The Electronic Journal of e-Government publishes perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Government

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Journal Article

The Changing Nature of Archives: Whose Responsibility?  pp68-78

Mari Runardotter, Christina Mortberg, Anita Mirijamdotter

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

The implementation of eGovernment and the increasing amount of e‑services leads to the production of huge amounts of digitally recorded information. In turn, this raises a demand for well‑functioning e‑archives, considering the laws and regulations of public and citizens’ rights and obligations. However, we find that there are difficulties in public organisations in dealing with the complex and challenging issue of digital preservation. Not only does eGovernment transformation change productivity, governance and governmental coordination and collaboration, it also transforms the everyday work practices of many public sector employees. A vivid example is archivists and archival work. The matter of e‑archives is often left to the archivists, who have limited power and influence to be able to deal with digital preservation to the extent needed. The research question we address is therefore: who should be held responsible for the changing nature of archives and digital preservation in an organization? Our aim in this paper is to analyse and discuss plans for, and layers of, responsibility for digital preservation as configured and reconfigured in archivists’ stories and Swedish national policy documents. We use a model that covers three arenas: political, organizational, and practical (or individual). Our findings suggest that to conduct good governance and create properly‑functioning e‑archives there is a need to spread the responsibility for these e‑archives and to plan for cooperation, coordination, and communication around digital preservation. This should happen in interplay between the various actors which hold the practical responsibility, technological responsibility and strategic responsibility. Additionally we note that the view of archivists as keepers of information is moving towards the role of facilitators, who support access to information rather than merely keeping it intact for future. Moreover, as a result of technological developments we find that issues to address in further studies are the present laws and regulations that govern archives, change of work practices and ways of dealing with digital preservation.

 

Keywords: digital preservation, eGovernment, digital archives, participatory design, actors, and agendas

 

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Journal Article

We do not Talk about this: Problematical Silences in e‑Government  pp259-270

Johanna Sefyrin, Christina Mortberg

© Jan 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp209 - 294

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Abstract

The Swedish public sector is currently in a process of transformation, often referred to as e‑ Government. In this paper stories are told of problematic silences in an e‑Government implementation project in a Swedish government agency. e‑Government is discussed as something that is articulated differently by a range of actors in various locations. This enables articulations of multiple e‑Government and the multiple articulations can also be a means to contest dominant and possibly problematic articulations of e‑Government. The dominant discourse of e‑Government is the rationalisation of the public sector as a means of saving public resources. The improvement of quality and availability of public services, and to improve democratic processes are central in the dominant discourse. In this discourse there is a silence about the dismissal of employees in the public sector. There is neither talk about how the public sector is an important labour market for women nor how the rationalisation will affect the employees. Employees' knowledges are not considered as being a resource for strategic IT‑planning, and thus they are not invited to participate in the further design of IT‑systems. The purpose of the paper is to explore the participation of the administrative officers in an e‑Government implementation project, and the meanings of e‑Government articulated in the project. Ethnographic methods were used in the collection of empirical material, and central ideas in participatory design and feminist technoscience were used in the analysis. The main argument is that the administrative officers participated in an ambiguous way. They were central actors but were at the same time marginalised within the organisation. The ambiguity regarding how they participated is related to different and more inclusive articulations of e‑ Government in the project. The paper is concluded with a discussion concerning how alternative articulations of e‑Government can offer alternatives to the dominant e‑Government discourse.

 

Keywords: e-Government, public sector employees, silences, feminist technoscience, participatory design

 

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