Building Record-Keeping Systems: Archivists Are Not Alone on the Wild Frontier MARGARET HEDSTROM*
RBSUMB Des recherches rCcentes dans le domaine des documents Clectroniquesont mis de I'avant des propositions et Ctabli des modkles en vue d'inclure des fonctions et des procCdures de contr6le de I'information au sein de systkmes informatiques pour s'assurer de I'authenticitC et de I'intCgritC des documents. Cet article passe en revue plusieurs projets de gestion des documents informatiques men& par des archivistes et examine ensuite des progrks rCcents en matikre de sCcuritC des rCseaux et d'authentification sur la base des recherches rCalisCes h I'extCrieur de la communautt5 archivistique. Mettant I'accent principalement sur le dCveloppement de a systkmes sCcurisCs n (trusted systems) destints h soutenir le commerce Clectronique et la publication numCrique, I'article Cvalue diverses mCthodologies alternatives offrant des solutions partielles aux prCoccupations en matikre de gestion des documents informatiques. I1 montre en quoi les mCthodologies employCes pour le dCveloppement de systkmes sCcurisCs sont compatibles avec les objectifs archivistiques et soulkve certaines prCoccupations en matitre de prkservation et d'accessibilitC h long terme. ABSTRACT Recent research on electronic records has produced proposals and models for adding functionality and procedural controls to information systems so that systems can protect the authenticity and integrity of records. This article reviews several electronic records management projects led by archivists and then explores recent developments in network security and authentication based on research outside the archival community. Focusing primarily on the development of "trusted systems" to support electronic commerce and digital publishing, the article evaluates alternative methodologies which offer partial solutions to electronic record-keeping concerns. It suggests ways in which methodologies for trusted systems are compatible with archival objectives, but also raises concerns about long-term preservation and accessibility.
Writers often use metaphors to connote complex concepts and little understood phenomena. Therefore, it is not surprising that metaphors permeate discussions of digital technologies and the fundamental changes they are spawning in commerce, education, communication, and social interaction. Metaphors such as the digital library, the electronic shopping mall, the gateway to experience and interaction, and cyberspace attempt to depict the essence of new technologically-enabled forms of interaction.' The record-keeping community has appropriated the metaphor of the wild frontier to describe the chaos of the
Building Record-Keeping Systems
modem office as well as the boundless opportunities for specialists in recordkeeping to establish a rule of law and tame the excesses of uncontrolled records creation, distribution, and ~ t o r a g e . ~ Recently, archivists have taken up the charge to tame the wild frontier through a variety of research and development projects which have proposed strategies for bringing order and integrity to the records of modem information systems. As records professionals, we have been breaking our own ground as we labour to solve record-keeping issues on the edge of the electronic frontier. Research on electronic record-keeping has reasserted the distinctions between records and other forms of information and reminded us that records are valued because they provide evidence of events, transactions, and decisions which can be used to verify or challenge what occurred immediately or long after the documented events transpired. Recent archival literature about electronic records begins with the assumption that information systems must have additional controls and functionality in order to establish and maintain the linkage between a record and its larger transactional context and to protect the authenticity and integrity of the...
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