Forthcoming extension and plug-in modules to MoReq2010

A unique feature of MoReq2010 when compared to previous electronic records management specifications is the provision for the DLM Forum to publish optional extension modules and plug-ins to extend the compulsory core modules of the specification.

This will enable the specification to embrace needs specific to some but not all organisations/sectors, without imposing costs on vendors who intend to develop products that do not service those organisations/sectors.

It will also enable the specification to develop over time to respond to new needs created by the ever-evolving world of applications used in business.

Yesterday afternoon at the DLM Forum members meeting in Copenhagen I heard Jon Garde announce a list of MoReq2010 extension modules and plug-in modules that would be developed over the coming 12 months.

None of these extension/plug-in  module will be compulsory.  Vendors will continue to be able to achieve MoReq2010 compliance with a product that does not meet any of them.  However vendors will be able to ask for their product to be tested against them.

Extension modules

Extension modules provide an extension to the core modules of the specification, but do not replace the core modules.  Below I have listed the extension modules that are due to be published in the next 12 months

Transformed records extension module

This  module will define a capability for a MoReq2010 compliant system to manage records that have been annotated and/or redacted.  The special issue around these relate to the fact that the system needs to manage the relationship between the unannotated/unredacted version of the document, and the annotated/redacted version(s).

File aggregations extension module

The core modules of Moreq2010 replaced the concept of a ‘file’ (which had been present in all previous ERM specifications)  with a much more flexible concept of an ‘aggregation’.  The concept of an aggregation refers simply to the containers that users use to organise their records. That could be anything from a folder structure to a SharePoint document library to an e-mail inbox.  The concept of an aggregation was made as flexible as possible in order to offer the vendors of products as diverse as e-mail clients, collaborative systems, wikis etc the possibility to secure MoReq2010 compliance.

However there may be some organisations who simply want a system that works like a traditional EDRMS, with a hierarchical classification, and with users restricted to creating files that can have sub-files and/or volumes and into which they can place documents.

The file aggregation module will define the capability for a system to hold aggregations called ‘files’ that can contain sub-files but cannot sprawl into multi-level folder structures.  This will also give backward compatibility to the predecessor MoReq2 specification.

Import services extension module

The import services module will define  the capability for a MoReq2010 compliant system to import data exported from any other MoReq2010 compliant system.  Of all the extension modules Jon mentioned, this is the most important to my mind.

The whole point of MoReq2010 is the idea that most records need to be migrated from one system to another at some point in their lifecycle, and hence every MoReq2010 compliant system must be able to export its records in the format specified by the export services module of MoReq2010, which is a core and compulsory module.

I predict that MoReq2010 will come to life if and when a vendor brings to market a product that complies with the optional import services extension module that is in the course of development.  Any organisation that deploys such a system as a records repository has a huge incentive to make its other applications MoReq2010 compliant.  It would know that the minute it wanted to replace such an application it could export all the content and import it into its records repository without a complex custom migration process.

Security categorisation services extension module

This will define a capability for a MoReq2010 compliant records system to implement security classifications in MoReq2010 such as secret, top secret etc.

Physical management services extension module

This will define a capability for a MoReq2010 compliant records system to manage physical objects (such as hard copy records)

E-mail client integration extension module

This will define a capability for a MoReq2010 compliant records system to integrate with an e-mail client such as Microsoft Outlook in order to capture e-mail as records into the system.

Plug-in modules

Plug-in modules for e-mail and for Microsoft Office documents

The function of plug-in modules within the MoReq2010 specifications are to provide alternative ways of implementing a particular type of functionality.

For instance a MoReq2010 system keeps content (for example electronic documents) in the form of components, that are managed as records.  The core modules of the specification contain a rather generic ‘electronic component’. Over the next 12 months two new plug-in modules will be written: one for e-mail and one for Microsoft Office documents.  These plug in modules will define the requirements necessary to capture and manage metadata specific to e-mail and Microsoft Office documents.

These formats have been chosen simply because they are in wide usage.  It is still possible to bring other formats into a MoReq2010 compliant systems – they will can  be brought in using the more generic electronic component.  More plug-in modules will be written in future years.

Jon anticipates that there will be a new version of MoReq2010 published annually to include all the new extension and plug-in modules

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