Design for Recordkeeping: Areas of Improvement

Abstract: This thesis is about problems related to design of information systems in which records are born and managed. The proactive approach has been derived from new archival theories suited for electronic recordkeeping, and implies that electronic records must, at the time of creation fulfil their current and future requirements. Information systems where records are born and managed should, based upon a proactive approach, meet recordkeeping requirements. This thesis is based upon a four-year research effort and consists of seven research articles that present the results of the research. The objective is to contribute to knowledge of design recommendations for information systems, in which records are born and managed. The main result of this thesis is identification of five areas that can affect and improve the design of information systems in which records are born and managed. First: A set of empirically and theoretical grounded characteristics of records are presented. Those characteristics have to be complemented with organization-defined characteristics. Second: this research has contributed a conceptualization of use of records and users of records. The notion of known use/user, and unknown use/user has been introduced. Design becomes difficult because requirements of unknown users are difficult to conceptualize. Third: The Recordkeeping Quality Assessment model (RQAM) is presented. The model implies a holistic quality approach to recordkeeping, and intends to be used as a basis for quality assessment, and as a reference model in design situations to achieve high recordkeeping quality. Fourth: Two dominant different views on records are presented. Private organizations appraise records principally upon business values, and public organisations base their appraisal criteria upon accountability and legislative values. The two views on records should be brought into one view and form a risk management-like appraisal. Fifth: Proactivity is a way of thinking and should be applied on several levels in the recordkeeping environment: to the electronic record, to the information system where the electronic record is born and managed, to the organization, and to the user.