n.a model of recordkeeping practice that emphasizes the overlapping dimensions of recordkeeping and the related axes of accountabilityMcKemmish 2000, 361Records continuum approaches are based on establishing an integrated regime of management processes for the whole of the records existence. In the records continuum description is therefore defined as a series of iterative recordkeeping processes that capture and inextricably link authoritative metadata to documents created in the context of social and business activity from the time of their creation and throughout their life span.Flynn 2001, 84While this opposition can be helpful, it should be borne in mind that the two uses of records (including archives) can never really be separated; in fact research use is a subset of business use, and the records continuum model enables both clearly to be seen as two sides of the same coin.Gilliland 2014a, 220Building on ideas first enunciated in Australia by archivists such as Peter Scott and applying structuration theory and Anthony Giddens’s proposition that all actions can influence the development of other actions and inform and change structures in society, Frank Upward developed the Records Continuum Model in 1995. The Records Continuum Model is a descriptive model that provides a complex and holistic way to think about the nature, role, use, and life of records, regardless of their media, as they exist and constantly interact across four dimensions: create, capture, organize, and pluralize; and four axes: identity, evidentiality, transactionality, and recordkeeping entity (see Figure 9.2).
The records continuum, developed in Australia, is a model of recordkeeping practice that conceptualizes the interactions of records across interrelated dimensions and axes, without distinguishing where the creation and active management of records ends and the archival management of them begins. The dimensions track the records across creation, capture, organization, and pluralization (making the records available as evidence). The axes represent different facets of accountability: the identity of the entity involved in a transaction documented by the records, what that entity did, what the records provide evidence of, and how the records are found and retrieved for later use.