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.
Association of Canadian Archivists , 2017. Vol. 83