The role of the archivist in exploiting and accessing open data as public records in an open government environment is explored. The possible role, responsibilities and mandate of an archivist in this new public sector context are examined. Necessary knowledge, skills and competence are identified.
Expectations of a more proactive release of public records and technical developments that support new ways of publishing and reusing digital information, for example as open data on the internet, create new challenges and change the way public records are managed and made accessible to citizens, which will also involve new professions in the management of records. Fundamentally this raises questions of how, in this new management environment, the trustworthiness of the records could be maintained and how the archives and records management profession could contribute to this, related to other professionals involved in these processes.
In Sweden there is a long tradition of openness and citizens´ right to access public records. But with the implementation of e-government follows a new perception of what openness means and “open government” is a concept that seems to go further and be more proactive. A part of this study will be to analyze and define what is meant by ‘open government’ and ‘open data’ as they are used in Sweden, i.e. how ‘open data’ differs from ‘public records’ for example. In Sweden there is no formal records manager profession, but the archivist often does the corresponding work. That is why this project also includes the archivists´ role in the open government environment.
This study will reflect upon the archivists´ role in this process and what is needed to ensure a trusted proactive release of public records. To identify what skills, guidelines, knowledge and mandate are needed. The study will focus on StockholmCity’s work on open data, which is an important part of the open government agenda, through the perspective of Stockholm City Archives.
Case study methods are used to examine the role of the archivist in the domain of access to public records in an open government and open data environment. The study examines what role an archivist in the public sector currently has, and what knowledge, skills and competence are needed for these new challenges.
Interpretation of existing work and the perception of the situation by practicing archivists in this changing environment provide valuable data. The case study is based on the City of Stockholm because it is quite progressive in its work on open data. It is now running an open data project, in which the Stockholm City Archive plays an active role. The role of the archivist in practice, experiences and possible needs and missing factors will be explored. Data will be collected by interviews and text analysis. Needed strategies and guidelines will be identified.
International Council on Archives , 2014.
Open Data; Stockholm City Archives; Archivists; Professional roles; Public records