Accountability and the reconstruction of the past

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    Many organizations have undergone substantial reorganization in the last decade. They re-engineered their business processes and exchanged proprietary, not integrated applications for more standard solutions. Integration of structured data in relational data bases has improved documentation of business transactions and increased data quality. But almost 90% of the information that organizations manage is unstructured, can not easily be integrated into a traditional database. Just like structured data, unstructured information in organizations are records, meant and used as evidence for organizational actions and transactions. Governments, courts and other stakeholders are making increasing demands for the trustworthiness of records. This is part of a long-term trend toward defining what accountability means in a digital era. An analysis of literature of information science, organization science and archival science illustrates that for accountability, reconstruction of the past is essential.
    Hypothesis of this paper is that for the reconstruction of the past each organization needs (at least) a combination
    of three mechanisms: enterprise records management, organizational memory and records auditing. Enterprise
    records management ensures that records meet the for accountability necessary quality requirements: integrity,
    authenticity, controllability and historicity. These requirements ensure records that can be trusted. Trusted
    records enhance the possibility of reconstructing the past. The organizational memory ensures that trusted
    records are preserved for as long as is necessary to comply to accountability regulations. It provides an information and communication technology infrastructure to (indefinitely) store those records and to keep them
    accessible. Records auditing audits enterprise records management and organizational memory to assess the
    possibility to reconstruct past organizational actions and transactions. These mechanisms ensure that organizations have a documented understanding of: the processing of actions and transactions within business
    processes; the dissemination of trusted records; the way the organization accounts for the actions and
    transactions within its business processes; and the reconstruction of actions and transactions from business
    processes over time. This understanding is important for the reconstruction of the past in digitized organizations
    and improve organizational accountability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011
    Event5th European Conference on Information Management and
    - Università dell'Insubria, Como, Italy
    Duration: 8 Dec 20119 Dec 2011
    Conference number: 5


    Conference5th European Conference on Information Management and
    Abbreviated titleECIME


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