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Closer Together or Further Apart?: Public administration and archives in the digital age
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Systems and Technology. (FoDi)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6342-0393
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The research presented in this thesis is about recordkeeping in the public sector, focusing especially on the relationship between the public administration and its archives, and selected aspects affecting the way this relationship is developing in the digital era. Two research questions are addressed: RQ1: What are ‘archives’ and ‘recordkeeping’ in the digital context and the developing e-government? RQ2: What are the indications of current and future challenges regarding the cooperation between public administration and archives? Six studies resulting in six papers form the basis of the thesis. Each study explores a unique aspect of how current developments, discussions, and decisions affect contemporary understanding and practices regarding archives and recordkeeping. Public records are authoritative information resources, crucial in the everyday lives of citizens. Public recordkeeping develops continuously alongside administrative practices, technological achievements, and political goals. Examples include the development of shared services within the public sector and the involvement of the private sector in public infrastructure projects through outsourcing. These processes are currently affected both by digital technologies, which offer new possibilities to create, use, and preserve records, and by e-government, characterized by the combination of information and communication technologies with organizational change to improve public services and democratic participation. In these processes, existing practices are reviewed and revised, and the concepts of ‘archives’ and ‘recordkeeping’ redefined. The research was pursued using an interpretive approach. The research methods used were concept analysis; discourse analysis; literary warrant analysis; phenomenography; critical theory; and the records continuum model as a theoretical structure. The results shows that common usage of the terms ‘archive’ and ‘recordkeeping’ is fluid and changing, which can make decision-making challenging and affect the relationship between archives and administration. Efforts to develop recordkeeping strategies may be hampered by factors related to the different ways in which the nature and role of archives and recordkeeping are perceived, including differing understandings of related concepts; varying discourses on what an archive (or e-archive) is or should be, and different ways of interpreting legal frameworks and their significance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2017. , p. 102
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 269
Keywords [en]
archives, digital work processes, discourse, outsourcing, public sector agencies, recordkeeping, records continuum model, Sweden
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-31636ISBN: 978-91-88527-25-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-31636DiVA, id: diva2:1142111
Public defence
2017-10-19, L111, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
God informationsförvaltningEn effektiv digital informationshantering
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 6 accepterat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 6 accepted.

Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-18 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The ‘Middle Archive’: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications of a New Concept in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The ‘Middle Archive’: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications of a New Concept in Sweden
2015 (English)In: Records Management Journal, ISSN 0956-5698, E-ISSN 1758-7689, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 149-165Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study how the concept "middle archive" is related to the Swedish archival theory and practice, by exploring its background and its practical and theoretical implications. The overarching aim is to increase the understanding of the interrelations between the archival theory and practice, with a special focus on changes occurring in the digital environment in Sweden. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a qualitative study of texts produced between 2010 and 2013, which were read and analyzed iteratively. The research design and analysis is inspired by Dryden (2014) who recommends taking the context into account. The three types of digital repository developed by Millar (2010) are used as a comparison to further extend the understanding of the concept of the "middle archive". Findings – The findings indicate that the "middle archive" was introduced as a solution to practical problems of managing digital records, and that there is a need to further discuss how the term relates to existing theoretical, legal and administrative contexts. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited to contemporary Sweden. The researcher did not follow the discussions and drafts which contributed to the development of the final definitions of the "middle archive". Originality/value – The study contributes to the research and development of archival concepts, with a special focus on recent developments in Sweden. The paper highlights some of the challenges relating to archives and records in the context of e- government development.

Keywords
Archival terminology, Digital archives, E-Archives, Middle archive, Recordkeeping, Sweden
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-24800 (URN)10.1108/RMJ-12-2014-0047 (DOI)2-s2.0-84934758857 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-04-07 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. "Isn't it information assets we're really talking about?": A discourse analysis of a panel discussion on e-archives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Isn't it information assets we're really talking about?": A discourse analysis of a panel discussion on e-archives
2015 (English)In: Archives and records, ISSN 2325-7962, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 167-178Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores three different discourse, found by analyzing a panel discussion on digital archives held in Sweden in 2011. The aim was to identify the varying implications of different discourse on the holistic concept of the archive. The overall aim was to increase understanding of information governance within the context of e-government. To this end, discourse theory is used to compare and analyze ideas and visions connected to digital archives and then discuss whether the differences depend on different perceptions of the concept of the archive. The result shows that plans and suggestions connected to digital archives vary greatly, possibly as an effect of conflicting discourse. This article argues that the concept of the archive is multifaceted and that it is important to take into account the power of discourse when discussing and planning for archives and records creation, management, preservation and use.

Keywords
archives, discourse, digital archives, recordkeeping, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-24801 (URN)10.1080/23257962.2015.1058245 (DOI)000366656600004 ()2-s2.0-84937808225 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-04-07 Last updated: 2017-09-18Bibliographically approved
3. Proactivity postponed? ‘Capturing’ records created in the context of e-government – a literary warrant analysis of the plans for a national e-archive service
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Proactivity postponed? ‘Capturing’ records created in the context of e-government – a literary warrant analysis of the plans for a national e-archive service
2015 (English)In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Springer-Verlag New York, 2015, Vol. 9248, p. 334-347Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Proactive records management is often described as a prerequisite for a well-functioning public administration that is efficient, legally secure and democratic. In the context of e-government, official information is seen as a valuable asset, which is why technical solutions are developed to improve accessibility and reusability. Yet how to 'capture' and preserve the information is still unclear, and adaptations of routines which have originated in a paper based administration to practices suitable for managing digital records are often lacking. This risks impeding on the work of public agencies, their services toward citizens, and the goals of e-government. This paper uses current plans for developing a national e-archive service in Sweden as a case, applying literary warrant and the records continuum model to discuss how archives management can support the goals of e-government and facilitate proactivity. A special focus is placed on 'capture' as a vital part of holistic recordkeeping. The result shows that despite regulations and ambitions supporting proactivity, 'capture' is not emphasized as a necessity for using, sharing and preserving official information. This could create archives that are incomplete, and risk contributing to a decline in governmental transparency and openness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer-Verlag New York, 2015
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science ; 9248
Keywords
Archives; E-government; Literary warrant; Records continuum model; Records management
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-24802 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-22479-4_25 (DOI)000362426900025 ()2-s2.0-84944809788 (Scopus ID)
Conference
14th IFIP WG 8.5 International Conference on Electronic Government, EGOV 2015; Thessaloniki; Greece; 30 August 2015 through 2 September 2015; Code 139729
Available from: 2015-04-07 Created: 2015-04-07 Last updated: 2017-09-18Bibliographically approved
4. Rethinking archives as digital: The consequences of ‘paper minds’ in illustrations and definitions of ‘e-archives’
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rethinking archives as digital: The consequences of ‘paper minds’ in illustrations and definitions of ‘e-archives’
2017 (English)In: Archivaria, ISSN 1923-6409, Vol. 83, no Spring, p. 81-108Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Culture and discourses affect our understanding of the archive in the digital environment: preconceptions, norms and practices developed in a paper-based administration color and limit perceptions of digital archives. It can be difficult to re-imagine the archive in the context of e-Government, and the networked environment, which increases the complexity of archival issues. This is a global problem, because digital records require other measures than paper records. This takes a foundational approach, focusing on openings and closures of concepts surrounding the idea of archives. Critical theory is used as a lens to study illustrations and descriptions of what an ‘e-archive’ is, and how it should be managed.

 

The analysis is made after three basic principles that the public administration should work towards: (i) a holistic concept of the archive, (ii) a proactive approach to records management, and (iii) striving to integrate the archiving process with the goals and opportunities of e-government.

 

The result indicates that the lack of ‘closings’: commonly understood principles and a shared definition of an e-archive, may restrict the understanding of archives in digital contexts and constrain the development of their full potential. At the same time, the lack of ‘openings’ toward new ways of thinking about and designing e-archives may narrow the scope of possibilities that the digital formats can offer. ‘Paper minds’ may presuppose a ‘stepwise progression’ of records from ‘active’ to ‘archival’ that is unnecessary in the digital context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association of Canadian Archivists, 2017
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29997 (URN)2-s2.0-85026815633 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-02-06 Created: 2017-02-06 Last updated: 2018-11-06Bibliographically approved
5. “The information has moved away from home”: Conceptions about how an outsourcing policy affects public records management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“The information has moved away from home”: Conceptions about how an outsourcing policy affects public records management
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Public Information Systems, ISSN 1653-4360, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 22-38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Traditionally, public records have been handled and preserved by each creating or receiving agency separately. The existing legal framework in Sweden is still based on this principle. However, recent developments – digital technologies paired with new ways of working – create a more dispersed and complex body of archives. What this means for the practical records management can be discussed. This paper explores the potential consequences of implementing an outsourcing policy at a public agency, by focusing on issues actualized and seen as important by employees. The aim is to understand how the creation of public archives may be affected. The chosen research approach, phenomenography, aims to capture variation in perceptions and describe the range of possible interpretations on a particular topic. Semi structured interviews were conducted with 15 representatives from the agency. The result identified seven matters of particular importance, including effects on information governance, knowledge transfer, and the role of a public agency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2016
Keywords
archives creation, business information systems, information governance, organizational boundaries, outsourcing, public agencies, records management
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29901 (URN)
Projects
ISERVEn effektiv digital informationshantering
Funder
Swedish Transport Administration
Available from: 2017-01-19 Created: 2017-01-19 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
6. Recordkeeping in an outsourcing public agency
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Recordkeeping in an outsourcing public agency
2018 (English)In: Records Management Journal, ISSN 0956-5698, E-ISSN 1758-7689, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 99-114Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implications of an outsourcing policy for public recordkeeping. The research question addressed is: What are the current impediments to create, capture, organize, and pluralize records produced by contractors to whom work has been outsourced?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the four dimensions of the Records Continuum Model (RCM) as a sructure for understanding what important aspects of recordkeeping that can be affected by an outsourcing policy, and discuss the consequences for the creation of public archives. An investment project at a Swedish public agency with a far-reaching outsourcing policy in the form of a client-contractor model is used as a case to exemplify the problem.

Findings

The findings indicate that the legal framework for recordkeeping needs further development, or clarification as to how it should be interpreted in the outsourcing context. More case studies are needed to provide richer data about recordkeeping challenges arising from outsourcing and further opportunities for theoretical analysis using the Records Continuum Model.

Originality/value

The RCM has been used in a first attempt to understand various aspects of records management practices and what principles need to be taken into account when making such significant organizational structural and cultural changes.

Keywords
Digital archives, Outsourcing, Recordkeeping, Records continuum model, Records management, Sweden
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-31637 (URN)10.1108/RMJ-02-2017-0002 (DOI)000426532500006 ()2-s2.0-85042494532 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-09-19 Created: 2017-09-19 Last updated: 2018-04-03Bibliographically approved

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Ann-Sofie Klareld PhD thesis(997 kB)354 downloads
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