The purpose of this article is to examine the information culture of a medium-sized municipality in Belgium. Public information/records is/are one of the most important instruments of citizens' control of public authorities. The principle of Public Access gives citizens a right to access public records, while the Privacy Act protects the integrity of the citizens. Municipalities are institutions that intensely interact with the citizens. Therefore, the way they handle the information that is generated during this interaction is of crucial importance to the efficient service delivery, safeguarding the rights of the citizens that they serve and for sustaining the open governance structure that promotes the principles of accountability and transparency.
The author employed a case study approach in order to establish the attitudes and norms the organizational employees had towards the management of information/records. She also applied the information culture assessment framework developed by Oliver during the design of the research questions.
Information culture affects the way public information/records are managed. Though investments are being made in information systems to facilitate the capture and management of information/records, the people issues are equally as crucial. E-Government development will require an information culture that promotes effective creation, use and management of information, if its goal of efficient and transparent public administrations is to be achieved.
The originality of this study lies in the application of the information culture assessment framework that was developed by Oliver. The framework facilitates the formulation of questions using its three layers to tease out the information required by a researcher in an attempt to draw conclusions regarding the attitudes, norms and the value the interviewees attach to information/records.
The author would like to acknowledge the support of the Archivist of the Municipality where the author carried out this research and all the participants who were willing to share their knowledge.
Svärd, P. (2014), "The impact of information culture on information/records management: A case study of a municipality in Belgium", Records Management Journal, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 5-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-04-2013-0007Download as .RIS
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