Long-term Preservation of Electronic Information – A study of Seven Swedish Governmental Organizations
Information technology in combination with changes in organizational structures and forms for work has led to an increasing amount of information and also to totally new forms of information and records creation. Much of the information that earlier was produced on paper is now being produced in electronic form, for example as e-mail and in databases. A 10-year period is a long time when it comes to preserving electronic records. This is of course due to the rapid technological development, for example the problems with obsolete software and file formats. Vitale functions in society such as the social insurance and national registration have to be accessible for long periods of time. Without authentic, accessible, searchable, and reliable records these functions in society are in fact impossible to maintain. There still remain a lot of problems to solve before secure and efficient long-term preservation will be brought about. Digital preservation requires, in addition to the technological development, elaborated strategies, new workflows and organizational structures, standards and common metadata, new specific competences, and close co-operation across different professional fields. Though many problems still remain to be solved, governmental as well as business organizations are in an intermediate stage in the changeover to electronic records and have to deal with this situation. In this paper an empirical study of seven Swedish governmental departments is presented. The study was carried through with help of interviews and in some of the cases examination of complementary documentation. The result of the study shows the stage of changeover organizations are in, and the different strategies they use to handle the mixture of paper-bound documents, scanned documents, electronic records, databases, etc that comprise the information about one single commission or object and which has to be handled both in the short and the long run.
KeywordsElectronic Record County Council Electronic Information Paper Document Digital Preservation
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