Since the Nineties of the last century there is a growing quantity of digital information in archives, which resulted in a growing notion of the threats to digital information and a growing notion of the role of the archive regarding management and preservation of digital information. Digital objects are much more 'fragile' than traditional analogue documents such as books or other hard copy mediums. Digital objects require therefore pro-active intervention to remain accessible. While you can put a book on a shelf, return to it in 100 years and still open it and see the content as it was intended by the author/publisher, the same approach of benign neglect to a digital object is surely a guarantee that it will be inaccessible in the future. Therefore the Municipal Archives of Rotterdam started a project to realise a trusted digital repository. During this project the realisation grew that it is not enough to organise procedures and storage for the digital information objects that are to be transferred to the archives from the administration. At the moment the period between closing the case and transfer to the archive can be up to 20 years and in that time there will be much information lost. Facing this problem the Rotterdam administration investigates the possibilities to delegate the task of preservation of digital information in an early stage to the Archives. This means that the role of the Archives changes from caretaker of static archives to service provider for long term trusted administrative accessibility. With this in mind, the Municipal Archives of Rotterdam have not only developed expertise in the field of trusted digital repositories, but have also taken the lead in the standardisation of records management in the administration of Rotterdam.
In the present situation the government has a weak relation with information management. The responsibility is not a management priority. There is no political ambition, there is no cultural background and there is no relation with the quality of public government and the importance within the constitution of state. As a result, there is a danger for the government of losing its memory. The government cannot control and manage information anymore at the required level. The costs of information management will thus rise significantly. Furthermore the competences of employees regarding the handling of information are not up to standard. Information is seen as an executive function and part of the facility management process, strategic or policy functions are almost entirely lacking in this area. Conclusion: a quick turnaround is necessary. The importance of information management should be (re)valued at a much higher level by investing in digital sustainability. To achieve this, we have to implement the record continuum and registration of information should be anchored in the workflow. Sustainability and preservation should be part of innovating the IT infrastructure.
In order to guarantee long term usability of digital information, the administration has to take measures to ascertain that correct metadata is stored with the information objects. This means a change in the keeping of records, which results in a change of working methods throughout the whole organisation, resulting in the implementation of records management in all divisions of the Municipality and promotion of the awareness of the records continuum. In short: information should be integrated in the workflow. S ustainability and a factor time should be incorporated in ICT solutions. IT, Record keeping and the Process owners should put their know-how together in order to realise a uniform structure and a uniform management of information. In addition to this the organization has to invest in trained employees that possess the skills to handle information. In short: new professionals have to be found.
In this perspective, the Municipal Archives of Rotterdam has two tasks: as caretaker of the information of the Municipality of Rotterdam, it has to be prepared to ingest digital information (photo's, websites, documents and data); as preserver of information it has to secure that the Municipality preserves its information in such a way that it remains accessible in the long term
To achieve this the Municipal Archives of Rotterdam have developed a trusted digital repository which consists of software, hardware, instructions, procedures and trained employees in order to ensure that it is able to acquire, store and disclose digital information in a well ordered and accessible state. This trusted repository offers sustainable storage of digital records and the relevant metadata. It furthermore facilitates search of information and offers the results in context. The trusted repository has value above a document- or records management system, because it can also handle all kinds of information stored in task specific applications, legacy systems, websites, etc.
28-04-10 But the sustainable storage of information objects is not enough: Record keepers should be aware of the chain of information of which their information objects are part. The records continuum, correct and adequate metadata and records management are the knew challenges. To realise this new way of handling information in the early stages, the Municipal Archives has started a records management program to support the divisions with the establishment of records management in their own environment. On the level of the Municipality, the CIO has started a program to establish a Service Oriented Architecture for the entire organisation, in order to create a standard infrastructure consisting of standard components, one of which is the E-depot.
Parallel to these programs the trusted repository will be implemented in the infrastructure of the municipality. Here fore certain pilot projects are developed, one of which is related to the WABO. The WABO (Wet Algemene Bepalingen Omgevingsvergunning) is a combination of all kinds of permissions, necessary for the providing of a building permit, an environmental permit, etc. Different departments of the municipality are involved in the provision of these permits and each department has its own regulations in terms of archiving the documents. Therefore it is a great opportunity for the Archives to offer its service for central archiving and preservation of documents. But it also poses the problem of cooperation and mutual trust: the Archives take over part of the task of the administration and poses itself in the frontline, instead of waiting until the archived documents are handed over. In short: the position of the Archives shifts from safekeeping to safeguarding. The project WABO has three main goals: service providing to civilians and companies legitimacy and accountability creation of a trustworthy image of the governmental divisions
The records of a case are kept in a record management system that provides information upon request to civilians and companies; however, they have to be authorized to access a certain record. To support legitimacy the records, after being closed, are transferred to the trusted digital repository. The responsibility for the records remains with the WABO bureau until the transfer to the Archives takes place, which is after selection and dequisition. The pilot has taught us that the gap between the current administration and the Archives must be bridged. Actions should be directed at every aspect of the business process to ensure that the information produced in the process results in sustainable archives.
It is important to determine which information needs to be preserved concerning the process, both for present and for later use. The dataset needed during the process is more extensive than the data needed for future access. By determining in advance what information should be preserved, the future transfer of the information objects to the Archives is facilitated and as a result the efforts in the transfer are being reduced significantly. Furthermore a correct metadata model has to be defined. The metadata need to be structured in such a way that even in the distant future people can understand what the information object is all about. The administration and the Archives have to draw up a Transfer Agreement and a Service Level Agreement and the administration has to draw up a list of information objects, their formats and criteria for selection for long term storage.
Specialists of the Archives have to participate in the design of new processes and new applications to ensure that the organization is able to generate and store all information that is needed, both for the execution of the process now and for later access. Together with the Concern Records Management Program, the Archives have to set standards for selection and dequisition, along with the implementation of a documentary structure plan To ensure sustainability of information objects, the Archives have to develop a Preservation Management Plan and an Implementation Plan, in which the chain of responsibility is determined.
Bridging The Gap Eca 2010
Bridging the gap Preserving documents in the early stages of their life cycle
Sense of urgency <ul><li>Since the nineties of the last century there is </li></ul><ul><li>a growing quantity of digital information in archives </li></ul><ul><li>a growing notion of the threats to digital information </li></ul><ul><li>a growing notion of the role of the archive regarding management and preservation of digital information </li></ul>
Present situation <ul><li>The government (municipality) has a weak relation with information management </li></ul><ul><li>The responsibility for information is not a management priority </li></ul><ul><li>There is no political ambition </li></ul><ul><li>There is no cultural background </li></ul><ul><li>Expertise of employees is not according to standards for working with information </li></ul>
Measures to be taken <ul><li>The implementation of records management in all divisions of the Municipality </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of the awareness of the records continuum </li></ul><ul><li>Information should be integrated in the workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability and the factor time should be incorporated in ICT (information remains reliable, trustworthy, complete, integer and accessible) </li></ul><ul><li>Organisations must invest in new professionals, </li></ul>
Distinct responsibilities in the administration Input ICT: Input Documentary Information Management: Input Process Owner: Knowledge of hard- & software Knowledge of disclosure of information and classification systems Knowledge of Legislation & process execution Building of adequate software systems Knowledge of appraisal Knowledge of process conditions Uniform Structure & Uniform Management
Role of the Archives <ul><li>The Municipal Archives of Rotterdam have two tasks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To be ready for the intake of digital information of the Municipality of Rotterdam and of private archives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To secure that the Municipality preserves its information in such a way that it remains accessible </li></ul></ul>
Responsibilities of the Municipal Archives <ul><li>Development of a trusted digital repository </li></ul><ul><li>Development of tools </li></ul><ul><li>Development of preservation policies </li></ul><ul><li>Supply of advice and support to records managers </li></ul>
Archiving in relation to Records Continuum workstations and network (e-mail, documents and files ) storage Active documents Inactive documents RDMS Task specific software Legacy systems and data Municipal websites Scanning and imaging E-depot Concern E-depot GAR
To keep it simple… this is what the WABO is all about…
Process related measures <ul><li>Determine which process information needs to be preserved, both for present and for later use. </li></ul><ul><li>Define the correct metadatamodel: description of the data elements and their structure </li></ul><ul><li>Define the list of information objects, their formats and criteria for selection for long term storage. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw-up a Transfer Agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Draw-up a Service Level Agreement between the organisation and the Archives </li></ul>
Bridging the gap <ul><li>Specialists of the Archives have to participate in the design of new processes and new applications </li></ul><ul><li>Standards need to be set for selection and dequisition </li></ul><ul><li>Preservation management must be developed </li></ul><ul><li>The chain of responsibility must be determined </li></ul>
Finally: I think we need another kind of archivists