16 December 2009

Mr. Records Neighborhood -- a play for two actors

MR. RECORDS: (sings while donning cardigan):
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
Won’t you please …won’t you please….Please won’t you be my neighbor?

MR. RECORDS: Good morning, boys and girls. I’m so glad you’re in the neighborhood today! I’m Mr. Records. What’s your name? Names are important. Our neighborhood has a name, too. It’s called the Records Center. Can you say that? Can you say, “Records Center”? [Pause] That’s right…Records Center.

I use records every day, and so do you! There are a lot of records here in the neighborhood. There are even more records in the Land of Make Believe, mostly on digital tape. In fact, if you tried to count all of the records in the Records Center and the Land of Make Believe, it would be more than you or I could count. That’s a lot of records!

Today I want to talk with you about records where you live and play because, y’know what? Records are like people. Every record is special! That’s right. No two records are exactly the same, just like no two people are exactly the same. If they were, then one would be a copy, and copies are not records. No! But just like people, every record is special.

And do you know what else, boys and girls? Every record has an owner. There are no orphan records. Every record belongs to someone. From the moment it arrives or is created until the time to get rid of it, every record belongs to someone. Isn’t that a comfort? So if you’re a record, you’re never alone.

Do you remember last week, when Mr. McFeely was supposed to deliver five messages, but he could only find four of them. He got very upset and a little bit grumpy, didn’t he? Ummm-hmmm. He had to learn an important lesson about where he put important letters so that the Postmaster General wouldn’t indict him. I’m glad he learned that lesson. He set up a records program to be sure he would never lose a letter again. That was a good idea!

Today I thought we would pay a visit to our neighborhood’s Records Center Manager, Lotta Lectrons. She knows all about taking care of records.


Hello, Lotta, it’s good to see you again.

LOTTA: Hello, Mr. Records, it’s nice to see you, too.

MR. RECORDS: Would you tell the girls and boys about all the kinds of records that you have here?

LOTTA: Sure, Mr. Records. We all know that a record is information that is important…if it is not important, then it isn’t a record. And we all know about the records like Mr. McFeely was looking for, the kind where the information is printed on paper.

But did you know that what’s important about the record is the information in the record, not the way it is stored? So, information stored on a computer is just as much a record as information stored on paper, even though it is stored in a very different way.

MR. RECORDS: So whatever way important information is stored, it’s still a record?

LOTTA: That’s right. It could be stored in flash memory or on a USB drive or on a DVD. The medium doesn’t matter…it’s the information that is important.

MR RECORDS: Do you mean that someday, these boys and girls might have podcasts of Mr. Records on their MP3 players?

LOTTA: Yes, they might. And it doesn’t matter what kind of format the information is in: It could be in MP3, but it could be a text or a TIFF file. It could be a PDF or a Wave file. Remember, what’s important is the information, not the way it is stored.

MR RECORDS: What else do the boys and girls need to know about records?

LOTTA: Well, it’s important to know that getting rid of records is as important as keeping them. We call it disposition. Can you say, “disposition”?

MR RECORDS: Dis-po-ZI-shun.

LOTTA: Good! Disposition is important because the records you keep when you shouldn’t have them are as harmful as the records that you should have that you can’t find.

MR RECORDS: Well, we know about missing records from Mr. McFeely.

LOTTA: Yes, but do you remember when Daniel took a cat nap instead of getting rid of King Friday’s records according to the retention schedule? When the lawyers found the records that should have been disposed, they made King Friday pay a big ransom. Daniel was very sorry and felt bad for a long time!

MR RECORDS: Yes, he did. He was a very sad, scaredy-cat. And all of those leftover records made it hard to find the other records that were still important.

LOTTA: That’s right. There’s one more thing here at the Records Center that I would like the boys and girls to know.

MR RECORDS: What’s that, Lotta?

LOTTA: Well, sometimes certain records are put on “Hold”. That means that we keep them until the “hold” is over, even if the regular retention schedule tells us it is time to dispose of the records.

MR RECORDS: Does that mean that our retention schedule is strong, but a “hold” is even stronger?

LOTTA: Exactly. Now you know how the Records Center works.

MR RECORDS: Well, thank you Lotta. That’s a really important lesson to know. I think Mr. McFeely, King Friday, and all of us will do better knowing more about records.

LOTTA: Thanks for visiting, Mr. Records


MR RECORDS: Lotta Lectrons is really smart. She pays attention to the information, not the medium. She keeps records as long as it says to on the retention schedule, and then, she gets rid of the information. And she always keeps records that are on “hold”.


It’s such a good feeling, from your head to your toes
It’s such a happy feeling, when its time to dispose
No holds to keep what you have retained
And with a snap, lose more than you’ve gained.
It’s such a good feeling, a very good feeling…
That I’ll settle back with a Coke and some rum
With a smile on my face when the auditors come
And you’ll have files you want to store a while,
I will too.

Good bye, boys and girls. Good bye.


08 December 2009

A Haiku

Controls, governance,
That's why I smile when I see
The auditors come