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Winds of change: A recordkeeping informatics approach to information management needs in data-driven research environments

Joanne Evans (Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Barbara Reed (Recordkeeping Innovation Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia)
Henry Linger (Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Simon Goss (Aerospace Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia)
David Holmes (Aerospace Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia)
Jan Drobik (Aerospace Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia)
Bruce Woodyat (Aerospace Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia)
Simon Henbest (Aerospace Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Melbourne, Australia)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the role a recordkeeping informatics approach can play in understanding and addressing these challenges. In 2011, the Wind Tunnel located at the Defence Science Technology Organisation (DTSO)’s Fisherman’s Bend site in Melbourne and managed by the Flight Systems Branch (FSB) celebrated its 70th anniversary. While cause for celebration, it also raised concerns for DSTO aeronautical scientists and engineers as to capacities to effectively and efficiently manage the data legacy of such an important research facility for the next 70 years, given increased technological, organisational and collaboration complexities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper will detail how, through a collaborative action research project, the twin pillars of continuum thinking and recordkeeping metadata and the three facets of organisational culture, business process analysis and archival access, were used to examine the data, information, records and knowledge management challenges in this research data context. It will discuss how this perspective, was presented, engaged with and evolved into a set of strategies for the sustained development of FSB’s data, information and records management infrastructure, along with what is learnt about the approach through the action research process.

Findings

The project found that stressing the underlying principles of recordkeeping, applied to information resources of all kinds, resonated with the scientific community of FSB. It identified appropriate strategic, policy and process frameworks to better govern information management activities.

Research limitations/implications

The utility of a recordkeeping informatics approach to unpack, explore and develop strategies in technically and organisationally complex recordkeeping environment is demonstrated, along with the kinds of professional collaboration required to tackle research data challenges.

Practical implications

In embracing technical and organisational complexity, the project has provided FSB with a strategic framework for the development of their information architecture so that it is both responsive to local needs, and consistent with broader DSTO requirements.

Originality/value

This paper further develops recordkeeping informatics as an emerging approach for tackling the recordkeeping challenges of our era in relation to maintaining and sustaining the evidential authenticity, integrity and reliability of big complex research data sets.

Keywords

Citation

Evans, J., Reed, B., Linger, H., Goss, S., Holmes, D., Drobik, J., Woodyat, B. and Henbest, S. (2014), "Winds of change: A recordkeeping informatics approach to information management needs in data-driven research environments", Records Management Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 205-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-01-2014-0006

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited