The annual meeting of the Documentation Group was held in Berlin on 22 and 23 May at the invitation of German Railways. The Documentation Group brings together information management professionals from railway companies: heads of documentation centres, archives and libraries. The annual meeting is an opportunity for members to exchange experience and good practice in the area of information management in the railways.
The Documentation Group steering committee had chosen to focus participants’ discussions on the effectiveness of the marketing strategies applied by information professionals to showcase their services and products to both their customers and decision-makers within their companies. Mr Martin Cordes, in charge of the archives at the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) Heritage Foundation, and Mrs Inta Berke, head of the documentation centre at Latvian Railways (LDZ), illustrated how they had implemented strategies targeting customers and managers in order to promote their activities.
This meeting was also the occasion to discover various aspects of the information management system at Deutsche Bahn AG.
Mr Folker Wendt, in charge of information systems and telecommunications at DB Projektbau, presented Deutsche Bahn’s strategy with regard to Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and how this strategy is deployed within the DB Projektbau GmbH subsidiary through the application of an electronic Document Management System. ECM aims to manage an organisation’s entire stock of information. This involves dealing with electronically stored information that is unstructured, such as electronic documents, as opposed to the information in databases (which is already structured).
As an example, a content management application would be used to manage all the information contained in a customer’s portfolio: physical mail, emails, faxes, contracts, etc., in the same infrastructure. The content management aims to cover the whole lifecycle of unstructured information: its collation, organisation, use, publication and availability, and archiving for records management purposes.
In addition, Ms Christiane Hertel, Records Manager at DB Konzernorganisation, presented the strategy for information and documentation security through the application of the Records Management system implemented within DB Konzern. She highlighted the company’s increasing need for a Records Management system that was both efficient and in line with current standards. The following observation was made:
- External requirements for archiving in commercial enterprises had multiplied
- The inability to find documents is a source of legal or economic risk
- There were no rules on how to deal with the rapidly increasing proportion of digital documents
- Internationalisation generated further requirements due to international and local prescriptions
The Records Management project, deployed since 2006, has led to the introduction of an effective system enabling DB Konzern to efficiently and systematically manage documents that the company needs in order to keep records of its activities in three main areas:
- Documents to meet legal requirements
- Documents for protecting evidence vis-à-vis third parties
- Documents to safeguard internal process “knowledge”
Finally, under the lead of Mrs Susanne Kubeneck, Product Manager for Archives and Records Management, the participants visited DB’s largest archives centre in Thyrow in the suburbs of Berlin, which covers an area of over 3000m² and is managed by DB Kommunikationstechnik GmbH.