Digital archiving & compliance: delivering evidence in an age of overload

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    Abstract

    Within eGovernment, trust in electronic stored information (ESI) is a necessity. In the last decades, most organizations underwent substantial reorganization. The integration of structured data in relational databases has improved documentation of business transactions and increased data quality. That integration has improved accountability as well. Almost 90% of the information that organizations manage is unstructured (e.g., e-mail, documents, multimedia files, etc.). Those files cannot be integrated into a traditional database in an easy way. Like structured data, unstructured ESI in organizations can be denoted as records, when it is meant to be (and used as) evidence for organizational policies, decisions, products, actions and transactions. Stakeholders in eGovernment, like citizens, governments and courts, are making increasing demands for the trustworthiness of this ESI for privacy, evidential and transparency reasons. A theoretical analysis of literature of information, organization and archival science illustrates that for delivering evidence, reconstruction of the past is essential, even in this age of information overload. We want to analyse how Digital Archiving and eDiscovery contribute to the realization of trusted ESI, to the reconstruction of the past and to delivering evidence. Digital Archiving ensures (by implementing and managing the ‘information value chain’) that: [1] ESI can be trusted, that it meets the necessary three dimensions of information: quality, context and relevance, and that [2] trusted ESI meets the remaining fourth dimension of information: survival, so that it is preserved for as long as is necessary (even indefinitely) to comply to privacy, accountability and transparency regulations. EDiscovery is any process (or series of processes) in which (trusted) ESI is sought, located, secured and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. A difference between the two mechanisms is that Digital Archiving is implemented ex ante and eDiscovery ex post legal proceedings. The combination of both mechanisms ensures that organizations have a documented understanding of [1] the processing of policies, decisions, products, actions and transactions within (inter-) organizational processes; [2] the way organizations account for those policies, decisions, products, actions and transactions within their business processes; and [3] the reconstruction of policies, decisions, products, actions and transactions from business processes over time. This understanding is extremely important for the realization of eGovernment, for which reconstruction of the past is an essential functionality. Both mechanisms are illustrated with references to practical examples.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication ICIME 2013
    Subtitle of host publication4th International Conference on Information Systems Management and Evaluation
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    PublisherACPI
    ISBN (Print)9781627486071
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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