Electronic Records Research 1997: Resource Materials

Compilation Copyright, Archives & Museum Informatics 1998
Article Copyright, Author

Bibliography of Background Materials and Findings
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Martin, Ann. Report on the Status of the Electronic Records Program at the National Archives of Canada. (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1 April 1996). Format: Rich Text Format
This report is the second of three studies designed to address the National Archives (hereafter NA) 1995-96 Strategic Priority B-3: To develop a program for the acquisition and preservation of electronic records. The purpose of this report is to review and assess current NA operations relating to archival electronic records including existing policies, procedures, and short-term plans. It is intended to complement the report by Sheila Powell, Elements of an Archival Electronic Records Program, which proposes and outlines various program alternatives for the preservation of archival electronic records. Both reports provide the contextual information for a third report to be prepared by Margaret Hedstrom, which will examine program resource and policy implications. These three reports will be summarized in an executive summary of recommendations for the Director-General, Archives and Government Records Branch (AGRB). [abstract taken from document Introduction.]

Macfarlane, Ian. "Checklist of Good Practice for Electronic Records Management." (London: Public Record Office, October 1996). Format: Rich Text Format
[Crown copyright. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty's Stationary Office.]
The following checklist is intended to assist departments to check that their policies, technology, procedures and organisation are in place which will ensure that they are meeting their obligation under the Public Records Act to safeguard and maintain records. The checklist should be interpreted to suit the particular environment of the department. The items on the checklist will then form the basis for questions that should be asked -- ideally there should be an affirmative answer to each question. Otherwise, it is suggested that the risks are evaluated and remedial actions undertaken. [abstract reproduced from checklist introduction.]

Macfarlane, Ian, David Alun, and Andy Carty. "EROS Industry Change Programme -- Strategy." (London: Public Record Office and Central Computers and Telecommunications Agency, February 1997). Format: Rich Text Format
[Crown copyright. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty's Stationary Office.]
As departments use electronic documents as the primary record of their business, management of those records, transfer to the Public Record Office (PRO), their long term storage and subsequent release for public reading becomes important. The PRO does not intend to become a museum of document authoring packages used in government, nor can it support the range of hardware platforms needed to run them. The basic requirement of the EROS Programme is to find ways acceptable to both departments and the PRO of transferring electronic records into the PRO, storing them and, eventually, making them available to the public electronically rather than on paper. ICP is that part of the EROS Programme focusing on how the supply side, that is software and hardware suppliers, can help meet the Programme requirement. To focus the work required with the supply side, this strategy for bringing about industry change has been agreed by the EROS Programme Board. This strategy is a 'live document' describing the situation as it is viewed now by the Board. The strategy currently includes four complementary projects identified as ways to proceed with various supplier and other bodies. More may be identified and some of those already present may prove nugatory. [abstract taken from document.]

Macfarlane, Ian. "Overview of the EROS (Electronic Records in Office Systems) Programme." (London: Public Record Office, October 1996). Format: Rich Text Format
[Crown copyright. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty's Stationary Office.]
This paper presents an brief overview of PRO objectives and partnerships, and, in particular, a review of the EROS Program. A program developed to target records produced during the course of government business -- both electronic records and associated documents.

Macfarlane, Ian, and Richard Blake. "Survey of Systems and Procedures for the Management of Electronic Records in Office Systems in Government: Summary of Analysis." (London: Public Record Office and Central Computers and Telecommunications Agency, October 1996). Format: Rich Text Format
[Crown copyright. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Britannic Majesty's Stationary Office.]
For some time, the Public Record Office had been aware that advanced office systems now coming into widespread use have significant implications for record keeping and archives. In order to assess the situation and needs in departments and agencies, the PRO carried out a survey across government in January 1996, to identify current structures and procedures, penetration and extent of office systems, and future plans and projects. A total of 106 departments and executive agencies participated in the survey. This represented an overall 79% response which included a response of 90% from the large departments and agencies. The results were analysed in detail usine a spreadsheet and a summary of the findings appears [in this document]. [abstract reproduced from document.]

McDonald, John. "Information Management and Office Systems Advancement." in Angelika Menne-Hartiz, ed., Information Handling in Offices and Archives. (New York: K.G. Saur, 1993): 138-151
McDonald presents and overview of the Information Management and Office Systems Advancement (IMOSA) project carried out at the National Archives of Canada. IMOSA was a collaborative effort developed in response to a variety of corporate memory management issues.

McDonald, John. "Managing Records in the Modern Office: Taming the Wild Frontier." Archivaria 39 (Spring 1995): 70-79.
From a record-keeping perspective, the modern office is like the wild frontier. Office workers can create and send electronic messages and documents to whomever they wish. They can store them according to their won individual needs and then delete them without turning to anyone else for approval. There are no rules of the road. The autonomy of the individual reigns supreme. In developing record-keeping solutions, however, we need to understand the evolution that is taking place in the use of office systems technologies. In recent years there has been a gradual shift from the wild frontier, where distinct software tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, and e-mail (designed to enhance individual productivity) are the norm, to a more settled landscape characterized by integrated software supporting directly the automation of work processes (designed to enhance organizational effectiveness). This article traces this evolution and argues that as law and order come to the wild frontier, they will present archivists and records managers with exciting opportunities to influence the way that records are managed. [abstract taken from publication.]

McDonald, John. "Data and Document Interchange Standards: A View from the National Archives of Canada." in Stephen M. Spivak and Keith A. Winsell eds., A Sourcebook on Standards Information (Boston: G.K. Hall, 1991): 231-239.
[The objectives of] this paper are, firstly, to provide you with [the author's] views concerning why, in Canada, we are interested in standards (as you will appreciate, the reasons are not unique to Canada); secondly to provide you with an overview of the standards development process in Canada generally and in the Canadian federal government specifically; thirdly, to describe the path that the National Archives is planning to pursue based on a recently completed study; and fourthly, to identify a number of challenges that, it seems to me, will have to be addressed before the National Archives or, [the author] would suggest, any archival repository can begin to reap the benefits that are inherent through participation in the standards development process. [abstract taken from publication].

Miller, Michael L. ""Assessing the Need: What Information and Activities Should We Preserve?" paper prepared for Documenting the Digital Age, An Invitational Conference sponsored by Microsoft, MCI, and the National Science Foundation, San Francisco, February 10-12, 1997.
Format: Rich Text Format
Archivists, records managers, librarians, and technology advocates have developed visions of what electronic records could and perhaps even should be preserved for various purposes. This paper looks at the issue from a very pragmatic point of view of someone who has worked in both a Federal agency that produces and disseminates huge quantities of information and an archival program that has attempted to deal with the flood of Federal records for roughly a quarter of a century. The author examines some questions underlying the title of this paper with the goal of highlighting areas of potential agreement and disagreement on how the issue of preservation should be addressed. The author argues that we need to look to limit the amount of documentation we seek to retain over time and match our preservation plans to our management capabilities at this time. [abstract taken from publication.]

Miller, Michael L. "Disc Players, the Records Manager/Archivists and the Development of Optical Imaging Applications." The American Archivist 58 (Spring 1995): 170-180.
Although the computer literature is full of stories about successful imaging (optical disc) applications, records management professionals have countless stories about failed ones. As the technology matures, archivists and records managers are increasingly being asked to join imaging application development teams. How can these disciplines contribute to a successful application? This paper suggests some indicators archivists and records managers can use in evaluating imaging applications and some questions they can pose to improve the chances that the application will be a successful one. It is not the goal here to look at long-term storage and transportability issues; rather, the essay concentrates on what records professionals can do to improve the odds that an imaging application -- either their own or one whose records they may someday inherit -- is a success. [abstract reproduced from publication.]

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National Archives of Canada. Guideline on the Management of Electronic Records in the Electronic Work Environment (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1996). [http://www.archives.ca/www/english/mgr/order.html]
The guideline is an umbrella document that includes such materials as: Electronic Work Environment -- Vision; Vision of Record Keeping in the EWE; Record/Document/Information/Management System -- Functional Requirements; Management of Shared Directories; Management of Electronic Records in the EWE -- Initiatives; and Management of Electronic Records in the EWE -- Policies. Documents are available in Adobe Acrobat, WordPerfect 5.1 and WordPerfect 6.1. [abstract taken from web site].

National Archives of Canada. Product List for the Information Management Standards and Practices Division. (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1996). [http://www.archives.ca/www/english/mgr/order.html]
Listing of available information on products produced by the Information Management Standards and Practices Division.

National Archives of Canada. Managing Electronic Records in and Electronic Work Environment. (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, April 1997). Format: Rich Text Format
This paper provides a brief overview of a guideline issued to federal government institutions by the National Archives of Canada. "The guideline is directed to those electronic records that are generated or received in the form of mail messages (e-mail) and electronic documents consisting of text, illustrations, tables and charts prepared with the aid of computer software and hardware.

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O'Shea, Greg. Keeping Electronic Records: Policy for Electronic Recordkeeping in the Commonwealth Government. (Dickson, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia, September 1995). [http://www.aa.gov.au/AA_WWW/AA_Issues/KER/]
Earlier this year the Australian Archives released, "Managing Electronic Records -- a shared responsibility." That booklet outlined the Australian Archives preferred strategy for the management of electronic records in the Commonwealth Government. This publication "Keeping Electronic Records" is about maintaining accountability in the electronic age. It is designed to provide guidance to users and managers of computer systems in the Commonwealth public sector about:

The advice in this booklet covers records created using all types of computerised systems whether they be on personal computing environments, distributed network environments, mainframe data processing environments, spatial data systems, or other multi-media systems. [abstract taken from publication.]

O'Shea, Greg. Managing Electronic Messages as Records. (Dickson, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia, 1997). [http://www.aa.gov.au/AA_WWW/AA_Issues/EMcontents.HTM]
The purpose of this document is to explain policy and provide guidelines on the management of electronic messages as records within the Commonwealth Government sector. The policy is modelled on Policy on Electronic Messages as Records produced by the Archives Authority of NSW and Using Electronic Mail at the Australian Archives, the corporate policy of the Australian Archives. This policy establishes that stored electronic messages derived from Commonwealth Government business transactions are records and outlines how they should be managed. In establishing that electronic messages are records the policy also entails a requirement to retain electronic messages in recordkeeping systems for as long as they are required by the Commonwealth and the community. The purpose of the guidelines, which follow the policy, is to enable agencies to comply with the Policy on Managing Electronic Messages as Records. The policy applies to all Government agencies subject to the Archives Act 1983, including those agencies not subject to the Public Service Act. While these guidelines are advisory, all agencies should note that Section 24 of the Archives Act relation to unauthorised destruction, damage, alteration, or transfer of custody or ownership, applies to all records including electronic records. The objective of the policy and guidelines is the effective capture and management of electronic messages as records in compliance with best practice and any Commonwealth law or regulation. [abstract taken from web site.]


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