The first step in the lifecycle of a record is is to ‘classify’ it. A document must be classified as a record to be brought under control of the Electronic Records Management (ERM) domain.Classification organizes the records, grouping documents together into logically defined categories. The ISO 15489 standard specifies general principles of Records Management and includes a description of classification within an ERM.ISO 15489 calls out eight main benefits as a result of record classification:Linked Records. An ERM system can show references between records by providing a method of creating links between records. The linkages allow you to build up a continuous record of activity.Consistent Naming. The classification system provides the structure and methodology for creating consistent record names. This ensures a correct grouping of related records over time, avoiding gaps that may occur as terminology can evolve or be obsoleted.Retrieve and Identify Similar Records. Because classification aggregates groups of documents together, it is possibloe to quickly identify all records that belong to a specified function or activity.Security and Access applied to Groups. When records are grouped together, access security can be easily associated with the container that holds a group of records. User Permissions. User permissions or access controls can be applied to allowed actions that can be performed on groups of records.Distributed Management Responsibility. Because records aggregated in groups, many records can also be acted on at a group level, rather than an individual record level.Distributing Records For Action. Again, the grouping of records lets us distribute or send all files to someone. In an electronic system, someone could be notified about a set of records and sent an electronic link that gives them access to those records.Scheduling of Retention and Disposition. Typically classification of a document as a record will immediately associate a retention plan and disposition action for the record. Logically grouping records via classification simplifies this task.A more detailed discussion of classification and ISO 15489 and how classification can work in parallel with enterprise search, is in the September/October issue of AIIM EDoc Magazine by Atle Skjekkeland.