In order for a document to become a record within the system it must be filed into the file plan. During this process it will inherit certain information, such as disposition instructions, based on its location in the file plan.
There are number of ways in which a document can be filed into the the fileplan:
Upload and existing document
Copy a document from an Alfresco document library into the file plan
File directly from another user interface, e.g. email client
Direct creation of a non-electronic record
When filing a record some metadata will be mandatory, however some client interfaces, e.g. email, CIFS, etc. may not support the ability to force mandatory fields. Furthermore there may be situations where a record must be completed a group of individuals before it is complete. Because of this the system support a two step process for creating records; filing and declaring.
This therefore splits the process into two, the creation of the object in the system in the first instance (filing), perhaps as a scanned document for instance and secondly the declaration of that object in order to make it a record.
This section covers the process of filing and declaring records into the system.
Documents made or received in the course of business become records when they are set aside, that is, filed. During filing, the records are are 'categorized', that is they are assigned codes corresponding to the category to which they belong, allowing the system to manage them; and they are also assigned a unique identifier. This is done by choosing the correct record folder in the file plan to file the record. When a record is initially filed it will be 'undeclared', such an undeclared record may exist like this in the system for some time.
A record may only be filed within a record folder, that is to say it cannot be filed into a Record Category or a Record Series. In the relatively rare cases where a record ought to be filed at a Record Category level a holding folder will need to be created for the record within that record category.
Only users who have the Declare Records capability may file and declare records. Declaring a record involves completing the mandatory metadata for the record, this will change the status of the record to declared.
The record declaration process will validate the values of metadata entered into the system when records are being declared, which includes an metadata properties defined by an authorized individual. In this way the system allows the process of declaring a record to be completed by a more than one user. Allowing the declaration process to be divided between users makes the system more flexible but a record CANNOT be declared until all of its mandatory data have been completed and validated. Typically the scenario is that one user enters some metadata then passes the electronic record to another user, who enters the remaining metadata, it would be at this point that the record would be declared.
The Alfresco Records Management System supports automated assistance in capturing electronic documents, by automatically extracting as much metadata as possible, for as many kinds of document as possible. The metadata elements involved, and the kinds of documents for which this is possible, will depend on the environment.
During capture of a record the system will prompt the user to enter any required metadata that has not automatically been captured. The system will warn the user if an attempt is made to declare an object with a title which already exists in the same aggregation object and to re-title the object before declaration.
Filing Email Records
Filing email records with Alfresco Records Management is easy, you simply need to have an email client which supports the IMAP protocol. As with all records which enter the system the declaration of e-mail is a two stage process; filing and declaration. Whenever an e-mail is captured, the system will capture it in a format that retains its header information in an integrated way with metadata extraction and capture being performed against the email record.
The two stage process will require that the record is declared by the user manually in the records management system.
The system supports automated assistance in the capture of incoming e-mails, with and without attachments, as records, by automatically extracting the following metadata from them, to the extent that these are present:
Email Header Field
Whilst the system captures the sender of an e-mail message, this is not always the same as the author, for example when a secretary sends a message on behalf of an executive. The capture of sender is specified here as a conscious compromise, it being impossible to reliably capture the author automatically.
The system allows a user to choose how to capture an e-mail message with attachment(s) as:
the e-mail message as a single record, with embedded attachment(s);
the e-mail with its attachment(s) each as separate but linked records;