Registering and Preserving Digital Documentation Produced by Public Bodies (NO0021)
Action Plan: Norway Action Plan 2013-2015
Action Plan Cycle: 2013
Lead Institution: The Ministry of Culture and the National Archives of Norway in cooperation with the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi).
Support Institution(s): NA
Policy AreasAccess to Information, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Open Data, Records Management, Right to Information
Challenges and strategies for registering and preserving digital documentation
produced by public bodies are outlined in the white paper on archiving (Meld. St. 7
(2012-2013)). The basis for public access to such information consists partly of the
public bodies’ systems and routines for registering and preserving digital documents.
The most important measures involve developing joint solutions, standards and rules
for handling of digital documents. In addition, the Norwegian archive authorities
contribute to the development of cooperation on following up these challenges, both
internationally and between Norwegian administrative levels.
Automated and specialized case management systems used by public bodies will
include archive functions that link to documents and associated metadata, and store
these in accordance with approved standards. These functions will ensure
preservation of digital documentation in the short and long term as well as
transparency and freedom of information.
Consideration will also be given to establishing joint solutions for preserving and
making available digital documentation as soon as it is no longer in active
administrative use. This will ensure both continued transparency and public
confidence that such documentation is retained in its authentic form
IRM End of Term Status Summary
10. Registering and preserving digital documentation produced by public bodies
Automated and specialized case management systems used by public bodies will include archive functions that link to documents and associated metadata, and store these in accordance with approved standards. These functions will ensure preservation of digital documentation in the short and long term as well as transparency and freedom of information.
Consideration will also be given to establishing joint solutions for preserving and making available digital documentation as soon as it is no longer in active administrative use. This will ensure both continued transparency and public confidence that such documentation is retained in its authentic form.
KEY IMPACT BENCHMARK
In work on revision of the Archives Act, consideration has been given to the recommendation of the white paper on archiving, Meld. St. 7 (2012-2013), that the creation of archives should be a statutory function of all electronic systems for public documents of archival value. Standards and standardized solutions have been developed within the framework of a broad cooperation between actors in both central government and municipal administration.
Revision of the Archives Act.
Broad cooperation project on archives in e-administration including principles, methods, standards, systems solutions and organizational solutions.
Responsible institution: Ministry of Culture
Supporting institution(s): National Archives of Norway in cooperation with the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi)
Start date: 1 January, 2013 End date: 31 December, 2015
This commitment builds on the recommendations of a parliamentary white paper produced in 2012 on how to improve the quality of government archiving.[Note 60: “Parliamentary White Paper 7 (2012–2013),” Ministry of Culture, accessed September 4, 2016, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/meld-st-7-20122013/id707323/?ch=1&q=.] The commitment specifically aims to improve the functionality of software used by government archivists and the coordination and standardization of archiving practices across government bodies. Improved functionality and archiving practices are also expected to improve public access to government documents.
The Samla Samfunnsdokumentasjon (SAMDOK) project is intended to facilitate coordination among archive institutions on a voluntary basis. The project is widely regarded as a success according to government focal points,[Note 61: Contribution of the Ministry of Justice to Norway’s Self-Assessment, on file with researcher.] though this was not confirmed in interviews or desk research conducted in preparation of this report. Regarding revisions of the Archives Act, the government established a working group to consider adjustments to the regulations.[Note 62: Ibid.] The commitment is considered to be limited in completion since work on this latter component has not progressed towards identifying and implementing revisions.
The IRM researcher interviewed multiple individuals in the Ministry of Culture and National Archives, but was unable to identify additional SAMDOK outcomes corresponding to the second component of this commitment.[Note 63: Helga Hjorth (Senior Adviser, National Archives), interview by Christopher Wilson, email and phone interview, September 9, 2016; Tor Anton Gaarder (Deputy Director, National Archives), interview by Christopher Wilson and Lene Olsen, phone interview, March 18, 2016; and Håvard Bjerke (Senior Adviser, Ministry of Culture), interview by Christopher Wilson, phone interview, September 8, 2016.] Regarding the first component—the revision of the Archives Act—focal points for this commitment reported that a working group had been established, together with the National Archives and other civil society actors, in order to map gaps and needs for revision in the current Archives Act.[Note 64: Ibid. ][Note 65: ”Revisjon av arkivforskriften,” Arkivverket, accessed September 9, 2016, http://www.arkivverket.no/arkivverket/Arkivverket/Om-oss/Aktuelt/Nyhetsarkiv/Revisjon-av-arkivforskriften. ] The Ministry of Culture then requested that the National Archives propose revisions to the Archive Act in early 2016.[Note 66: Documentation on file with researcher.] This proposal has been delivered and is under consideration, though the IRM researcher was not able to contact anyone in the Ministry of Culture or National Archives who was willing to share the proposal under consideration. The course of action and timeline moving forward is unclear. The primary benchmark for this milestone was “consideration.” Consideration has taken place, but since it is unclear whether this consideration included the substantive components described in the commitment, its level of completion is considered to be substantial.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Did not change
The only specific outcomes of this commitment identified by the IRM researcher are the establishment of a working group and the production of a proposal for legal amendments, which is still forthcoming. The IRM researcher considers it reasonable to presume that the small improvements referenced as part of the SAMDOK project, and the coordination and proposals underway to revise the archive acts, promise some positive future impact on archiving practice and, by extension, access to information in Norway. However, the activities underpinning this commitment have not changed access to information.
This commitment has not been carried forward in the Norwegian government’s third national action plan, which is available on the OGP website.[Note 67: ”Norway’s third action plan Open Government Partnership (OGP),” Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, accessed September 4, 2016, http://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Norway_2016-17_NAP.pdf.]