Institute of Certified Records Managers

Institute of Certified Records Managers

In today's evolving knowledge economies, the convergence of IM domains indicates the need for a greater integration of management disciplines that build the capacity of business to achieve desired outcomes. Among disciplines such as Financial and Human Resource Management, Information Technology and Business Administration, the field of Records Management (also known as "records and information management" and, in some non-US jurisdictions, increasingly recognized as "recorded information management") is often overlooked.

The RIM domain is all about managing the recorded information resource, regardless of media, in accord with its defined value to business process. Both the asset and liability characteristics of records are considered through analysis of a set of defined values. This analysis grounds considerations such as retention planning; business continuity; access provisions; procurement and use of space, equipment and supplies; media conversion; as well matters such as strategic use of information resources, compliance with international and local standards (Sarbanes Oxley, Basel II, ISO 15489, and the ISO 9000 series, etc.). Depending on the organizational environment, it may extend into intellectual property management, knowledge resource development and intellectual capital assessment. Ultimately, RIM is a basis for authentic and reliable records that are fundamental to defensible business practices. quality improvement, risk and compliance management.

The Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM) is the international certifying body for the RIM domain generally, and for the [ Nuclear Information and Records Management Association (NIRMA)] and ARMA International, the largest association of records managers and administrators.

Certified Records Managers (CRM) undergo testing in a range of management and domain specific knowledge before writing a final examination in which knowledge is applied in case studies. Certification requires successful completion of the six part examination within a five year period. Thereafter, CRMs must maintain certification by demonstrating continuous learning through participation in a range of activities. The examination outline is available at the [ ICRM Website] .

CRMs come from a broad range of backgrounds and many hold multiple certifications and degrees. All share an interest in managing recorded information resources in accord with business interests and within the ICRM Code of Ethics. Therefore, it is common that CRMs may specialize in aspects of the records management field (e.g. highly regulated industries, law, education, etc. or electronic records, cartographics, etc.) or may integrate their domain knowledge into other leadership roles (CEO, CIO, CKO, Archivist, Records Manager or similar role) in public, private and non-profit sectors.

The ICRM administers the examinations independently and has no educational component that might taint the objectivity of the process.


To understand why the Institute of Certified Records Managers was established, we must first learn about the early records-related professional associations.
The Warren Filing Association was founded in Chicago in 1917 during World War I. The Chicago Filing Association was established in 1932. Several of the chapters consisted primarily of file personnel. The Records Management Association of Chicago was incorporated in 1952.
The Filing Association of New York was founded in 1920 in New York City. In the early 1950s the organization was renamed as the Records Management Association of New York, which was incorporated in 1955.
Twelve records managers in New York formed the Association of Records Executives and Administrators (AREA) in 1955. At that time, some believed that the other records-related organizations were centered too much on filing and retrievals, and not enough on the management aspects of records. AREA membership increased steadily, and other chapters were chartered in the mid 1960s.
The American Records Management Association (original ARMA) was established by Jack Britt, records manager of Ford Motor Company. Mr. Britt organized the original ARMA by bringing together a number of chapters from the Records Management Association of Chicago, and from the Records Management Association of New York. In 1957, the Records Management Association of Chicago was reincorporated as the Chicago Chapter of the American Records Management Association.
The Canadian Federal government initiated records management legislation through the Public Archives of Canada in the 1950s. This directed that every federal department establish a standard Records Management Program. In the 1960s a federal Records Management Institute was formed to work in conjunction with the National Archives.
Early Canadian chapters established in ARMA include Montreal (1968), Toronto (1969), Vancouver (1970), Ottawa (1971), and Edmonton (1975).
In 1972 the original ARMA produced and distributed a brochure announcing that a certification program by examination would be established. The principal motivation for certification was to establish a strong professional standing, raise the professional level, and to recognize that a person certified as a records manager had broad professional experience in the field. An ARMA committee was established to develop the certification process. Olive Surgen was chair, and Charles Garrison, David Goodman, and Mary Robek were some of the original members. The first examination was given in the Fall of 1974, with disastrous results. None of the candidates taking the examination passed.
Some Association of Records Executives and Administrators (AREA) members felt that the certification would be limited to members of ARMA. A decision was made to develop a separate and completely independent certification organization to represent both ARMA and AREA. The American Records Management Association and the Association of Records Executives and Administrators each appointed five members to the unnamed certification organization. Thornton Mitchell, Stanley Gordon, Bill Benedon, Mary Robek, and Bill Rofes were appointed as representatives by the American Records Management Association. Joe Pomrenze, Ruth Thomas, Kay Mutchler, Dudley Judd, and Mark Koenig were named to represent the Association of Records Executives and Administrators.
Bill Benedon and Thornton Mitchell were assigned the task of drafting by-laws for consideration by the Board. Thornton reported that Bill developed the draft. The committee members, plus Ben Oliver, Charles Garrison, and David Goodman met for the first time in New York on January 6 and 7, 1975. AREA President Ben Oliver presided at the meeting. ARMA President Gerry Brown was supposed to co-preside at the meeting, but was not able to attend. The group examined the Benedon draft by-laws almost word for word. Ruth Thomas had been designated secretary pro-tem and both she and Bill Benedon took notes. Thornton Mitchell also took notes. Ruth and Bill met until late in the evening (about 2 AM) to develop a version of the by-laws upon which the Board could take final action on the next day. On several occasions that evening, Thornton Mitchell was called upon to meet with them. Ruth then developed a "final" draft version of the by-laws.
On January 7, the Board met again, reviewed and approved the by-laws with some modifications, and established fees and annual dues. Officers were elected. Bill Benedon was nominated for President but declined because he had been asked to serve as Program Chair for the next annual ARMA meeting. Bill Rofes was then elected President, Joe Pomrenze was elected Vice President, Ruth Thomas was elected Secretary, and Thornton Mitchell was elected Treasurer. The original by-laws called for the leader's title to be Chairman, but Mary Robek reportedly objected that the title was sexist. Thornton Mitchell objected to using the term Chairperson to designate the leader of the ICRM, so the title on his motion was changed to President.
Joe Pomrenze suggested naming the organization the Institute of Certified Records Managers. It is believed that the Board referred to themselves as "Regents" because both ARMA and AREA had Boards of "Directors."
There were no major disagreements among members of the group. An early agreement was that there would be two initial means of certification-by examination and 'by review', which was the term applied to certification on the basis of review of the candidates' education and specific professional experience. The draft by-laws proposed that candidates by examination and review would be required to have a college degree. There was some disagreement on this point. The U.S. Civil Service standards at that time both for archivists and analysts permitted the substitution of two years experience for one year of college, and eight years of professional experience was considered the equivalent of a degree. After considerable discussion, the Board agreed on either a degree or eight years of professional records management experience as a requirement. The Board had no difficulty in agreeing on three years of professional experience as a prerequisite to take the examinations. The board also agreed that the experience had to be gained in multiple areas of records management, and that clerical work was not qualifying experience.
The Board had no significant disagreement on certification by review. It was believed that to establish credibility the organization had to include the best in the records management profession. It was established that the certification by review would have the most stringent requirement. Certification by review required ten years of high-standard professional experience, an appropriate college degree or eight additional years of experience, and for the candidate to have published. This is a normal process for new certification organizations. The certification by review was open for two years. Over three hundred candidates applied for certification by review, and each one was individually considered. Two hundred forty seven candidates were approved by review.
The original agreement between the American Records Management Association and the Association of Records Executives and Administrators provided that the first ten Regents, Benedon, Rofes, Mitchell, Pomrenze, Thomas, Gordon, Koenig, Robek, Mutchler, and Judd would be automatically certified. The ten Regents agreed, in order to avoid criticism, that they would each qualify for certification by review.
The ICRM Board of Regents met for the second time in Washington D.C. in March of 1975. At that time the first certifications by review were approved. One early disagreement involved certifications by review for Records Management educators. The disagreements were resolved by requiring submissions of course outlines and syllabi. The first CRM examinations were administered in the fall of 1975. It is reported that when Bill Benedon became Vice-President, the ICRM Board turned their full attention to improving the contents of the examinations.
The ICRM Board voted to incorporate in North Carolina. Thornton Mitchell managed the process and was helped by friends who worked in the Office of the NC Secretary of State. The total cost of incorporation was $28, including recording fees. Thornton continued on the Board as the ICRM Treasurer until the end of 1978.
The American Records Management Association and the Association of Records Executives and Administrators merged in 1975 and became the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA). At the millennium, it became ARMA International. The need for a records management professional standard and a certification organization brought two professional associations together as well as establishing the ICRM.


Alan A Andolsen CMC CRM (Current President)

Alan A Andolsen is a Certified Management Consultant, Certified Records Manager, and President of Naremco Services Inc., a management consulting firm that has been providing information management services since 1948. Mr. Andolsen received the AB magna cum laude from Borromeo College of Ohio, the MA from the University of Dayton, and studied for the PhD at Vanderbilt University. During the past two decades, he has pioneered practical techniques for the management of digital records and lectured on their application in Japan, Europe, and throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, he has lectured on business ethics at the University of Dayton, Rutgers and Monmouth Universities, and presented papers on business ethics topics in Poland, Slovenia, and Greece.In addition to ICRM President, Mr. Andolsen also serves as Chair of the Code of Ethics Committee of AMCF - the Association of Management Consulting Firms, a global organization representing more than 650,000 consultants, Trustee of the Foundation for Excellence in Consulting and Management, and as a Member of the Certification Review Board of the National Association for Information Destruction. Previously, Mr. Andolsen has served as a member of the Board and Vice Chair for the Americas and Asia/Pacific for AMCF, and the Boards of the New York Revels, the Jupiter Symphony, and the Ecole Libre des Hautes Etudes. He is also a member of ARMA International’s Professional Issues Committee and has served on its Task Forces on E-Mail Standards and Record Centers. Mr. Andolsen is married and has a son and daughter.
Linda J. Cusimano, CRM (2004-2006)

John James O'Brien, CRM (2002-2004)

John James O'Brien is a Canadian citizen born in Hartford, Connecticut. He attended British Columbia's Shawnigan Lake School. He worked in heritage interpretation and conservation before completing a degree in Slavonic Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. As a systems analyst in a six person team established out of the Provincial Archives of British Columbia, Mr. O'Brien integrated taxonomy and information management concepts to develop the Canadian ARCS/ORCS classification system. He has expanded upon the use of metadata for risk management concurrent with learning communities of practice. He was a founding member of the Information & Records Management Association of Victoria and the ICRM's first Canadian President. Mr. O'Brien's contributions included the restructuring of the Certification Maintenance Program and development of the ICRM's first online portal to improve services to members and relieve Regents from burdensome workloads. He achieved a Master's Degree in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in 1999. From 2002-2005, he served as Principal Archivist and Director, the Government Records Service, Hong Kong SAR, and elected to remain in Asia in 2006 to establish IRM Strategies, a boutique consultancy focused on Knowledge Resource Management grounded in the management of multi-media recorded information. He is a part-time lecturer at the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in graduate programs on knowledge and records management. He is partnered and has one daughter.

Kathleen Glascow Sparks, CRM (2000-2002)

Donald, Schewe, CRM (1996-2000)

Donald B. Schewe was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Nebraska. After graduating from the university of Nebraska and two years' service in the United States Army, he returned to the University of Nebraska for a Master's degree. His Ph.D. in history is from the Ohio State University. Following training at the National Archives in Washington, he joined the staff of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, as an archivist in 1972. In 1978 he became Assistant Director of the Roosevelt Library, and in 1981 moved to Atlanta to head the Carter Library Project. Dr. Schewe is married and has two daughters.


The Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM) is an international certifying organization of and for professional records and information managers. The ICRM was incorporated in 1975 to meet the requirement to have a standard by which persons involved in records and information management could be measured, accredited and recognized according to criteria of experience and capability established by their peers.
The ICRM is an independent non-profit organization administered by a Board of Regents (the Board) in accordance with the Constitution and By-laws of the Institute. The primary objective of the ICRM is to develop and administer the program for professional certification of records managers, including certification examinations and a certification maintenance program. The ICRM serves as the official certifying body for the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, International, (ARMA International) and the Nuclear Information Records Management Association (NIRMA).

Relevant Links

* [ Official website of the Institute of Certified Records Managers]

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