Introduction

Scope and audience

This book has been inspired by my work in government institutions, teaching at universities, and research experiences. The book, therefore, draws on both my licentiate and PhD theses and discusses the impact e-Government development has had on information management, presents the concepts of Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Records Management (RM), Information Culture, and the Records Continuum Model (RCM). A lot is going on in the information management field and we are witnessing different kinds of information management constructs promising to deliver the magic bullet to the challenges posed by digital information. There seems to be a realization that information is a vital resource that should be effectively managed for successful business. Despite this awareness and the fact that most people in organizations today are information creators, information responsibilities are left to IT departments, archivists, and records managers. My own work experience confirmed that very few people in my organization understood the challenges posed by the management of the information they produced or used in their work processes. The current digital information landscape requires competencies from an array of disciplines, such as information architects, records managers, the business people, archivists, lawyers, business analysts, and IT personnel. Everybody has to be involved if information management is to be integrated with the business processes and used to its maximum potential. This book, therefore, should be of interest to the different professions engaged in the management of digital information.

In theory, there are best practice standards to facilitate the management of information, but in practice, the challenges have become more complex. e-Government development has led to the development of integrated electronic services and also increased the amount of information that has to be managed. This also requires that the ownership of the information in such services is identified in order to establish who is responsible for its management. Though governments are promoting free access to information, quality information hinges on robust information management regimes, an information infrastructure with well-integrated systems and a culture that appreciates information as a vital resource. The book therefore discusses the impact e-Government development has had on information management and highlights the differences and similarities between ECM and RM. It further discusses the need to address the people issues, which are manifested in the type of information culture organizations embrace. It considers the use of the RCM as a model that promotes a proactive approach to the management of digital information and the pluralization of information as per the Public Sector Information (PSI) directive.

 
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