Structure of the book
The book constitutes seven chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the impact e-Government development has had on information management. The Public Sector Information Directive obliges European governments to avail government information to the citizens. Information is seen as a national resource that should boost the development of new electronic services and innovation. e-Government development further aims to increase accountability and transparency through the free flow of information. However, this will also require a robust information management infrastructure to facilitate the creation, capture, management, and pluralization of quality information.
Chapter 2 examines the concept of ECM as an emerging information management strategy and a field that is promoted by its proponents as the panacea to the challenges of digital information management since it enables enterprise-wide information management. It focuses on the management of both structured and unstructured content in an organization. It is a term used to cover a broad range of digital assets, including web content management, document management, and content management.
Chapter 3 focuses Records Management, which is an established field of practice that facilitates the management and maintenance of authentic, reliable, and complete records in societies. Good information and records management practices promote effective business processes and transparent and accountable governments.
Chapter 4 examines the two principles that govern the management of records; the Life Cycle Model and the Records Continuum Model. The Life Cycle Model applies the analogy of living organisms and presumes that records are born, live, and die. This is achieved through the phases of current, semicurrent, and non current where records should either be retained or disposed of. It is regarded insufficient in the digital environment. The RCM constitutes four dimensions, create, capture, organize, and pluralize, and combines the activities of managing both archival and current records. The RCM suits the current digital environment because it views information as always in the process of becoming. The model, therefore, promotes the repurposing of information than storage. The RCM through its pluralization dimension expects information to be used in different environments and by different stakeholders. This is also in line with for example the European Union Directive on the reuse of public information for innovative purposes.
Chapter 5 focuses on the differences and similarities between ECM and RM that were identified during the pursuit of my PhD research. The research that I carried out in two Swedish municipalities and the literature review that I undertook on ECM and RM facilitated an understanding of the two information management constructs.
Chapter 6 discusses the concept of information culture and the impact it has on the creation, management, and use of information in organizations. Good information and records management practices promote effective business processes. The information culture of an organization consists of attitudes and norms towards information and the way employees value it. This determines the management of information/records for accountability and transparency and for the execution of business processes. An organization has a mature information culture when it can easily access and use and uses information in its everyday activities. Organizations are populated by people with attitudes and behaviors that shape the success or failure of records and information management programs. The chapter uses case studies from Sweden and Belgium municipalities to demonstrate how information culture affects the management of public records and information.
Chapter 7 examines the concept of accountability and transparency and demonstrates why information management and information access are of key importance to social, cultural, and economic development. The free flow of government information enhances the democratic rights of the citizens. The only way citizens can hold those they vote into power accountable for the decisions they make on their behalf is through access to government information. Despite multistakeholder initiatives to promote accountability and transparency, there are many citizens of the world that are still governed by nontransparent and nonaccountable governments. There is still lack of empirical evidence on the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives on societies.