AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Digital preservation (1) is an area where information technology (IT) plays a significant role. The digital preservation challenge exists because of IT and IT is expected to provide the solution. Ergo, IT is both the source for the illness and the cure. The digital preservation research field is still in its start-up, covering a range of matters from technological to societal (Ross and Hedstrom, 2005). The research challenges concern four aspects: technical architectures for archival repositories, attributes of archival collections, digital archiving tools and technologies, and organizational, economic and policy issues (Hedstrom, 2003). Key research activities are: lack of archival media (i.e. that last hundreds of years), salvage and rescue techniques, context aware digital entities, preservation modelling methodologies, automate processes, etc. Besides new knowledge are practical results necessary (Ross and Hedstrom, 2005). Adequate preservation technologies, practices and methods are in the public interest, since information fortify democracy, enable corporate and public sector accountability, promote economic growth and underpin citizens confidence in e-government.
Many research initiatives elaborate with digital preservation, mainly from a technological angle (2). In Sweden research concern e.g. physical structure of digital objects (Nilsson, 2006, 2008), Archival Information Systems frameworks (Quisbert, 2006, 2008) and preservation implications of and for recordkeeping (Borglund, 2006, 2008). Ultimately it concerns society, not least by e-government, since e-services renders official records that are to be preserved.
To preserve digital material also creates organizational problems, since it is not yet established how to handle the matter. How to best organize for digital preservation is a question that is not on the agenda in many organizations (Runardotter, 2007, 2009). Instead, there still prevails a belief that technology alone is the answer for addressing organizational problems, that work practices will change and adapt in accordance with technology, and that people will organize their work in line with the technological systems (Heath and Luff, 2000). In contrast, research has shown that even if information systems are innovative and reliable, etc., many fail when implemented in the organizational setting. Reasons for this are that neither organizational conditions nor qualifications and skills among personnel are considered (Bodker et al., 2004; Heath and Luff, 2000; Markus and Benjamin, 1996; Wang and Paper, 2005). This indicates that the issue of cooperation and responsibility concerns all organizations where technology is tightly woven into their processes.
How to work with digital preservation is not obvious, since it cuts through organizational entities, and concerns other professionals than archivists. It is not clear whom should be responsible and for what parts in the digital preservation process. Therefore, it is a mistake to place the entire responsibility on archivists. That this happens anyhow could depend upon organizational leaders, whom often seem to be convinced that archivists take care of the preservation matters, be it paper or digital. But archivists in general are not experts on IT, they are at best advanced users. Therefore, the field of digital preservation must acknowledge social and organizational issues, including relationships between professionals (Runardotter, 2007, 2009). Professionals hold different views--underlying assumptions, expectations and knowledge about technology. It is vital to understand this, if we are to fully understand technological development, use and change in organizations (Orlikowski and Gash, 1994).
Since work with digital preservation cuts through functions, including supportive functions, it demands an organizational framework--a structure for how to organize the work--that supports digital preservation. It is needed in addition to the existing structure for how to organize work related to the paper-based archive. This framework should embrace that which must be conducted if digital material will continue to exist, i.e. processes, activities, functions and routines. Most importantly, there is need to clarify the necessity of responsibility and cooperation (Runardotter, 2007, 2009; Runardotter et al., forthcoming).
The aim of this paper is to show a good example of organizing in order to establish cooperation and allocate responsibility for digital preservation. It builds on empirical material from the Swedish National Archive of Recorded Sound and Moving Images (SLBA), a governmental authority that is actively working to bring forth preservation strategies for their digital material. Their way of organizing is explored in relation to the Viable System Model (VSM) and theories (Beer, 1979, 1981, 1985, 2004).
The questions at issue here are not limited to governmental authorities, but are to a great extent of importance for all organizations that have digitalized their services. These enterprises will also be forced to consider current processes, activities, functions and routines.
The paper is disposed as follows. It starts with describing SLBA, followed by a section where the method for data collection and analysis is provided. Then an account of the VSM and theories is given, before the section based on the empirical material. Finally, analysis and discussion is found, and the paper ends with some conclusions.
THE AUTHORITY DESCRIBED
SLBA's (3) mission is to collect, preserve and make the entire Swedish production of recorded sound and moving images (4) accessible. SLBA preserves the cultural heritage for future generations, thus there is no limitation of the preservation time (5).
The annual Budget Document (2007) describes the objectives, and clarifies the financial means along with a declaration of how these should be used. Before SLBA receives the Budget Document the authority is able to influence its content in dialogue with the Ministry of Education. More specific objectives in the Budget Document constitute the foundation for the authority's operational plans.
The Law of Legal Deposit is fundamental, and regulates the obligation to submit deposit copies for research and study reasons (SFS 1993:1392). Records that are to be submitted in accordance with the law should have been made public by e.g. selling, rental or lending, and concern Swedish conditions. This is valid if the information in whole or in part is in Swedish, contains work of a Swedish originator or performance of Swedish artist/s, or if it is mainly meant to be spread in Sweden.
Organization at SLBA
The authority is run by a Director General, and has three supportive departments: IT, Economy and Personnel, and three operational departments, Collect and Document, Technology and Development, and Research and Information.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
At the bottom of Figure I are the departments Collect and Document, Technology and Development and Research and Information. Fundamental processes for digital preservation are collect, preserve and make accessible (6). The first, Collect is conducted by the department Collect and Document and involves, besides managing deliveries to the authority, to actively search and acquire published material on e.g. the Internet, and to arrange and document the material. Digital archives need traditional archival metadata in accordance with the provenance principle (i.e. arrangement of archives must reflect the context in which the record/s was created). The arrangement should correspond to the original order of the collection; it concerns to know where a record was created, in what process, to what end, for whom, when and how it was received by the addressee and how it came to them (Cook, 1997; Dollar, 1992). Digital preservation needs additional technological metadata, that is, descriptions of technological requirements that must be fulfilled in order to make it possible to access and 'read' the record/s in the future (Nilsson, 2006, 2008).