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Article
Publication date: 15 April 2020

Victoria L. Lemieux, Chris Rowell, Marc-David L. Seidel and Carson C. Woo

Distributed trust technologies, such as blockchain, propose to permit peer-to-peer transactions without trusted third parties. Yet not all implementations of such…

Abstract

Purpose

Distributed trust technologies, such as blockchain, propose to permit peer-to-peer transactions without trusted third parties. Yet not all implementations of such technologies fully decentralize. Information professionals make strategic choices about the level of decentralization when implementing such solutions, and many organizations are taking a hybrid (i.e. partially decentralized) approach to the implementation of distributed trust technologies. This paper conjectures that while hybrid approaches may resolve some challenges of decentralizing information governance, they also introduce others. To better understand these challenges, this paper aims first to elaborate a framework that conceptualizes a centralized–decentralized information governance continuum along three distinct dimensions: custody, ownership and right to access data. This paper then applies this framework to two illustrative blockchain case studies – a pilot Brazilian land transfer recording solution and a Canadian health data consent sharing project – to exemplify how the current transition state of blockchain pilots straddles both the old (centralized) and new (decentralized) worlds. Finally, this paper outlines the novel challenges that hybrid approaches introduce for information governance and what information professionals should do to navigate this thorny transition period. Counterintuitively, it may be much better for information professionals to embrace decentralization when implementing distributed trust technologies, as hybrid models could offer the worst of both the centralized and future decentralized worlds when consideration is given to the balance between information governance risks and new strategic business opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper illustrates how blockchain is transforming organizations and societies by highlighting new strategic information governance challenges using our original analytic framework in two detailed blockchain case studies – a pilot solution in Brazil to record land transfers (Flores et al., 2018) and another in Canada to handle health data sharing consent (Hofman et al., 2018). The two case studies represent research output of the first phase of an ongoing multidisciplinary research project focused on gaining an understanding of how blockchain technology generates organizational, societal and data transformations and challenges. The analytic framework was developed inductively from a thematic synthesis of the findings of the case studies conducted under the auspices of this research project. Each case discussed in detail in this paper was chosen from among the project's case studies, as it represents a desire to move away from the old centralized world of information governance to a new decentralized one. However, each case study also represents and embodies a transition state between the old and new worlds and highlights many of the associated strategic information governance challenges.

Findings

Decentralization continues to disrupt organizations and societies. New emerging distributed trust technologies such as blockchain break the old rules with respect to the trust and authority structures of organizations and how records and data are created, managed and used. While governments and businesses around the world clearly see value in this technology to drive business efficiency, open up new market opportunities and create new forms of value, these advantages will not come without challenges. For information executives then, the question is not if they will be disrupted, but how. Understanding the how as will be discussed in this paper provides the business know how to leverage the incredible innovation and transformation that decentralized trust technology enables before being leapfrogged by another organization. It requires a change of mindset to consider an organization as one part of a broader ecosystem, and for those who successfully do so, this paper views this as a strategic opportunity for those responsible for strategic information governance to design the future instead of being disrupted by it.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents a novel analytic framework for strategic information governance challenges as we transition from a traditional world of centralized records and information management to a new decentralized world. This paper analyzes these transitions and their implications for strategic information governance along three trajectories: custody, ownership and right to access records and data, illustrating with reference to our case studies.

Practical implications

This paper predicts a large number of organizations will miss the opportunities of the new decentralized trust world, resulting in a rather major churning of organizations, as those who successfully participate in building the new model will outcompete those stuck in the old world or the extremely problematic hybrid transition state. Counterintuitively, this paper argues that it may be much less complex for information executives to embrace decentralization as fast as they can, as in some ways the hybrid model seems to offer the worst of both the centralized and future decentralized worlds with respect to information governance risks.

Social implications

This paper anticipates broader societal consequences of the predicted organization churn, in particular with respect to uncertainty about the evidence that records provide for public accountability and contractual rights and entitlements.

Originality/value

Decentralized trust technologies, such as blockchain, permit peer-to-peer transactions without trusted third parties. Of course, such radical shifts do not happen overnight. The current transition state of blockchain pilots straddles both the old and new worlds. This paper presents a theoretical framework categorizing strategic information governance challenges on a spectrum of centralized to decentralized in three primary areas: custody, ownership and right to access records and data. To illustrate how decentralized trust is transforming organizations and societies, this paper presents these strategic information governance challenges in two blockchain case studies – a pilot Brazilian land transfer recording solution and a Canadian health data consent sharing project. Drawing on the theoretical framework and case studies, this paper outlines what information executives should do to navigate this thorny transition period.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2010

Victoria L. Lemieux

This paper seeks to explore the nexus between records and risks. It briefly traces different conceptualizations and the historical evolution of risk and risk management

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the nexus between records and risks. It briefly traces different conceptualizations and the historical evolution of risk and risk management and analyzes discourse on risk and the use of risk management in the field of records management and allied disciplines such as archives and information science.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodological approach involves searching for and extracting for analysis references to “risk” in articles from well‐known journals and subjecting the 248 references to a visual analysis.

Findings

The visual analysis reveals 15 distinct, and in some cases conceptually related topics or categories of articles on risk. These are analysed further to create a typology of seven distinct topics of discourse defining the records‐risk nexus in the sampled literature.

Originality/value

This paper contributes an analysis of the literature on records and risk that defines the nexus between the two subjects, presents a typology of discourse on the records‐risk nexus, and demonstrates the use of an innovative methodology (visual analysis) for analysis of large sets of bibliographic data.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 March 2012

Abstract

Details

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

Content available
Article
Publication date: 13 July 2010

Julie McLeod

Abstract

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 59 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Book part
Publication date: 17 May 2018

Richard Marciano, Victoria Lemieux, Mark Hedges, Maria Esteva, William Underwood, Michael Kurtz and Mark Conrad

Purpose – For decades, archivists have been appraising, preserving, and providing access to digital records by using archival theories and methods developed for paper…

Abstract

Purpose – For decades, archivists have been appraising, preserving, and providing access to digital records by using archival theories and methods developed for paper records. However, production and consumption of digital records are informed by social and industrial trends and by computer and data methods that show little or no connection to archival methods. The purpose of this chapter is to reexamine the theories and methods that dominate records practices. The authors believe that this situation calls for a formal articulation of a new transdiscipline, which they call computational archival science (CAS).

Design/Methodology/Approach – After making a case for CAS, the authors present motivating case studies: (1) evolutionary prototyping and computational linguistics; (2) graph analytics, digital humanities, and archival representation; (3) computational finding aids; (4) digital curation; (5) public engagement with (archival) content; (6) authenticity; (7) confluences between archival theory and computational methods: cyberinfrastructure and the records continuum; and (8) spatial and temporal analytics.

Findings – Each case study includes suggestions for incorporating CAS into Master of Library Science (MLS) education in order to better address the needs of today’s MLS graduates looking to employ “traditional” archival principles in conjunction with computational methods. A CAS agenda will require transdisciplinary iSchools and extensive hands-on experience working with cyberinfrastructure to implement archival functions.

Originality/Value – We expect that archival practice will benefit from the development of new tools and techniques that support records and archives professionals in managing and preserving records at scale and that, conversely, computational science will benefit from the consideration and application of archival principles.

Details

Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-884-8

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Book part
Publication date: 27 August 2016

Carlos Gradín

We investigate the reasons why income inequality is so high in Spain in the EU context. We first show that the differential in inequality with Germany and other countries…

Abstract

We investigate the reasons why income inequality is so high in Spain in the EU context. We first show that the differential in inequality with Germany and other countries is driven by inequality among households who participate in the labor market. Then, we conduct an analysis of different household income aggregates. We also decompose the inter-country gap in inequality into characteristics and coefficients effects using regressions of the Recentered Influence Function for the Gini index. Our results show that the higher inequality observed in Spain is largely associated with lower employment rates, higher incidence of self-employment, lower attained education, as well as the recent increase in the immigration of economically active households. However, the prevalence of extended families in Spain contributes to reducing inequality by diversifying income sources, with retirement pensions playing an important role. Finally, by comparing the situations in 2008 and 2012, we separate the direct effects of the Great Recession on employment and unemployment benefits, from other more permanent factors (such as the weak redistributive effect of taxes and family or housing allowances, or the roles of education and the extended family).

Details

Income Inequality Around the World
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-943-5

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Darra Hofman, Victoria Louise Lemieux, Alysha Joo and Danielle Alves Batista

This paper aims to explore a paradoxical situation, asking whether it is possible to reconcile the immutable ledger known as blockchain with the requirements of the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore a paradoxical situation, asking whether it is possible to reconcile the immutable ledger known as blockchain with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and more broadly privacy and data protection.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper combines doctrinal legal research examining the GDPR’s application and scope with case studies examining blockchain solutions from an archival theoretic perspective to answer several questions, including: What risks are blockchain solutions said to impose (or mitigate) for organizations dealing with data that is subject to the GDPR? What are the relationships between the GDPR principles and the principles of archival theory? How can these two sets of principles be aligned within a particular blockchain solution? How can archival principles be applied to blockchain solutions so that they support GDPR compliance?

Findings

This work will offer an initial exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of blockchain solutions for GDPR compliant information governance. It will present the disjunctures between GDPR requirements and some current blockchain solution designs and implementations, as well as discussing how solutions may be designed and implemented to support compliance. Immutability of information recorded on a blockchain is a differentiating positive feature of blockchain technology from the perspective of trusted exchanges of value (e.g. cryptocurrencies) but potentially places organizations at risk of non-compliance with GDPR if personally identifiable information cannot be removed. This work will aid understanding of how blockchain solutions should be designed to ensure compliance with GDPR, which could have significant practical implications for organizations looking to leverage the strengths of blockchain technology to meet their needs and strategic goals.

Research limitations/implications

Some aspects of the social layer of blockchain solutions, such as law and business procedures, are also well understood. Much less well understood is the data layer, and how it serves as an interface between the social and the technical in a sociotechnical system like blockchain. In addition to a need for more research about the data/records layer of blockchains and compliance, there is a need for more information governance professionals who can provide input on this layer, both to their organizations and other stakeholders.

Practical implications

Managing personal data will continue to be one of the most challenging, fraught issues for information governance moving forward; given the fairly broad scope of the GDPR, many organizations, including those outside of the EU, will have to manage personal data in compliance with the GDPR. Blockchain technology could play an important role in ensuring organizations have easily auditable, tamper-resistant, tamper-evident records to meet broader organizational needs and to comply with the GDPR.

Social implications

Because the GDPR professes to be technology-neutral, understanding its application to novel technologies such as blockchain provides an important window into the broader context of compliance in evolving information governance spaces.

Originality/value

The specific question of how GDPR will apply to blockchain information governance solutions is almost entirely novel. It has significance to the design and implementation of blockchain solutions for recordkeeping. It also provides insight into how well “technology-neutral” laws and regulations actually work when confronted with novel technologies and applications. This research will build upon significant bodies of work in both law and archival science to further understand information governance and compliance as we are shifting into the new GDPR world.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 29 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2016

Victoria Louise Lemieux

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of Blockchain technology as a solution to creating and preserving trustworthy digital records, presenting some of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of Blockchain technology as a solution to creating and preserving trustworthy digital records, presenting some of the limitations, risks and opportunities of the approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodological approach involves using the requirements embedded in records management and digital preservation standards, specifically ISO 15,489, ARMA’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles, ISO 14,721 and ISO 16,363, as a general evaluative framework for a risk-based assessment of a specific proposed implementation of Blockchain technology for a land registry system in a developing country.

Findings

The results of the analysis suggest that Blockchain technology can be used to address issues associated with information integrity in the present and near term, assuming proper security architecture and infrastructure management controls. It does not, however, guarantee reliability of information in the first place, and would have several limitations as a long-term solution for maintaining trustworthy digital records.

Originality/value

This paper contributes an original analysis of the application of Blockchain technology for recordkeeping.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2014

Victoria Louise Lemieux, Brianna Gormly and Lyse Rowledge

This paper aims to explore the role of records management in supporting the effective use of information visualisation and visual analytics (VA) to meet the challenges…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the role of records management in supporting the effective use of information visualisation and visual analytics (VA) to meet the challenges associated with the analysis of Big Data.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory research entailed conducting and analysing interviews with a convenience sample of visual analysts and VA tool developers, affiliated with a major VA institute, to gain a deeper understanding of data-related issues that constrain or prevent effective visual analysis of large data sets or the use of VA tools, and analysing key emergent themes related to data challenges to map them to records management controls that may be used to address them.

Findings

The authors identify key data-related issues that constrain or prevent effective visual analysis of large data sets or the use of VA tools, and identify records management controls that may be used to address these data-related issues.

Originality/value

This paper discusses a relatively new field, VA, which has emerged in response to meeting the challenge of analysing big, open data. It contributes a small exploratory research study aimed at helping records professionals understand the data challenges faced by visual analysts and, by extension, data scientists for the analysis of large and heterogeneous data sets. It further aims to help records professionals identify how records management controls may be used to address data issues in the context of VA.

Details

Records Management Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-5698

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