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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2021

Ann-Sofie Klareld

Maintaining infrastructures such as roads, bridges, railways and other civil constructions requires long term documentation that ideally should comprise a reliable…

Abstract

Purpose

Maintaining infrastructures such as roads, bridges, railways and other civil constructions requires long term documentation that ideally should comprise a reliable reflection of the physical structures. However, the Swedish Transport Administration (TRA) states that its documentation is currently inadequate and that new working method are needed. The purpose of this paper is to study how the agency is working to improve their recordkeeping, by taking a closer look at two new positions that now coordinate the delivery of documentation from the building process teams to the agency. What is their role and what challenges do they face with regard to creating, sharing and preserving records with other areas across the TRA? The study’s purpose is also to discuss the concept of the archive in the current environment and how existing archival theory can be applied to long term documentation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a case study method, as the aim was to explore and understand recordkeeping practices and theoretical implications, without seeking to generalize the findings outside the Swedish Government. Two positions – the delivering coordinator and the receiving coordinator – were chosen as relevant focuses, due to their function as links between departments in which it was previously indicated that creating and maintaining reliable recordkeeping was difficult and where organizational structure might challenge the traditional archival theory. Documents and reports from the agency were used as research material through documentary analysis and a questionnaire consisting of 10 questions was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with 10 coordinators at the agency.

Findings

Obtaining the correct documentation at the right time and of appropriate quality from contractors and entrepreneurs was difficult, despite detailed contractual rules and regulations identifying what should be delivered. The work of the coordinators was formally connected to the important tasks of creating, sharing and preserving records with other areas within the TRA, but in reality, the coordinators faced several difficulties due to expectations of their professional role, practices in information management between different departments and archives creation at the entire agency. The interviewees therefore had differing perceptions of what was meant by TRA’s “archive”: it was variously perceived as only including the registry; comprising only the records preserved by the archives department or encompassing only those records in the registry or in the agency’s business system/s. Findings indicate that the concepts of multiple provenances and the recordkeeping “single mind” might provide insights to better inform the recordkeeping principles needed to improve the current environment.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to the 10 interviewees in 2 roles, although there are more positions involved in handling records. Future studies may solidify or contest the different themes identified in the present paper, through interviews of those additional roles at the agency. This paper uses the Swedish concept of the archive as a point of departure in its analysis.

Originality/value

By increasing the knowledge about positions that are responsible for handling records at an agency, this paper can get a better understanding of how they affect the ultimate creation of archives. This will give Swedish public agencies and other organizations, better results when they are creating strategies to preserve reliable records for the future.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2010

Kate Cumming

In this commemorative issue of Records Management Journal, milestones from the last 20 years of recordkeeping practice are being celebrated. This paper aims to provide a

Abstract

Purpose

In this commemorative issue of Records Management Journal, milestones from the last 20 years of recordkeeping practice are being celebrated. This paper aims to provide a retrospective of the records continuum and examine its evolution, its impact and its influence, and to reference some of the controversy it has inspired.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a review of literature and a historical assessment, which are intended to contextualise and explain the continuum.

Findings

The continuum has a long history in Australian recordkeeping culture, but significant international research and theory have also fed into its development. The continuum has an enduring relevance and remains a fundamental tool for assessing and realigning recordkeeping practice today.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is strongly supportive of the continuum approach, and as such is not an impartial assessment of the model and of the criticism that has been levelled against it.

Practical implications

It is hoped that the paper helps to foster further understanding and use of the records continuum model.

Originality/value

While owing a great deal to Sue McKemmish and Frank Upward, the paper aims to present a fresh perspective on continuum theory, in a way that helps to explain and encourage the adoption of continuum‐based approaches to recordkeeping.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2013

Frank Upward, Barbara Reed, Gillian Oliver and Joanne Evans

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the widespread crisis facing the archives and records management professions, and to propose recordkeeping informatics, a single

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the widespread crisis facing the archives and records management professions, and to propose recordkeeping informatics, a single minded disciplinary approach, as a way forward.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reflects an Australasian perspective on the nature of the crisis besetting archives and records management professions as people struggle to adjust to digitally converged information ecologies. It suggests recordkeeping informatics as an approach for refiguring thinking, systems, processes and practices as people confront ever increasing information convergence, chaos and complexity. It discusses continuum thinking and recordkeeping metadata as two key building blocks of the approach, along with three facets of recordkeeping analysis involving the understanding of organisational culture, business process analysis and archival access.

Findings

Discussion of information and communication technologies as a “wild frontier” highlights the breaking down of recordkeeping processes within them. The causes for this chaos are complex and there is an urgent need to develop more coherent frameworks to identify and address the issues. Such frameworks need to grow from, and be conversant with, strong symbiotic relationships between social formations, recordkeeping processes, and archives, so that they may be applicable in an increasingly diverse range of organisational and community contexts. Embracing complexity is a must if the wild frontier is not to grow wilder.

Originality/value

The paper outlines a new disciplinary base from which new and old recordkeeping methods can be launched that are appropriate for this era.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2010

Kate Cumming and Cassie Findlay

The purpose of this paper is to assess examples of digital recordkeeping practice in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) and determine whether the discipline is

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess examples of digital recordkeeping practice in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) and determine whether the discipline is tipping into a period where digital recordkeeping will change for the better, or whether it is tipping into digital oblivion. After assessing numerous case studies and examples, the paper also seeks to recommend some small but significant steps that can be taken to stem the tide and improve digital recordkeeping practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is based on the authors' experiences and observations of recordkeeping practice in NSW.

Findings

Digital records and recordkeeping are at a critical juncture across all business environments. The tremendous benefits that digital records and recordkeeping can realise are in danger of being offset by significant threats, complexities and costs. All individuals, organisations and business environments need to take small steps now to start to make digital recordkeeping achievable and to make long‐term digital record sustainability possible.

Practical implications

The case studies presented in this paper provide both positive and negative digital recordkeeping scenarios for practitioners to consider. The paper also makes a number of practical suggestions that all recordkeeping environments can reflect on to tip the balance in favour of achievable and sustainable digital recordkeeping.

Originality/value

The paper is of value to all practitioners seeking to implement and sustain effective digital records management.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2008

Joanne Evans, Barbara Reed and Sue McKemmish

The ability to establish sustainable frameworks for creating and managing recordkeeping metadata is one of the key challenges for recordkeeping in digital and networked

Abstract

Purpose

The ability to establish sustainable frameworks for creating and managing recordkeeping metadata is one of the key challenges for recordkeeping in digital and networked environments. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project, an Australian research project which sought to investigate how the movement of recordkeeping metadata between systems could be automated.

Design/methodology/approach

The project adopted an action research approach to the research, utilising a systems development method within this framework to iteratively build a prototype demonstrating how recordkeeping metadata could be created once in particular application environments, then used many times to meet a range of business and recordkeeping purposes.

Findings

Recordkeeping metadata interoperability, like recordkeeping metadata itself, is complex and dynamic. The research identifies the need for standards and tools to reflect and have the capacity to handle this complexity.

Originality/value

This paper provides insights into the complex nature of recordkeeping metadata and the kind of infrastructure that needs to be developed to support its automated capture and re‐use in integrated systems environments.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2017

Asen Ognyanov Ivanov

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a qualitative research approach based on current developments in the field of practice theory. The novelty of this approach is…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a qualitative research approach based on current developments in the field of practice theory. The novelty of this approach is that it positions organizational practices as a central unit of analysis of archival and recordkeeping work. The goal of the paper is to highlight the continuity between practice theory and archival and recordkeeping scholarship and to then propose how practice theory could be used in archival and recordkeeping research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper traces the continuity between practice theory and two influential bodies of literature in archival and recordkeeping scholarship developed in the last two decades. It then outlines a practice theory research agenda for archival and recordkeeping research by drawing on the disciplines of cultural sociology, science and technology studies, ethnomethodology and organizational studies. The potential research application of practice theory is illustrated with examples from an on-going doctoral project on appraisal and preservation practices in a digital broadcasting archive.

Findings

The analysis of current literature shows an agreement that archival and recordkeeping practices exhibit a complexity that makes them important foci for further research. By placing these insights into contact with practice theory, the paper champions a new research agenda for archival and recordkeeping research.

Originality/value

The paper positions and outlines the tenets of practice theory, making them methodologically available to archival and recordkeeping scholars and practitioners. It also indicates how practice theory offers a new perspective for conceptualizing the causal effects of organizational culture on organizational practices.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2007

Kate Cumming

Optimising metadata implementation can significantly improve records management practice. This article aims to identify a number of important issues that should be

Abstract

Purpose

Optimising metadata implementation can significantly improve records management practice. This article aims to identify a number of important issues that should be considered in any implementation of recordkeeping metadata in order to optimise that implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

The research presented was part of a doctoral thesis “Purposeful data: the roles and purposes of recordkeeping metadata” which itself was part of a collaborative research project seeking to comprehensively specify and codify recordkeeping metadata. The purposes were identified via a research method known as warrant analysis.

Findings

Literary warrant identified that metadata fulfil seven different purposes: identifying all entities at all levels of aggregation; establishing connections between related entities; sustaining record structure, content and accessibility through time; administering record‐keeping business; documenting the history of recordkeeping events; facilitating discovery, understanding, retrieval and delivery; and documenting metadata attribution.

Practical implications

Recordkeeping systems should be designed with full awareness of the capacities of metadata and following a full assessment of the organisational needs that should be met by the system. Through better system design and well‐considered metadata implementation, records management operations in any environment can be significantly improved.

Originality/value

The paper establishes key roles of metadata and the importance of system design metadata implementation based on doctoral research.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2017

Gregory Rolan

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an infrastructural approach to metadata modelling and a generalised meta-model for recordkeeping metadata. This meta-model is an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an infrastructural approach to metadata modelling and a generalised meta-model for recordkeeping metadata. This meta-model is an attempt to support interoperability between disparate systems, and particularly, between sets of ostensibly incommensurate record documentation.

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation used a reflective design-science investigation comprising interviews adaptive literature review, creation of conceptual models and the design and instantiation of a proof-of-concept system.

Findings

The investigation confirms that recordkeeping interoperability between disparate ontologies is achievable through a meta-model approach. In particular, the meta-model carefully defines relationships between entities with specific semantics that enable the development of interoperable domain schemas.

Practical implications

A meta-model for recordkeeping metadata facilitates the development of recordkeeping systems that possess interoperability-by-design.

Social implications

Recordkeeping systems that conform to the meta-model can, therefore, transcend the immediate transactional context and support participatory recordkeeping in terms of a plurality of stakeholder world views and agency in records.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the few reporting design-science approaches to recordkeeping informatics and one that has used a meta-model approach for recordkeeping metadata design. In contrast to most empirically determined metadata schemas, the top-down design approach has produced a schema from a wide variety of ontological sources.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

Sue McKemmish, Glenda Acland and Barbara Reed

In July 1999 the Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema (RKMS) was approved by its academic and industry steering group. The RKMS has inherited elements from and built…

Abstract

In July 1999 the Australian Recordkeeping Metadata Schema (RKMS) was approved by its academic and industry steering group. The RKMS has inherited elements from and built on many other metadata standards associated with information management. It has also contributed to the development of subsequent sector specific recordkeeping metadata sets. The importance of the RKMS as a framework for mapping or reading other sets, and also as a standardised set of metadata available for adoption in diverse implementation environments, is now emerging. This paper explores the context of the Australian SPIRT1 Recordkeeping Metadata Project, and the conceptual models developed by the SPIRT Research Team as a framework for standardising and defining recordkeeping metadata. It then introduces the elements of the SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata Schema and explores its functionality, before discussing implementation issues and future directions

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Jaana Kikki

The Defence Forces have been in the vanguard of introducing electronic record‐keeping systems in Finland’s public administration when it comes to implementing new…

Abstract

The Defence Forces have been in the vanguard of introducing electronic record‐keeping systems in Finland’s public administration when it comes to implementing new technology. Recordkeeping practices, on the other hand, have been left untouched. A three‐year records management development project, headed by the Military Archives, was started in the autumn of 1999. The aim of the project is to guide the Defence Forces’ recordkeeping towards the latest innovations defined as best practices by the international and national records professionals community. The development of recordkeeping practices is based on a functional, not on an organizational approach to the operations of the Defence Forces. The organization, that now consists of over 100 independent records creators, is viewed in corpore, as a single records creator. Provenance of records will be tied to functions and transactions that create them, not to organizational boundaries in carrying out those functions. A recordkeeping schedule or strategy, a new version of the electronic registry system and a metadata standard will be utilized as tools for incorporating recordkeeping practices and business processes and ensuring the evidential requirements of both paper and electronic records.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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