20020925 \  Artikel \  Document Lifecycle Management for the European Public Sector
Document Lifecycle Management for the European Public Sector
Keynotevortrag von Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer, Geschäftsführer der PROJECT CONSULT Unternehmensberatung, Mitglied des Board of Directors der AIIM International und Vorsitzender des DLM-Forum Scientific Committee der DLM-Forum Konferenz Barcelona 2002, Teil 1. Teil 2 und 3 werden in den kommenden Ausgaben des PROJECT CONSULT Newsletter veröffentlicht.
Abstract
The use of electronic information, document, and records management technologies have become an essential component for archives and administrations of the European public sector institutions. The extensive growth of digital information and the problems of long-term access, preservation and availability create an increasing need for professional solutions. To address the larger scope of the DLM initiative the original acronym was newly defined as DLM Document Lifecycle Management. The global association of vendors and users of these technologies, AIIM International, has provided a set of six white papers to the DLM community presenting best practice solutions. An overview about the challenges, trends and changing markets for document related technologies closes this contribution.
Contents
Introduction
Drowned by the Digital Flood
 The “Traditional” Problem
 The “New” Problem
 The new Quality of Electronic Documents
 A Challenge: Open Access
 A Babel of Acronyms
 The DLM Acronym
Best Practice
 Capture, Indexing and Auto-Categorisation
 Conversion and Document Formats
 Content Management
 Access and Protection
 Availability and Preservation
 Education, Training and Operation
Challenges
 Consolidation
 Standards
 Redundancy
 Co-Ordination
 Co-Operation
 A Mission ?
Introduction
The second DLM-Forum on Electronic Records in Brussels 1999 summarized in its conclusions (INSAR, Proceedings of the DLM-Forum on electronic records, Brussels 18.-19. October 1999, p. 333, 339; European Communities 2000) the urgent need for practical solutions facing the problems of public archives in Europe. Although there have been tremendous improvements on both sides, available technologies and organizational implementations in numerous archives, the growing volume of digital information created an even greater demand than stated at the DLM-Forum 1999 (Ulrich Kampffmeyer, “Electronic Documents Management Market in Europe: Technologies and Solutions”, INSAR, Proceedings of the DLM-Forum on Electronic Records, Brussels 18.-19. October 1999, p. 50-65; European Communities 2000). The third DLM-Forum on Electronic Records in Barcelona 2002 was to address these challenges.
Drowned by the Digital Flood
The tasks of archivists, records managers, information managers and other related staff in public administrations today include a growing variety of management and organisational issues to qualify, organise, store, manage, protect, provide access and deliver information in electronic archives. The “Digital Flood” adds to the original tasks of public archives and increases the pressure to develop suitable solutions.
The “Traditional” Problem
The traditional problems were focussed on the management of paper and other physical objects in archives and how to transfer them in digital systems.
   
 ·
Kilometers of paper documents 
The huge amount of paper documents alone, in some archives reaching kilometres of shelves, millions of documents and billions of pages, creates a barrier for digitisation.
 ·
Fragile, fading consistence 
Especially in historic archives the consistence of paper, not only from historical periods but as well the late modern paper, demands for urgent initiatives for preserving the records physically.
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Capture 
Both, the huge amounts of documents and their fading consistence create problems for digital capture with cameras or scanners. Providing documents electronically can be part of a strategy to enable access without endangering the fragile original documents.
 ·
Ordering systems and indexing 
Indexing is the access key to documents. The depth and structure defines if a document can be easily retrieved or not. Different needs from archive specialists and future non-specialist users create difficulties in organizing electronic archives.
 ·
Quality 
Capturing paper documents electronically, especially using high resolution and colour, create huge volumes of storage. Selecting appropriate formats for long-term archival and preservation is a challenge in the rapidly changing information technology market.
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Access 
Providing access to specialists on-site in a local archive system environment is the easy part. Allowing access to other archivists at other locations, to third parties and to the citizen is both a challenge for user rights administration and high performance delivery of requested information.
 ·
Funds 
Politicians proclaimed open access to public archives. The necessary funds for installing and running systems, capturing and indexing the information, and managing the content are mostly not sufficient. Claim and reality may differ extremely.
 ·
Awareness about the value of information 
One of the largest tasks is to communicate the value of the content stored in archives. If the stored information is not used and the value is not recognized, the work of transferring all archives into electronically accessible records management solutions is not worth the effort.
The “New” Problem
Besides the “traditional” problem of converting paper into electronic records a new challenge has arisen by the increasing amount of digital information. Most documents today are created electronically with text processors, spreadsheets, business applications, graphic and construction design programmes, digital cameras and video.
   
 ·
Exponentially growing volumes of digital information 
The increase of digital information can be no longer measured. Industry analysts assume that per year today more information is created than in all the years since Gutenbergs invention. Software makes it easy to edit, copy, alter, store, distribute and print information. So not only the digital flood flows higher but as well the output of paper swells.
 ·
Digital “only” information with no physical representation 
There is an increasing amount of electronic information generated which is no longer designed to have a physical representation in paper. XML documents with separated content, structure and layout elements, which are generated dynamically when viewing them; digital video, multi-dimensional construction and simulation objects, electronically signed documents where the electronic signature can be only approved in a software system. The list of these electronic objects grows and creates problems for long-term availability in changing software and hardware infrastructures.
 ·
The “information gap” 
We already face today a widening information gap. Once existing information is no longer available. From simple websites disappearing from the internet to valuable information of space expeditions on no longer readable tapes, the spectrum and the value of lost information cannot even be estimated. We have to start immediately with the creation of electronic archives for the preservation of the earlier periods of the of the information age.
 ·
The “information divide” 
On the other hand we recognize a growing divide in those who can easily access any needed information and those who strive for pure survival without any connection to the virtual information world. We face today simultaneously an “information overflow” and an “information divide”. Both create risks for the information society.
 ·
Information redundancy 
One of the big problems of the digital flood is that most of the information are copies, slightly altered documents, and reformatted content. The new tasks for information and records managers include to discover, what was the original document, what was its context, and to select information, which may be valuable for future generations. Storing everything without selection and detention cannot be the strategy.
 ·
Commercialisation 
In the early days of information technology digital information was private and only accessible in closed communities like company or administrations. The age of free information on the web is getting to an end. Valuable information has to be paid. Digital rights management, privacy, media asset management and other E-business software requirements add to the technological challenge for public archives. How to protect open public information from commercial re-use?
The new Quality of Electronic Documents
As already discussed above the fast developing software and telecommunications industry not only provides solutions but as well new problems.
   
 ·
Any format from data to digital video or complex virtual containers 
An electronic document in the 80ies was an easy to manage object: an ASCII-data file, a scanned black/white image as TIFF. Today a document can be anything in a software system: a video stream, a container combining different files, a file containing references on other files in different systems, complex proprietary digital objects, a.s.o. There is no unique format for every type of information available which could be used for long-term digital preservation, thinking in decades and centuries.
 ·
Different renditions 
Information today is provided in different renditions, the same content in different file and object formats. Decisions have to be made, what is the original, and which rendition should be stored. Due to the fact that electronic originals are often created with software with a short-term lifecycle, renditions of stable representation formats may be more suitable for long-term preservation.
 ·
Separation into content, metadata and structure information 
Especially in enterprise content, media asset and web content management solutions with the use of HTML and XML we recognize a separation of the content information from context, structure and layout. The same information is used for different purposes and representations. This leads to the challenge, which form of a representation to store and archive if the original software environment is not available.
 ·
Digital signature and time stamps 
Todays electronic signature solutions provide both, a solution and a problem. The solution is that the author of a document can be authenticated and that the unchanged content of the document is proven. On the other hand personal electronic signatures “live” only for a certain period and can be only verified in a given software environment. Time stamps, nowadays available as well as certified electronic signature, can be used in addition to personal electronic signatures. By this combination of the authenticity of a document and its originator, together with the certified time when it was generated, a legally valid electronic record can be created.
 ·
Digital Rights Management 
Today digital rights management regulations and solutions add to the complexity of archiving electronic documents. They are on one hand a solution to protect copyrights and authorship rights, to trade assets and to prove original content. On the other hand, the management of digital rights of different origin and different technical implementation create challenges for providing open access to electronic archives.
A Challenge: Open Access
One of the goal of all projects for the implementation of electronic archive, document, asset, and records management systems in the public sector, is to allow open access to the citizen.
   
 ·
Political mission 
The political directive is clear – open public archives to provide transparency. Initiatives on the European level like eEurope 2002 or on the national level like Bund Online 2005 are to provide digital services to the citizen. Most of these initiatives focus on E-government. To allow open access to archives is often only a sub-topic.
 ·
Democratic user access 
The mission, to allow every citizen access to public archives via electronic means, ignores one important question: is there a demand, a need or an interest of “the” citizen to access information in public archives ? And if yes, to what kind of information ?
 ·
Professional users and private users 
In the past archives were administered and used by records and information specialists only. Written demands, personal visits were the way to access information by third parties. In the future archives have to be able to serve different needs. Those of the specialists and historians as well those of journalists, companies and citizens.
 ·
Rights protection 
These new user groups lead to the necessity to install systems which allow open access but on the other hand protect information if it is classified, personal rights are involved or time of publication restrictions apply. In the past the archivist or records manager could handle this individually, in the future intelligent software has to have the same ability.
 ·
Easy use 
Most of the records and document management software was designed for use by professionals in private or public administrations. User interfaces, navigation, and retrieval functions require deep knowledge about the functionality and organisation of the system. To allow access for the citizen easy-to-use interfaces have to be developed, not only for web access but in the future possibly as well for home television systems, mobile devices, and other technologies. And it makes no sense if every public archive develops its own propriety interface!
 ·
Availability 
The success of any open public archive will depend on the availability of information. Nice interfaces and comfortable navigation will lead to nothing, if the content is not prepared in a way that untrained users will find what they are looking for. And to launch an electronic archive with only a few documents already available is a “good way” to make every potential user never use it again.
 ·
Cultural dimensions 
When discussing open access to public archives on an European level, we have to take into consideration the different information cultures in the member states. A general approach, which information should be provided by which technologies, seems not to be successful. The use of information technologies, especially in regard to the new applicant states, is very different in Europe.
 ·
Language barriers 
Europe is a community of many languages. Language is a barrier in regard to information access. In regard to cross-language access to information, thesauri and automated translation technologies still have to be developed further. The goal to allow access to information independently from the language in which it was generated is still a vision and a major challenge. The European Commission and the European community have to face this challenge and have to provide suitable solutions.
 ·
Time and budgets 
Given all these challenges and unsolved problems, all claims and programmes fall short today, both in regard to published time frames as well in regard to provided funds. Funding lots of different initiatives and single projects do not lead forward.
A Babel of Acronyms
The challenges cannot met by archivists, records managers, administrations and public institutions on their own. The ITC information and telecommunication industry has to supply suitable solutions. In the past the public sector was not regarded as a strong key market: complicated tenders, low rates and budgets, bureaucracy, few chances for organisational change. This has changed significantly in the last three years. Today the public sector is regarded as one of the drivers for the development of the DRT document related technologies market. But still there is a lack of suitable, repeatable and affordable solutions to address the needs of long-term archival.
Today it is no easy job to find a suitable solution for the problems of the DLM-community. The ITC industry adds to this on her own with creating new acronyms and marketing slogans for slightly different solutions every year. Shall we look for
   
 ·
 CLM Content Lifecycle Management ?
 ·
DLM Document Lifecycle Management ?
 ·
DM Document Management ?
 ·
DRT Document Related Technologies ?
 ·
ECM Enterprise Content Management ?
 ·
EDM Electronic Document Management ?
 ·
EIP Enterprise Information Portals ?
 ·
  Electronic Archival ?
 ·
KM Knowledge Management ?
 ·
MAM Media Asset Management ?
 ·
RM Records Management ?
 ·
xyz next year ?
All of these slightly different categories contain valuable components for the solutions needed by public sector archives. Considering the gigantic tasks of transforming existing archives into electronic repositories and managing the digital flood we need suitable solutions now. We need no individual solutions but standardised systems which fulfill the specific needs of public archives at least by a 80:20 ratio. These solutions must be accessible via web interfaces, support multilingual cross-over retrieval, use automated classification to support indexing of large volumes, and provide formats and storage systems for constant migration and long-term preservation. Vendors always claimed, the needs of archivists and records managers are too specific, that there is no chance to create standardised systems, the market for these solutions seemed too small. Today these functionalities are as well required by every large private business and international organisation. This trend will increase the market offer of suitable solutions for public sector electronic archives.
The DLM Acronym
As well the DLM community identifies by an own acronym. When created in 1996 DLM was used for “Données Lisibles par Machine”. Today the ICT industry uses the DLM acronym for Document Lifecycle Management. To adopt to the wider tasks, scope and challenges, the DLM community changed the meaning of the acronym respectively. Machine readable data are only a small part of the solutions necessary to provide the memory of the information society. DLM now stands for managing the lifecycle of information from generation and use to long-term availability and preservation.
Der Beitrag wird mit Teil 2 “Best Practice” im kommenden PROJECT CONSULT Newsletter 20021021Newsletter 20021021 fortgesetzt.
 
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