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The challenges presented to records management by open government data in the public sector in England: A case study

Katherine Mary Chorley (Department of Information Studies, University College London, London, UK)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges that open government data initiatives present to records management within the public sector in England and to identify areas of practice and policy that will need to be developed to ensure compliance with such environments.


A review of current literature underpins the analysis of data collected through an anonymised case study of a National Health Service (NHS) hospital trust. Data were collected through a qualitative research in the form of semi-structured interviews with information professionals at the case study site. Additionally, a short descriptive online survey was distributed to the members of a specialist interest group, the Health Archives and Records Group.


Open government data presents a series of interconnected practical challenges to records management at a local level as the open government data environment continues to develop. These practical challenges overshadow a number of technical challenges, such as ensuring the accuracy and integrity of proactively published data.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this research is the small number of interviews conducted during data collection, which limits its capacity to present more generalised findings.


The case study of an individual NHS hospital trust allows for a specific insight into the challenges that open government data presents to records management within a single operational unit.



This work was supported by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Trust in Digital Records in an Increasingly Networked Society (InterPARES Trust), grant number 895-2013-1004.


Chorley, K.M. (2017), "The challenges presented to records management by open government data in the public sector in England: A case study", Records Management Journal, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 149-158.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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