Electronic Records Research 1997: Resource Materials

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

Bibliography on Electronic Records

Creation and Appraisal

Gilliland-Swetland, Anne. "Digital Communications: Documentary Opportunities Not to be Missed." Archival Issues 20, #1 (1995): 39-50.
(Abstract provided).
Drawing upon professional literature and electronic records and digital library research initiatives at the University of Michigan, this paper examines the nature of and opportunities provided by digital communications, primarily as evolving documentary media, but also as digital environments through which documentation may potentially be made more widely available and relevant. It cautions against utilizing a pure systems or risk management approach in identifying such materials for long-term retention, and concludes with a discussion of the need to revisit the role of appraisal to establish and capitalize on the nature and use of digital communications.

Gilliland-Swetland, Anne J., Gregory T. Kinney, and William K. Wallach. Uses of Electronic Communication to Document an Academic Community, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, December 1992. Working Draft of Final Report to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission on Grant No. 91-113, University of Michigan - Division of Research and Development Administration DRDA Grant No. 91-539.
(Abstract taken from Statement of Purpose)
The Bentley Historical Library computer conferencing project (NHPRC Grant No. 91-113) was begun in September 1991. Its aims were to explore whether or not computer conferencing has potential to document the intellectual, cultural, and social environment of colleges and universities, and then to make recommendations regarding the archival appraisal and accessioning of such materials. Two larger purposes of the project were 1) to propel the Bentley Library into facing the archival challenges -- both intellectual and practical -- presented by electronic communication at the University of Michigan, and 2) to raise the level of discourse in the college and university archival community about the nature and administration of records generated through electronic communication. The following report provides an overview of computer conferencing systems, in particular the Confer II software, as well as related forms of electronic communication and then outlines the methodology employed by the project and describes its major findings. The report also discusses some issues raised by the project which may well be generic to the archival management of electronic communication.

Loef, M. PIVOT, A New Turn to Appraisal Policy: Reduction of the Transfer Period in the Public Records Act and the Consequences for Government Administration, Drukkerij Smits, The Hague, Netherlands, 1991.
PIVOT (English translation: Implementation Reduction of Transfer Period Project), established by the State Archives of the Netherlands, was developed in reaction to the new Public Records Act. Previously, government documents were being transferred to the archives after 50 years. However, according to the new law, these records will have to be accessioned into the state and municipal archives after 20 years -- thus creating an immediate influx of documents. PIVOT has been charged with the task of researching each ministry and identifying those records that fit the criteria (based on government tasks) to be transferred to an archival repository. From the knowledge gained, PIVOT's ultimate goal is to influence future information management policy.

Miller, Brian. "Should Agencies Archive E-mail?" Government Technology (February 1995): 22.
Brief discussion regarding the need to schedule e-mail in government agencies. Miller poses the question of whether agencies "need to begin developing procedures for storing messages when they pertain to substantive policy -- or prohibit e-mail use for policy making." [22].

O'Shea, Greg. "The Appraisal of Electronic Records by Australian Archives." Managing Electronic Records: Papers from a Workshop on Managing Electronic Records of Archival Value, eds. Dagmar Parer, and Ron Terry, 14-67. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 30 October 1992. Canberra, Australia: Australian Council of Archives Inc. and Australian Society of Archivists Inc., April 1993.
Thorough analysis of appraisal procedures utilized by Australian Archives, with a number of interesting feature: electronic records could be appraised in the same fashion as other records, appraisal should ignore format because of the rapidity of change, the likelihood the records would remain with the creators, the early time of appraisal in the life cycle of the records, and the linking of appraisal of these records to their functional applications.

O'Shea, Greg. "The Medium is Not the Message: Appraisal of Electronic Records by Australian Archives." Archives and Manuscripts 22, no. 1 (1994): 67-93.
(Abstract provided).
This article focuses on the methodology being developed by Australian Archives to appraise electronic records created by agencies of the Australian Government. It gives an overview of the development of appraisal practices in the Commonwealth's archival authority over the years, and presents a case study based on a recent appraisal of computer systems in the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. In addition, there is discussion of the thinking within Australian Archives about how intervention is needed to ensure the creation of certain records. Preliminary costs in retaining certain transactional records of archival value in an electronic environment are revealed.

Stuckey, Steve. "Disposal of Electronic Records." Unpublished Paper. Australia: 1993.
Presentation made by the author attempting to apply traditional notions of appraisal and disposition to electronic records. Stuckey concludes that the "disposal of electronic records has long been shrouded in mystery and apprehension amongst archivists and records managers. Many have though that they need to gain qualifications in systems analysis before they can approach the job. It is time the process was demystified; we are appraising information, not nuts and bolts. The same appraisal criteria need to be applied, taking into consideration the linkages between paper, computer and other format information. Just because you cannot see all information makes no difference. It's time we faced the dragon head on, appraised some electronic records, and begin to redress the shameful loss of historical electronic records has occurred in recent years." [17].

Taylor, Marcia Freed. "Locating, Appraising and Acquiring Computer Records: A View from Experience." Computer Generated Records: Proceedings of a Seminar, Michael Cook, 22-30. University of Liverpool, 26 September 1986. England: Society of Archivists, 1987.
The paper addresses three basic aspects of preserving electronic records: 1) finding out what data files exist, 2) deciding which data files should be retained, and 3) deciding when they should be preserved. The author makes many references to the procedures at the EDRC Data Archives at the University of Essex. She outlines the difficulties of locating data archives when no legal or administrative obligations exist and the preservation problems that data files present. Taylor also describes the archives' techniques for describing and making the data files accessible.

United States National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration. "How to Evaluate Files." in Fundamentals of Systems Analysis: Using Structured Analysis and Design Techniques, A3-A14. Jerry FitzGerald, and Ardra F. FitzGerald. 3rd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1987.
Checklist taken from the U.S. National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration's "Checklist for Appraising Files Operations in Your Office" (Government Printing Office, 1968).

Last Modified: 8/14/96 [kjb]

Bibliography on Electronic Records

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