Dr. Pat Franks Advances AI Research in Records and Information Management
Major research results prepared for InterPARES Trust AI


Published: February 11, 2023 by Melissa Prunty Kemp

AI is frequently featured in almost everything these days, especially in business technology. The promise of AI to aid in managing the big data that we create in the course of normal business operations is widely desired and widely advertised. The phone or chat bot are small examples of AI assistance in business functions. How could AI be used to perform archives and records management functions? 

Dr. Franks and a team of researchers have tackled “the biggest challenge facing archivists and records and information professionals today,” that being “how to deal with big data which possesses the characteristics of volume, velocity, variety, veracity, value, and variability. Big data is so massive it can’t be controlled using today’s database tools and analytics software techniques. It requires advanced technologies and techniques to automate routine processes. Even simple automation tools and workflows are not enough. Vendors are increasingly marketing their AI enabled software and services to aid information professionals.” 

An exhaustive review of twenty-five softwares that advertised the use of AI were evaluated by the research team to determine exactly how AI was being employed, if and how well it conducted retention and disposition, and whether the algorithms being used were able to be customized or machine learning could be employed to train them. Standards used to direct the software evaluations were ISO15489-1:2016,  ISO 23801, ISO 16175, and ISO 30300. 

This portion of the research isolated useful AI software for archivists and records managers.  The next phase planned for the research is to administer a questionnaire that hopes to uncover more specific applications of software to more components of the life cycle of records and to uncover just how archivists and records managers desire to use AI to ease their tasks. Interviews and demonstrations from software vendors will round out the view of AI as an effective tool in archives and records management.


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