Ideally, organizations should set up interoperable e-mail and record-keeping systems
and avoid making users input metadata, because the record-keeping system would
automatically collect it, Karen Shaw said. She is senior information and records manager
for the Army Directorate of Information Management at Fort Leavenworth.

“We’re working toward that in a program called the Defense Information
Technology Testbed,” Shaw said.

TRIM provides up to 60 variable fields for metadata, which the system administrator can
make mandatory or optional.

“We never recommend anyone use all 60, but you can pick and choose ones that are
appropriate,” Moore said.

DOD 5015.2-Std for records management software describes 10 mandatory fields, although
it is possible for administrators to set up TRIM with fewer than 10 mandatory fields, he

At the very least, a TRIM user is prompted to fill in the metadata field labeled File
Folder. “Most users don’t want to spend more than five or six seconds
classifying records, and if it’s more complex than that, they may not do it,”
Moore said.

A records administrator or other official who understands the organization’s
administrative processes sets up the folders in advance, Moore said. Associated with each
folder are retention schedules, security profiles and other built-in administrative rules.

Moore said retention schedules for individual documents are best handled by records
managers through electronic folders and not by users registering individual documents.

“End users don’t know what they’re doing, and things get on the wrong
retention schedules,” he said. “They get kept too long or not long enough.
It’s better done automatically through the file folder and [handled] by the records

TRIM accommodates both paper and electronic records by creating logical folders that
contain both types of records, Moore said. Once users have highlighted a record in TRIM,
they can navigate to related records or move up and down the container hierarchy.

An example might be a search for all documents received from organization XYZ or for
all documents sent by a particular employee at organization XYZ.

Records managers also use TRIM to search for electronic file folder boxes due for
transfer to the National Archives and Records Administration or for destruction when no
audit or litigation actions are pending, Moore said.

In the case of records due for destruction, the app generates a report and sends it to
the record owners for approval. If they authorize destruction, the application removes the
records by overwriting the hard disk so they cannot be recovered or undeleted, he said.

E-mail records will be the major source of records for the next three years, Moore
said, and probably more than half will be created in Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes

The TRIM client software runs under Microsoft Windows 3.11, Windows 95 or Windows NT.
Records metadata is stored in relational tables on an Oracle7, Informix Dynamic Server,
Sybase 11, Sybase SQLAnywhere, Microsoft SQL Server or IBM DB2 database server. TRIM
is priced from $300,000 for 128 concurrent users.

Contact Tower Software at 703-359-4343.

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