An accountability challenge: capturing records and their context in enterprise information systems

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    More than 80 % of all information in an organization is unstructured, created by knowledge workers engaged in peer-to-peer networks of expertise to share knowledge across organizational boundaries. Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) do not integrate unstructured information. At best, they integrate links to unstructured information connected with structured information in their databases. The amount of unstructured information is rising quickly. Ensuring the quality of this unstructured information is difficult. It is often inaccessible, unavailable, incomplete, irrelevant, untimely, inaccurate, and/or incomprehensible. It becomes problematic to reconstruct what has happened in organizations. When used for organizational policies, decisions, products, actions and transactions, structured and unstructured information are called records. They are an entity of information, consisting out of an information object (structured or unstructured) and its metadata. They are important for organizational accountability and business process performance, for without them reconstruction of past happenings and meaningful production become an impossibility. Organization-wide management of records is not a common functionality for EIS, resulting in [1] a fragmentation in the management of records, where structured and unstructured information objects are stored in a variety of systems, unconnected with their metadata; [2] a fragmentation in metadata management, leading to a loss of contextuality because metadata are separated from their information objects; and [3] a declining quality or records, because their provenance, integrity, and preservation are in peril. Organizational accountability is based on records and their context to reconstruct the past. Because records are not controlled by EIS, they can only marginally be used for accountability. The challenge for organizational accountability is to generate trusted records, fixed and contextual information objects inseparately linked with metadata that capture context to regain evidential value and to allow for the reconstruction of the past. The research question of this paper is how to capture records and their context within EIS to regain the evidential value of records to allow for a more robust organizational accountability. To find an answer, we need to pay attention to the concept of context, on how to capture context in metadata, and how to embed and manage records in EIS.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of The 10th European Conference on Information Systems Management
    Subtitle of host publication8-9 September 2016 The University of Evora Portugal
    EditorsPaulo Silva, António Guerreiro, Rui Quaresma
    ISBN (Electronic)9781911218067
    ISBN (Print)9781911218050
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event10th European Conference on Information Systems Management - University of Évora, Évora, Portugal
    Duration: 8 Sept 20169 Sept 2016


    Conference10th European Conference on Information Systems Management


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