Electronic records requirements and new technologies

South Bay Room

Tuesday July 10, 2012

1:30-3:00 PM

Presenters: Lorraine Richards, Amelia Acker, Richard Pearce-Moses, Weiwei Song

Lorraine Richards

Cloud computing is a form of information technology provision that treats computing as a set of services that can be purchased on-demand through networks.  This sociotechnical arrangement allows computing infrastructure, hardware, and software to be treated as largely modular services that can be scaled up and down easily and with minimal ongoing interaction and negotiation with one’s computing resource provider, potentially reducing IT costs overall.  About three-quarters of all state governments have adopted cloud computing or are in the process of adopting cloud computing.  However, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and professional association ARMA International have indicated that agencies should be aware of the potentially adverse effects of cloud computing on records management work.  They cite a lack of formal technical standards governing how data is stored and manipulated in some cloud environments, thereby threatening the long-term trustworthiness and sustainability of the data. They also point out that a wide range of records management risks may be associated with cloud computing, such as the potential failure to meet recordkeeping regulatory requirements, jurisdictional issues regarding data storage, vendor continuity concerns, lack of clarity surrounding data ownership, and interoperability challenges.
In this talk, I will discuss my dissertation research, which investigates the way recordkeeping requirements are addressed within state government cloud computing environments.  The project develops an understanding of state recordkeeping work and the ways in which formalized organizational requirements in cloud environments do (or don’t) map to archives and records management requirements.  I will report on my investigation of several types of cloud computing implementations at a variety of states to clarify the legal, institutional, organizational, and professional requirements that archives and records management (ARM) personnel must comply within a cloud computing environment and determine the extent to which the requirements gathering that occurs during cloud computing adoptions actually reflects these ARM needs.

Amelia Acker

Framing “When is a Record” in Mobile Computing Communication

There have been few conversations within communities of archival practice and information science that attend to the significance of digital records created by mobile communication devices.  Often, when such digital records are discussed, tropes of immateriality are employed to reconcile their non-persistence and asynchronous qualities with earlier approaches to electronic records. And yet as contexts of mobile computing increasingly shape the fabric of social life through wireless communication and data transfer, how should archivists prepare for a future of records thus generated and used for evidentiary and other purposes? How does existing archival theory about electronic records account for mobility, wirelessness, and non-persistence? This study develops a methodological framework for answering the question, “When is a record?” in the contexts of mobile computing and digital information systems. By drawing upon theories from descriptive bibliography, computer mediated communication, and science and technology studies the proposed framework will account for the digital materiality of contemporary mobile records (e.g. texts, media messages, and GPS coordinates) and considers such issues as the material constraints of records created with mobile devices and how these might affect the future of preservation and access to such ‘mobile records.’

Richard Pearce-Moses

The Master of Archival Studies programs emphasizes educating digital archivists.  When students graduate, they have taken a range of courses that emphasize the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary to work with electronic records.  At a minimum, the students should become fluent in the language of technology; they should be able to have an informed discussion with a technologist.  Students should have a minimum level of competence, to be able to perform tasks essential to digital archives work.  For example, students should be able to discuss requirements for a database with a database developer and to evaluate the developer’s recommendations.  At a minimum, students should be able to design and implement a simple database to facilitate common tasks (sorting and filter metadata).  Some students will be able to build on the basic competencies to become technically proficient.  However, these goals beg the question, what skills should be included in the courses?  What do digital archivists need to know to appraise and acquire records, to arrange and describe them, to provide reference and access, and to preserve them over time.  Rather than developing a list of specific skills, the courses incorporate a variety of tools designed to help with those tasks.  Installing and configuring the software tools gives students a rich understanding of the digital ecosystem, providing them with a context to better understand electronic records.  Use of the tools helps the students understand how archival principles are realized in the digital era.  This presentation will briefly describe the courses, emphasizing the tools and how they are incorporated into the course work.  It will also offer a preliminary assessment of their effectiveness as teaching tools.

Weiwei Song

Weiwei Song, a PhD candidate of the Information Resource Management School of Renmin University of China (RUC). He has been majoring in Archives and Electronic Records Management from 2004 till now. Song is strongly interested in Archival research. From 2004 to 2011, he has been involved in 7 academic research projects and published 7 papers in journals or at international conferences. In 2010, Song was enrolled into the project of ICA: Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environment to summarize and state the functional requirements for electronic records management research in China.

With a strong interest, Song continuously pays attention to archival research methods, electronic records management, new technologies and archival theories development. Details are followed:

1)     Archival research methods. With the rigid research methodology disciplines at the Information Resource Management School and RUC, Song not only employs reasonable research methods to do researches but also lays emphasis on the comparison of different archival research methods, such as case study, action study, theory building, conceptual analysis, diplomatics, ethnography etc.

2)     New technologies and archival theories development. New technologies such as database, web technologies, social networks and cloud bring significant impacts on archival science. For calling for a discussion on the basic archival theories development under the new technologies environment, Song has proposed and held an academic salon to discuss this issue. It worth mentioning that Song has specified his doctoral research issues which is the new technologies and appraisal.

3)     Electronic records management. Along with the development of records management in digital environment, and the construction of the Electronic Records Management Research Centre and the Electronic Records Management Systems Testing Centre(ERMSTC), Song is involved in such projects more and more. Especially, he has been enrolled as the research fellow by the ERMSTC.



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