Clear skies or cloudy forecast?

Elaine Goh (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Publication date: 11 March 2014



Using the example of audiovisual materials, this paper aims to illustrate how records-related and archival legislation lags behind advances in technology. As more audiovisual materials are created on the cloud, questions arise about the applicability of national laws over the control, ownership, and custody of data and records.


This paper analyses court cases relating to audiovisual materials in the cloud and archival legislation from three Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, and Singapore – representing North America, the Pacific, and Asia respectively.


Current records-related and archival legislation does not effectively address the creation, processing, and preservation of records and data in a cloud environment. The paper identifies several records-related risks linked to the cloud – risks related to the ownership and custody of data, legal risks due to transborder data flow, and risks due to differing interpretations on the act of copying and ownership of audiovisual materials.

Research limitations/implications

The paper identifies the need for records professionals to pay greater attention to the implications of the emerging cloud environment. There is a need for further research on how the concept of extraterritoriality and transborder laws can be applied to develop model laws for the management and preservation of records in the cloud.


The paper identifies record-related risks linked to the cloud by analyzing court cases and archival legislation. The paper examines maritime law to find useful principles that the archival field could draw on to mitigate some of these risks.



Goh, E. (2014), "Clear skies or cloudy forecast? ", Records Management Journal, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 56-73.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.