Friday, February 18, 2011

Alfresco Test Day 9 - Schedule implementation up to disposal

Today's test will be much like day 8 because yesterday I just couldn't help checking out how well Alfresco implements schedule instructions. I am limited by the cloud, due to it's 24 hour access limit, to test immediate disposal only.

We have a habit in the industry to create complex scheduling rules and I am eager to find out if Alfresco can handle them. There is a trend in the industry, by the way, to simplify scheduling rules so that systems can interpret our instructions.

I like the way Alfresco has interpreted the complex world of scheduling.
  • Cut-off is what starts every scheduling event. The concept of cut-off is part of the DOD standard.
  • The cut-off date is the signal for the system to begin counting down the retention of the record.
  • Automatic cut-off is date based; either monthly, qarterly, by year or fiscal year.
  • Event based cut-off requires manual intervention. Several events are built in to Alfresco and include all on the screen print below.

  • Multiple events can be added to a single file, and I can also set if all events must occur, or the earliest event to start cut-off.

  • After the cut-off is set, any number of intermediate steps can be added. For instance, transfer of paper records to a semi-active facility. Similarly in an electronic world, it could be possible to schedule archiving steps. ( I can't test how Alfresco handles content in multiple repositories).

  • I added a series/category/folder
  • I managed the permissions for all three to include my user ID.
  • I added scheduling steps, cut-off at the end of the year from publication date, then immediately destroy.

  • I then uploaded content, added the mandatory metadata for a few files, then declared the records, all with retroactive publication dates of December 14, 2010.
  • When I took care that I had viewing rights, the declared record did not disappear as before. Success!
  • I was expecting with a retroactive publication date for all contents the folder would update, showing it was ready for cut-off immediately. It did not.
  • I was able, however, to manually "Edit Disposition Date". This I did.
  • After editing the disposition date, I was able to cut-off the folder and then "destroy" it, as tested yesterday. Again, I was given two warning messages before destroy. The icon for the folder changed, and the content is gone.
I rate this test a PASS

Records Manager
  • Note that all subesquent steps are calculated from the cut-off date. If you are used to a schedule that says for instance, "Onsite for two years, then five years onsite, Destroy", the steps could be recorded as "1. Cutoff end of calendar year, 2. 2 years from cutoff, offsite, 3. 7 years from cutoff, destroy."
  • Alfresco appears able to handle complex scheduling requirements, multiple events, multiple steps.
Business User
  • As noted yesterday, if scheduling steps are working well, they should be fairly invisible to the regular user.
  • You would become aware of the scheduling rules if you request a file that has been destroyed. Your best assurance at that time would be to review the schedule and confirm that the record was destroyed on time, as authorized.
  • If you are ever asked for input on cut-off requirements, avoid event driven cut-off as much as possible, as they nearly all require manual intervention. Manual intervention equates to time-intensive management. Imagine receiving quarterly or annually a list of your folders, asking which can now be closed, or cut-off?

In an effort to simplify disposition actions, future schedule instructions may calculate retentkion from creation or "last modified" date. These may need to be added as cut-off conditions.

Testing DOD 5015.2 Features C2.2.2.7, C2., relating to GARP principle of Retention.