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Compliance : Sarbanes Oxley : e-discovery : Information Maturity Model

How Does eDiscovery Affect How We Save Our Information?

White Paper Explains how the Electronic Discovery Reference Model Can be Enhanced by the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles®
Ronald Hedges
United States Magistrate Judge (retired)
ARMA International

The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) begins with a node titled Information Management, which recognizes the relationship between the normal information handling practices of an organization, and the impact those practices have on the electronic discovery process. Yet, it falls short of describing standards or best practices that can be applied to the complex issues surrounding the creation, management and governance of electronic information.

A new white paper authored by former United States Magistrate Judge Ronald J. Hedges, addresses the topic of how the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® (GARP®) Information Governance Maturity Model can provide guidance in both investigations and litigation.

ARMA International's GARP® framework is designed specifically to provide a scalable, broadly applicable framework to address information management issues as they pertain to litigation and recovery. The information handling practices of any organization (regardless of size, industry sector, private or public ownership, etc) has a direct impact on its ability to adequately support and defend its actions.

“The relationship between an organization’s information-handling practices and the impact those practices have on its ability to respond to electronic discovery is recognized in the EDRM. But, the EDRM falls short of describing standards or best practices that can be applied to the complex issues surrounding the creation, management and governance of electronic information,” said Hedges.  “ARMA International’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles® and its Information Governance Maturity Model are designed specifically to provide a salable, broadly applicable framework to address these issues.”

By focusing on the internal needs of organizations, including their obligation to respond to government investigations and to engage in litigation, the Information Governance Maturity Model offers an invaluable approach to records management that may be of assistance to any organization interested in protecting itself in the use of its information assets by complying with legislative and regulatory mandates and designing and implementing effective records management programs. Hedges white paper looks to the model in the context of both investigations and litigation.

One of the benefits of The Information Maturity Model is that it speaks to the GARP Principles® and in each, establishes levels that an organization may aspire to reach. The Principles are:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Protection
  • Compliance
  • Availability
  • Retention
  • Disposition

Within each principles fall 5 Levels:

  • Level 1 (Sub-Standard)
    Sub where no clear definition of the records the organization is obligated to keep and no central oversight.

  • Level 2 (In Development)
    The organization has identified the rules and regulations that govern its business and has introduced some compliance policies. However, policies are not complete and there is no apparent or well-defined accountability.

  • Level 3 (Essential)
    The organization had identified all relevant compliance laws and regulations and has systematically carried out its creation and capture of records.

  • Level 4 (Proactive)
    Organizations should take comfort in that systems have been implemented to capture and protect records. Metadata is available to demonstrate and measure compliance. Regular audits and training occur.
  • Level 5 (Transformational)
    The importance of compliance and the role of records and information are clearly recognized at the senior management and board levels. In addition, the roles and process for information management and discovery are integrated.

Hedges’ white paper further explores the interplay between records management and litigations or government investigations. It advocates the application of the Information Governance Maturity Model from a perspective that recognizes that the best information management policies anticipate the demands of litigation and investigations.

For a free download of the white paper or for more information, please visit

ARMA International ( is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on information management and governance. Formed in 1955, ARMA International is the oldest and largest association for the records and information management profession with a current international membership of more than 10,000. It provides education, publications, and information on the efficient maintenance, retrieval, and preservation of vital information created in public and private organizations in all sectors of the economy. It also publishes the award-winning Information Management magazine.

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