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The implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems: An exploratory study of socio-technical issues

Weimei Pan (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 20 March 2017




This study aims to present the findings of the first phase of a project entitled Putting the “Fun” Back in “Functional”, which has been investigating the socio-technical issues surrounding users’ interaction with electronic recordkeeping systems. The ultimate goal of the project is to improve that interaction by positively influencing the way in which individuals perceive their work practices and the tools they use to accomplish them. In its first phase, the project considered the implementation of such systems for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the factors and processes that contribute to its success.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 public employees from a large provincial government and a large city government in Canada about two information systems (ISs) – a meeting management system and an Electronic Documents and Records Management System.


Several salient themes emerged from the research data, including the value accorded to information and records, the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems as a complex process, the appropriation of electronic recordkeeping systems, understanding users, ease of use and information/records specialists as part of the solution. Analysis of these themes shows that many of them can be explained through theories developed in the IS field.

Research limitations/implications

The results show that many themes are common across the records management and IS fields. Further, the results indicate the applicability of theories in the IS field to explain and predict the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems.


This study is one of few that explicitly draw on IS theories to understand the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems. The results of this study open up many opportunities for future research on electronic recordkeeping systems.



The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the InterPARES Trust Project in undertaking the Putting the “Fun” Back in “Functional” project. The author greatly appreciates Fiorella Foscarini, Gillian Oliver, Jim Suderman and Lisa Daulby who have been supervising this project and provided invaluable help in revising an earlier version of this paper. The author would like to thank Rachel de Brouwer, Katie Ferrante, Paige Hohmann and Jennifer Vanderfluit who worked as research assistants for this project and helped with literature review, transcription and data analysis. The author would also like to thank the 17 research participants, without whose participation it would be impossible to gain this insight about the implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems. The author is also grateful for the valuable comments from an anonymous reviewer on an earlier version of this manuscript.


Pan, W. (2017), "The implementation of electronic recordkeeping systems: An exploratory study of socio-technical issues", Records Management Journal, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 84-98.



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