Conclusions from DLM 2008

ACHIEVEMENTS AND NEW DIRECTIONS : CONCLUSIONS OF THE DLM FORUM CONFERENCE 2008 IN TOULOUSE
adopted by the conference participants

  • The successful DLM Forum conference in Toulouse in December 2008, organised in the framework of the French EU presidency, re-affirmed the leading role of the DLM Forum as a platform for multi-disciplinary co-operation on electronic records and archives management in Europe. Since its creation in 1996, the DLM Forum has fostered cooperation between public administration, research, records and information managers and the ICT industry. In recent years it has successfully developed into a partnership bringing together organisations from all sectors that have an interest in electronic records and archives management.
  • The Council Recommendation of November 2005 on closer co-operation between archives in the EU  asked for an update and extension of the Model Requirements for the management of electronic records as one of five priority measures for cooperation between archives in Europe. The DLM Forum adopted an extensive scoping report for the development of MoReq2 and, with support from the European Commission, oversaw the development of MoReq2 as a testable specification for electronic records management systems.
  • In its progress report to the Council of the European Union of August 2008 , the European Archives Group (EAG) encourages the DLM Forum to pursue its work in the field of electronic records and archives management. In particular the EAG recommends that the DLM Forum:
    • maintains a viable governance regime for MoReq2, including notably the montitoring of the translation of MoReq2 into the official languages of the EU and the addition of national chapters zero to take account of the national traditions and legislative framework, as was done in France during the French presidency of the EU;
    • sets up and monitors a European conformance testing and certification regime for MoReq2;
    • continues to promote interdisciplinary co-operation in the area of electronic records and archives management and to hold a members meeting during each EU presidency;
    • continues to organise large DLM Forum conferences once every three years.

The participants at the 5th DLM Forum conference in Toulouse call on the DLM Forum to implement these recommendations and to regularly report on its activities to the European Archives Group. The DLM Forum conference 2008 calls on the European Commission to continue to support the DLM Forum in the accomplishment of these objectives.

  • The DLM Forum welcomes the active participation of the new member states of the EU in the activities of the forum. It takes note of the use of MoReq2 beyond the boundaries of the EU, resulting in translations  and increased interest from abroad, and of the already initiated projects using MoReq2 for electronic records management solutions. The participants of the DLM Forum conference 2008 ask that the DLM Forum continues to broaden its appeal to all interested communities, and that it promotes the use of MoReq2 across Europe and elsewhere in the world.
  • The conference encourages the DLM Forum to look in new directions and notably to:
    • consider issues surrounding the transfer of records from the originating bodies to archival services, in particular by encouraging the use of the MoReq2 XML schema in joint pilot projects for interoperability between records management and archive applications;
    • evaluate the impact of new software technologies on records management and archives systems in practice;
    • provide guidance for developing electronic records management skills and competencies within user communities across Europe;
    • establish strategies for influencing decision-makers to implement ERDMS, notably by carrying out cost-benefit analyses.
    • provide the DLM members a set of practical case studies and concrete solutions.
  • The 2008 DLM Forum conference has brought forth new practical approaches and solutions as well as strategies for the future. The DLM Forum should continue to set the agenda and provide guidance for user oriented solutions and models for best practice with a view to maintaining the trustworthiness and authenticity of the digital knowledge of our society for now and for the future.

A tale of two ERMS specifications

To open the final day of the DLM Forum 2008, Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer delivered a provocative presentation entitled Breaking the barriers of traditional records management.  In this talk Dr. Kampffmeyer spoke of the need to move beyond antiquated ways of thinking about records and records management and engage the technological and cultural revolutions introduced by web 2.0.

Records managers, whom Dr. Kampffmeyer qualified as largely “digital immigrants” have fundamentally different ways of thinking about information than their users.  While records managers love complex metadata, faceted search, hierarchical tree and folder structures, and controlled vocabularies, their “digital native” users love plain text searching, uncomplicated metadata, folksonomies, and “sexy interfaces.”

Dr. Kampffmeyer insisted that evolving to meet the needs of such users did not mean abandoning the fundamental notion that “records” are more than just “information objects.”  Records have specific attributes and values and records management systems must have structures that effectively maintain these attributes.  Dr. Kampffmeyer proposed that, rather than discard current metadata and information lifecycle models, records management should expand on enterprise content management model largely developed and favored by the IT industry.

This, he said, is what MoReq2 does.   With MoReq2, “everything is in its place” to guide the creation ERM systems that combine a complex structure with good software and ergonomic interfaces.  These systems would promote good records management practices while conforming to current user demands for usability.  Dr. Kampffmeyer proposed therefore that the DLM invest in completing the information lifecycle model of MoReq2 by integrating archival principles and processes.  He proposed beginning scoping on MoReq3 2010, and insisted this standard should be disseminated widely, especially amongst private sector actors.

The questions raised in response to Dr. Kampffmeyer’s presentation were as provocative as the talk itself.  Evelyn Wareham (Archives New Zeeland) wondered how specifically Dr. Kampffmeyer proposed to encourage dialog between Records Managers (and archivists) whom he deemed “digital immigrants” and web 2.0 users who are, by and large “digital natives.”  The question underlined doubts that MoReq2 (or any standard for that matter) could serve as the silver bullet, the tool able to bring the records management field forward.

Marc Fresko (Serco Consulting) asked “what is so special about Europe?”  He pushed the group to articulate why Europe (and thus the DLM forum) was really the proper body to produce a worldwide standard for RM and wondered if the Forum should continue to expend limited energy and resources on developing standards that did not integrate Australia, New Zeeland, North America, etc.  Evelyn Wareham added that in conjunction with efforts to develop standards for electronic records management, New Zeeland and Australia have made efforts to influence IT vendors and developers as well.  They have found that engaging these companies in discussion by saying “here is our problem” has been more effective than presenting them with a specification and demanding that they comply.

As Evelyn Wareham pointed out, the funding and structure provided by the European Union is an important source of support for standards development on a European scale—funding that simply does not exist on an international level.  But how to assure that European standards truly are reflective of the international scene?  Dr. Kampffmeyer suggested that MoReq2 would become an international standard because it is free and it is the best.  But whether this opinion is held by all members of the DLM forum and the entirety of the Records Management profession remains to be seen.  As another question from a representative of the European Commission pointed out, the measures currently in place to measure the success of MoReq2 (counting documents distributed) are insufficient.  There is a need to develop a structured impact assessment before assertions can be made about its success on an international level.

The questions raised by Dr. Kampffmeyer’s presentation and especially those regarding the appropriate bodies for producing international standards spoke directly to the work of the International Council on Archives.  Is not the ICA precisely the body where leaders in the field from all continents should come together to develop an information model that is applicable internationally, that treats creation, ingest, records management, archival arrangement, and preservation as stages in a whole?

The ICA recently published its own Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments.  This set of specifications was developed by institutions from Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, France, the United States, and the Cayman Islands.  The document is currently before the ISO TC 46 SC 11 on Archives and Records Management for review.

According to Hans Hofman (Data Archiving and Networked Services, National Archives of the Netherlands) who sits on ISO TC46/SC11, the ICA Principles and Functional Requirements are interesting because they are both international and forward-looking.  They were developed by a group of experts from Europe, Australasia, North Amercia and beyond, and incorporate business applications in their scope.  Mr. Hofman saw the ICA Principles and Functional Requirements as a promising starting point for moving beyond EDRM systems and integrating the web environment and service-oriented architectures.

The ICA Principles and Functional Requirements for Records in Electronic Office Environments, like all ICA projects, is a result of the volunteer efforts of ICA members. For lack of funding, professionals in the ICA network lend their expertise to collaborative projects like those organized through the ICA’s Committee on Standards and Best Practices and the Electronic Records and Automation Priority Area. They recognize that these efforts, though wholly based on the good will of those who participate, are necessary to develop standards that are truly international.

The existence of both MoReq2 and the ICA Principles and Functional Requirements speak to the need for what Hubert Szlaszewski of the European Commission called in his concluding remarks “mechanisms of solidarity” and the need for a stronger professional lobby for archivists and records managers.  They address the needs for new models for information lifecycles and metadata that take into account the changing information landscapes. So how to coordinate these two documents, and the efforts of the two bodies that produced them?  Do they exist in contradiction, or in mutual awareness as DLM president Toivo Jullinen said they should?  And how should archivists and records managers make use of multiple channels of communication (as Seamus Ross advocated in his summarizing remarks) while maintaining a unified voice for the profession?

Interview with Toivo Jullinen, president of the DLM Forum

Interview with Toivo Jullinen What were your goals for this year’s DLM forum in Toulouse?

The main focus of the Forum this year is the release and promotion of MoReq2, the latest iteration      Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records, a set of specifications for electronic records management systems http://www.moreq2.eu/.   These specifications were developed for the DLM forum by Serco Consulting with the support of the European Commission.   Since publishing MoReq2, the DLM has been working to establish a testing regime for identifying software that is MoReq2 compliant.

MoReq2 was developed as a European ERMS specification, but countries outside the European Union have expressed interest in it.  Is becoming an international standard the vision of the project?

MoReq and MoReq2 were developed first with Europe in mind, but have since been adopted internationally.  MoReq2 has been translated into Korean and Russian, and the DLM forum has discussed the possibility of developing training courses for non-European countries in the future.

How does MoReq2 fit into the existing scheme of international standards and recommendations for Electronic Records Management?

The authors and viewers who participated in developing MoReq2 were also active in the development of ISO standards and the ICA functional requirements for electronic records in office environments.  The ISO standards are much more general, as they should be, than MoReq2.  The ICA standard is also more general and incorporates business process and systems that MoReq2 does not cover.  MoReq2 is more technical and detailed than both of these standards, but they should exist in mutual awareness, and not in contradiction of each other.

What is the direction for the DLM Forum in the future?

At the DLM meeting in Lisbon last year a working group was established to examine the relationship between archives and records management, looking specifically at how to transfer the contents of electronic records management systems to archives. The DLM forum is also working to establish a governance body for MoReq2 which will maintain the specifications and deal with vendor and user questions.

Interview de Toivo Jullinen, Président du DLM Forum

Quels étaient les objectifs de la conférence du DLM tenue cette année à Toulouse ?
Cette année nous avons mis l’accent sur la diffusion et la promotion de MoReq2, la dernière version du Modèle de spécifications pour l’archivage électronique, qui propose un ensemble de spécifications pour les systèmes d’archivage électronique (http://moreq2.eu). Ces spécifications ont été développées pour le DLM Forum par Serco Consulting avec le soutien de la Commission européenne. Depuis la publication de Moreq2, le DLM  travaille à l’élaboration d’un système de test pour identifier les logiciels qui répondent aux exigences de Moreq2.

MoReq est une norme européenne pour les systèmes d’archivage électronique, mais des pays qui ne font pas partie de l’Union européenne ont montré leur intérêt pour cette norme. Est-ce que l’objectif du projet est d’en faire une norme internationale?

MoReq et MoReq2 ont d’abord été conçus pour une diffusion européenne, mais ont depuis été adoptés au niveau international. MoReq2 été  traduit en coréen et en russe, et le DLM Forum examine la possibilité de mettre en place des formations pour les pays non européens dans le futur.

Comment MoReq2 s’insère dans le système existant des normes et recommandations  internationales concernant les systèmes d’archivage électronique?
Les auteurs et relecteurs qui ont participé à l’élaboration de MoReq2 ont également été très impliqués dans le développement des normes ISO, et des conditions fonctionnelles pour les archives dans les environnements bureautiques électroniques développées par l’ICA. Les normes ISO sont beaucoup plus générales- et c’est tout à fait normal- que MoReq2. La norme ICA est également plus générale et prend en compte des systèmes de gestion que MoReq2 ne couvre pas. MoReq2 est plus technique et détaillé que ces deux normes, mais elles doivent coexister dans une approche complémentaire et non contradictoire.

What is the direction for the DLM Forum in the future?Quels sont les prochains axes de réflexion pour le DLM Forum?
Lors de la réunion du DLM à Lisbonne l’année dernière, un groupe de travail a été mis en place pour étudier les liens entre les archives et la gestion des documents électroniques, avec un intérêt particulier pour les modalités de transfert des contenus des systèmes d’archivage électroniques vers les services d’archives. Le DLM Forum est également en train de travailler pour établir un comité de pilotage pour MoReq2 qui sera chargé du suivi des spécifications  et traitera des questions avec les vendeurs et les usagers.

Introducing ICA-AtoM

Annick Carteret (International Council on Archives) and Olivier de Solan (Archives Départementales de la Somme/ member of ICA’s Programme Commission) talk to DLM Forum participants about the ICA’s new open souce software package for describing and providing online access to archival collections.

Annick Carteret (Conseil international des Archives) et Olivier de Solan (Archives Départementales de la Somme/membre de la Commission pour le programme de l’ICA) décrit aux participants du DLM Forum le nouveau logiciel de description et d’accès en ligne aux fonds d’archives, développé avec des technologies libres.