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

Long‑term Digital Archiving — Outsourcing or Doing it  pp135-144

Mitja Decman

© Dec 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp95 - 224

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Governments all over the world are confronted with a new sphere of electronic data that is the consequence of increasingly presented and used information technology (IT). The data is heaping up on desktop computers, servers, tapes, CDs, etc. Not till the last decade did leading employees and the political elite start to ask themselves how will this data be saved as a proof of e‑government actions for the near and far future and our posterity. Considering the nature of electronic form compared to the paper form we can define keeping electronic data as a "non‑stop" job, while keeping the classical paper form can be defined as a "store‑and‑leave" job. New legislation and standards regarding the management and archiving of electronic data arise and so do practical solutions — information systems. At the point of implementation we can be confronted with huge expenses and the question of best implementation. How to solve this issue, considering outsourcing the service of long term digital archiving by external contractors or implementing it by the government itself is the topic of this paper. The paper focuses on organizational, technical and financial aspects of the dilemmas "to outsource or not", "parts or the whole service", how to do it, etc. It analyses the decision factors and tries to make conclusions on the basis of theory and research results from different survey projects. It presents the results of the empirical study of the digital archiving filed in the public sector of Slovenia that also focused on the outsourcing of digital archiving service or different segments of this service. The results from the public sector are also compared with the results for the private sector.


Keywords: archiving, electronic data, long term, digital preservation, outsourcing, recordkeeping, digital archive


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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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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 Issue

Volume 5 Issue 2, ECEG 2007 / Dec 2007  pp95‑224

Editor: Frank Bannister

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This issue contains a selection of the best papers from the 2007 European Conference on e‑Government which took place in The Hague . Our host was Den Haagse Hogeschool, which is housed in a building which can best be described as a series of large ellipses piled on top of one another. Finding a given room on a given level involved a decision as to whether to go clockwise or anticlockwise round this structure and there was plenty of empirical evidence of the validity of the *buttered toast law as the later one was for a presentation, the more likely one seemed to be to go the longer way around.

As usual with this issue, there are a large number of articles and they come from many countries. A number of contributors consider various aspects of government portals and on‑line services. Aykut Arslan looks at the impact of ICT on local government in Turkey , concluding that although progress has been made, there is much to be done, especially in moving beyond efficiency to broader goals of inclusion and democracy. On the other side of the continent, Karin Furuli and Sigrun Kongsrud compare and contrast government portals in Demark and Norway . The framework that they develop for doing this may be of interest to other researchers and has wide potential application. In their article, Ralph Feenstra, Marijn Janssen and René Wagenaar (who sadly died in 2007), examine the question of composition methods for web based government services where there are multiple actors. Composition is the process of combining several services (usually from different suppliers) necessary for the completion of a single task and evaluating methods of doing this is non trivial. Regina Connolly's article focuses on the factors that influence the take up and effectiveness of Ireland 's Revenue Online Service tax payment system and provides several useful insights that could be applied elsewhere. Alea Fairchild and Bruno de Vuyst consider another aspect of government service, the Belgian Government Interoperability Framework (BELGIF) and look at the problems of interoperability in a country with its own particular administrative and political complexities.

Document management is a topic that to date has received little attention in the e‑government literature. Two papers here contribute to making up for this deficiency. For anybody who would like a primer as well as an interesting model, the article by Raphael Kunis, Gudula Rünger and Michael Schwind is an informative read. Mitja Decman also considers the matter of government documents, this time from the perspective of archiving and long term storage. As well as being another good overview of the issues involved, the case for having confidence in such forms of storage is well argued.

The conference has always attracted a number of contributions on electronic voting and e‑democracy In their article, Orhan and Deniz Cetinkaya give a sweeping overview of e‑voting, arguing that there is sometimes a lack of clarity in terminology and suggesting that appropriate levels of verification and validation should be applied to e‑voting in different situations. Mark Liptrott's article on e‑voting presents a rather different perspective, examining the successes and failures of the 2003 e‑voting experiment in the UK . His conclusion is that government will need to be proactive and learn the lessons of Roger's diffusion theory if it is going to get widespread public acceptance of this technology. In a different part of the e‑democracy forest, Jenny Backhouse arrives as a somewhat similar conclusion, that engagement with e‑democracy in Australia seeks unlikely to break out spontaneously with given models. Using analogies from e‑business, she concludes, however, that e‑democracy is here to stay whether we like it or not!

Finally, two papers with broader themes. Albert Meijer opens his article with the provocative question; “Are all countries heading for similar political systems in the information age?” He then looks at this question using empirical research in the USA and The Netherlands which suggests that convergence is not happening in quite the way some expect. Mary Griffiths looks at something quite different, the South Australian Oxygen programme (designed to connect the X and Y generations) which seeks to equip young people for civil engagement via electronic media. The results of this experiment are refreshingly positive and again, as in other articles in this issue, there are lessons for a wider world.


Keywords: archiving, Australia,, citizen portal, collaboration, diffusion, digital archive, digital preservation, document management systems, document processing, e-administration, e-business model, e-democracy, e-government security, electronic data, electronic record management, e-municipality, e-participation, e-Turkey, evaluation, e-voting, hierarchical government processes, institutional differences, interoperability, multi-actor networks, Mypage, online public services, outsourcing, peer-managed intranets, pilot scheme, political accountability, Protocols, public policy process, public value, quality of service, record keeping, SERVQUAL, social value, standards, taxation, Transferability, trust, Turkish e-governments, Turkish local governments, UGC, validation, verification, virtual village, web service composition


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