The aim of the article is to investigate what characterizes the information constructs that the archival discourse and the open data discourse communicate in text, and what their similarities and differences are. This article proposes that it is possible to see the open data initiative and modern archival practice as two discourses that have used different terminology to express and communicate their messages in the literature. In this article, we have applied a hypothesis-like assumption that the information constructs used in open data are actually nothing other than records, as they are in the archival discourse.
This article is based on a mixed method approach. A quantitative text analysis (word count) was carried out in a large set of documents representing the open data discourse and in the archival discourse. This was followed by a qualitative text analysis.
It was found that both discourses did focus on records. However, the opendata discourse very seldom used the term record, but used information and data much more frequently. The archival discourse used the term information almost as often as record. A possible adaption of communication strategies can be identified, targeting a much wider audience through a user-centered approach. This could be an indication of a change in the archival discourse, which seems to be moving from a discourse that is very much regulated by law toward a discourse that is more focused on benefit and usability.
This research indicates that it is possible to interpret both the open data and the archival discourse as one united discourse, an effect derived from working with e-government. There is an ongoing harmonization of the words used, and in the studied archival discourse, a more user- and business-oriented focus can be seen.
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