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Article

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

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

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

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Article

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

Nils Troselius and Anneli Sundqvist

The purpose of the paper is to study the development and implementation of metadata schemes in Swedish governmental agencies, in order to gain a better understanding of

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to study the development and implementation of metadata schemes in Swedish governmental agencies, in order to gain a better understanding of recordkeeping practices in contemporary organisations and of the use of metadata and practical implementation of metadata schemes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on two case studies. The data have been collected through qualitative interviews, e‐mail correspondence and analysis of documentary sources, and analysed with help of the records continuum model and the conceptual framework presented in the international standard for metadata, ISO/TS 23081.

Findings

The results from this study show that the agencies had similar reasons to develop metadata schemes, namely to established a unitary and consistent description of records, to enhance retrieval and exchange of information, and to provide external users access to records in compliance with the 24/7‐agency vision. The agencies have, however, chosen different approaches to metadata and based their schemes on different models. This has affected the possibility of capturing contextual relations and transactionality, and thus of guaranteeing the evidential properties of records. The agencies are to various extents covering the different aspects of recordkeeping. None of the agencies are, however, acting in all dimensions of the records continuum model.

Originality/value

The paper shows how the records continuum model can be used as an analytical tool in the study of recordkeeping practices. It further contributes with empirical findings to a field where still little research is done. The paper can also be of value to practitioners seeking to develop and implement metadata schemes for records.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article

Ruth Frendo

Contemporary practices of information management tend to approach information as discrete and decontextualised units. The creation and capture of electronically generated

Abstract

Purpose

Contemporary practices of information management tend to approach information as discrete and decontextualised units. The creation and capture of electronically generated metadata, specific to individual transactions, have become a primary concern of the archival and records management literature. The prevalent model of discrete metadata capture lends itself easily to automation, but it cannot emulate the intellectual control offered by traditional classification structures such as file plans. The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a critical review of literature.

Findings

Recognition of contextual structures and relationships cannot at present be automated, natural language processing capabilities are poor, and metadata can easily become decoupled from “disembodied” discrete units of information. Discrete metadata capture has been developed in the context of commercial transactions rather than information management.

Practical implications

File plans as explicit organisations of knowledge can be used to generate contextually significant metadata for records. Such metadata may then be of considerable value to digital curation processes.

Originality/value

This critique will be useful in considering practical approaches to metadata capture.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article

Julie McLeod and Catherine Hare

The purpose of this paper is to examine critically the history of Records Management Journal on its 20th anniversary; it aims to review and analyse its evolution and its

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine critically the history of Records Management Journal on its 20th anniversary; it aims to review and analyse its evolution and its contribution in the context of the development of the profession and the discipline of records management. The paper seeks to provide the context and justification for the selection of eight articles previously published in the journal to be reprinted in this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper utilises the contents of Records Management Journal (1989 to date) to present a thematic analysis of topics covered and their development over time, and statistical data (from 2002 to date) provided by the current publisher to assess quantitatively the use and impact of the journal worldwide. The paper then compares this with a series of key turning points in the records management profession.

Findings

There is evidence that the initial aspiration for the journal to make an important and long‐lasting impact on the field of records management in the UK has been exceeded because its readers and contributors are global. The volume of downloads has continued to increase year‐on‐year and the journal appears to be the only peer‐reviewed journal in the world in the records management discipline. The journal has responded to and kept abreast of the records management agenda.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is based on the work of the current and immediate past Editor and did not seek the views of its Editorial Board members, readers or contributors to the journal.

Practical implications

Looking to the future, the journal must seek to widen its impact on other key stakeholders in managing information and records – managers, information systems designers, information creators and users – as well as records professionals. It must also continue to develop the scope of its content, whilst maintaining its focus on managing records, and must keep pace with technology developments. It should try to influence the professional agenda, be controversial, stimulate debate and encourage change. And it should remain a quality resource.

Originality/value

The paper provides a unique critical analysis of the journal, its history and contribution to the development of records management, on its 20th anniversary of publication.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article

Julie McLeod and Sue Childs

The purpose of this paper is to provide an approach to viewing the “wicked” problem of electronic records management (ERM), using the Cynefin framework, a sense‐making

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an approach to viewing the “wicked” problem of electronic records management (ERM), using the Cynefin framework, a sense‐making tool. It re‐conceptualises the ERM challenge by understanding the nature of the people issues. This supports decision making about the most appropriate tactics to adopt to effect positive change.

Design/methodology/approach

Cynefin was used to synthesise qualitative data from an empirical research project that investigated strategies and tactics for improving ERM.

Findings

ERM may be thought of as a dynamic, complex challenge but, viewed through the Cynefin framework, many issues are not complex; they are simple or complicated and can be addressed using best or good practice. The truly complex issues need a different approach, described as emergent practice. Cynefin provides a different lens through which to view, make sense of and re‐perceive the ERM challenge and offers a strategic approach to accelerating change.

Research limitations/implications

Since Cynefin has been applied to one data set, the findings are transferrable not generalisable. They, and/or the approach, can be used to further test the propositions.

Practical implications

The resultant ERM framework provides a practical example for information and records managers to exploit or use as a starting point to explore the situation in particular organisational contexts. It could also be used in other practical, teaching and/or research‐related records contexts.

Originality/value

This paper provides a new strategic approach to addressing the wicked problem of ERM, which is applicable for any organisational context.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article

Gobinda Chowdhury

The purpose of this paper is to point out the commonalities of research in digital libraries and digital preservation with regard to the issues of users and context of information.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to point out the commonalities of research in digital libraries and digital preservation with regard to the issues of users and context of information.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper's approach is a review of selected literature and reports of research projects focusing particularly on digital preservation research.

Findings

It is noted that just like the digital library community the digital preservation research community is also confronted with the challenges of capturing, storing and making use of the information related to users and context.

Practical implications

The paper points out some current research in digital preservation that aims to handle the users and context information for building future digital preservation systems. It highlights some major challenges in these areas.

Originality/value

The paper reports on the state of the art research in digital preservation.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 66 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Joanne Evans, Barbara Reed, Henry Linger, Simon Goss, David Holmes, Jan Drobik, Bruce Woodyat and Simon Henbest

This paper aims to examine the role a recordkeeping informatics approach can play in understanding and addressing these challenges. In 2011, the Wind Tunnel located at the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the role a recordkeeping informatics approach can play in understanding and addressing these challenges. In 2011, the Wind Tunnel located at the Defence Science Technology Organisation (DTSO)’s Fisherman’s Bend site in Melbourne and managed by the Flight Systems Branch (FSB) celebrated its 70th anniversary. While cause for celebration, it also raised concerns for DSTO aeronautical scientists and engineers as to capacities to effectively and efficiently manage the data legacy of such an important research facility for the next 70 years, given increased technological, organisational and collaboration complexities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper will detail how, through a collaborative action research project, the twin pillars of continuum thinking and recordkeeping metadata and the three facets of organisational culture, business process analysis and archival access, were used to examine the data, information, records and knowledge management challenges in this research data context. It will discuss how this perspective, was presented, engaged with and evolved into a set of strategies for the sustained development of FSB’s data, information and records management infrastructure, along with what is learnt about the approach through the action research process.

Findings

The project found that stressing the underlying principles of recordkeeping, applied to information resources of all kinds, resonated with the scientific community of FSB. It identified appropriate strategic, policy and process frameworks to better govern information management activities.

Research limitations/implications

The utility of a recordkeeping informatics approach to unpack, explore and develop strategies in technically and organisationally complex recordkeeping environment is demonstrated, along with the kinds of professional collaboration required to tackle research data challenges.

Practical implications

In embracing technical and organisational complexity, the project has provided FSB with a strategic framework for the development of their information architecture so that it is both responsive to local needs, and consistent with broader DSTO requirements.

Originality/value

This paper further develops recordkeeping informatics as an emerging approach for tackling the recordkeeping challenges of our era in relation to maintaining and sustaining the evidential authenticity, integrity and reliability of big complex research data sets.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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