The change that has occurred during the past few decades concerning the development of electronic records, information technology and the constantly increasing quantity of information, have confronted the archival discipline with new challenges. In the digital world, the concept of ”record” has changed from representing something lasting and physical to something much more abstract and transient. The way to approach archival description has also changed, from focusing on the static preservation of archival records, to documenting the transactions of organisations, and to clarify operational processes. The discussion about the general purpose of the archival discipline, and its place in a changing world, has led to a new approach to archival description. The new way to describe and document archives inSweden, the process-oriented archival description, is an example of that.
This paper discusses questions concerning the changes in archival description in relation to electronic information management and the ideas about Records Continuum presented by Frank Upward and others. The scope is to investigate how the implementation of the process-oriented archival description is performed in smallSwedishStateauthorities with a limited amount of work flow management. The scope is also to analyse to what extent the process-oriented archival description is compatible with the theories of Records Continuum.
The conclusion is that the selected authorities have started their work with the process-oriented archival description relatively late, and that the status of the assignment is relatively low. The conformation of the archival description seems to be adapted to bigger authorities with a high amount of work flow management. Even so, the process-oriented archival description is seen as a positive change all in all by the selected authorities.
The conclusion is also that the theory of Records Continuum to some extent is compatible with the process-oriented archival description. The primary principles about records representing transactions in work related processes are well integrated with the essential ideas of Records Continuum. The presented paper supports the view that basic knowledge about the Records continuum model and the theories surrounding it is an advantage for archivists working with process-oriented archival description.