Archival Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3–4, pp 253–276 | Cite as

The trust continuum in the information age: a Canadian perspective

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper examines the role of trust in the information continuum. It argues that in the context of Canadian federal government records, an analogous ‘trust continuum’ is a useful model for analysing the relationships that exist between creator, archives and user in the information-abundant environment. The paper borrows from sociological theory to posit that creator, archives and user are bound together in a complex expert system that facilitates trust and mitigates risk in a broad societal context and contends that these interactions are shaped at the macro level by a dominant public discourse of accountability. These points are illustrated through three recent examples at Library and Archives Canada. First, the relationship between Canadian society and the archives is explored by interrogating the concept of relevance and assessing the feasibility of managing a pan-Canadian collection via a national network of knowledge institutions. Then, the role of trust between the archives and the creator in the management of government digital information resources is examined in light of the recently issued Directive on Recordkeeping, and in the context of LAC’s Trusted Digital Repository. Finally, Commissions of Inquiry—and the Indian Specific Claims Commission in particular—demonstrate both the power of archival records in repairing trust between a society and its government and the iterative nature of the relationship between the user and the archives.

Keywords

Trust Accountability Commissions of inquiry Trusted digital repository Recordkeeping Continuum 

References

  1. Acland G (1992) Managing the record rather than the relic. Archives and Manuscripts 20:57–63Google Scholar
  2. Booms H (1987) Society and the formation of a documentary heritage: issues in the appraisal of archival sources. Archivaria 24:69–107Google Scholar
  3. Booms H (1991–1992) Uberlieferungsbildung: keeping archives as a social and political activity. Archivaria 33:26–33Google Scholar
  4. Brown R (1991–1992) Records acquisition strategy and its theoretical foundation: the case for a concept of archival hermeneutics. Archivaria 33:34–56Google Scholar
  5. Burton A (2005) Archive Stories: facts, fictions, and the writing of history. Duke University Press, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  6. Butler B (2009) “Othering” the archive—from exile to inclusion and heritage dignity: the case of Palestinian archival memory. Arch Sci 9:57–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caswell M (2010) Khmer Rouge archives: accountability, truth, and memory in Cambodia. Arch Sci 10:25–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Commissioner on Indian Claims (1977) A report: statements and submissions. Supply and Services Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  9. Cook T (1994) Electronic records, paper minds: the revolution in information management and archives in the post-custodial and post-modernist era. Archives and Manuscripts 22:300–329Google Scholar
  10. Cook T (2002) The “English Report” and archives: a critical appreciation. Archivaria 53:115–121Google Scholar
  11. Cook T (2005) Macroappraisal in theory and practice: origins, characteristics and implementation in Canada, 1950–2000. Arch Sci 5:101–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Floridi L (2009) The information society and its philosophy: introduction to the Special Issue on The Philosophy of Information, Its Nature and Future Developments. The Information Society: ABN International Journal 25(3):153–158Google Scholar
  13. Free C (2008) Walking the talk? Supply chain accounting and trust among UK supermarkets and suppliers. Account, Organizations and Society 33:629–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Giddens A (1990) The consequences of modernity. Stanford University Press, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  15. Government of Canada (2003) Management accountability framework. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/maf-crg/index-eng.asp. Accessed 12 Oct 2010
  16. Government of Canada (2007) Policy on information management. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?section=text&id=12742 Accessed Oct 2010
  17. Government of Canada (2009) Directive on Recordkeeping. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?section=text&id=16552. Accessed 17 Oct 2010
  18. Guha R (1982) Subaltern studies I: writings on south asian history and society. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Harris V (2007) Archives and society: a South African perspective. Society of American Archivists, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  20. Hazell R, Worthy B (2010) Assessing the performance of freedom of information. Gov Inf Q 27:352–359. doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2010.03.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hedstrom M (1997) Building record-keeping systems: archivists are not alone on the wild frontier. Archivaria 44:44–71Google Scholar
  22. Henderson G (1967) Federal Royal Commissions in Canada, 1867–1966: a checklist. University of Toronto Press, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  23. Indian Specific Claims Commission final report, 1991–2009 (2009) Minister of Public Works and Government Services, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  24. Jenkinson H (1968) A manual of archive administration, 2nd revised edn. P. Lund Humphries and Co., LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) (2000) Digital preservation policy. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/digital-initiatives/012018-2000-e.html. Accessed 12 Oct 2010
  26. Lynch C (2000) Authenticity and integrity in the digital environment: an exploratory analysis of the central role of trust. In: Authenticity in a Digital Environment. Council on Library and Information Resources, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  27. MacNeil H (2000) Providing grounds for trust: developing conceptual requirements for the long-term preservation of authentic electronic records. Archivaria 50:52–78Google Scholar
  28. Maliniemi K (2009) Public records and minorities: problems and possibilities for Sámi and Kven. Arch Sci 9:15–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McKemmish S (1994) Are records ever actual? In: McKemmish S, Piggott M (eds) The Records Continuum: Ian Maclean and Australian Archives’ First Fifty Years. Ancora Press in association with Australian Archives, Clayton, pp 187–203Google Scholar
  30. Millar L (1999) The spirit of total archives: seeking a sustainable archival system. Archivaria 47:46–65Google Scholar
  31. Millar L (2006) An obligation of trust: speculations on accountability and description. Am Arch 69:60–78Google Scholar
  32. Minister of Indian Affairs, Northern Development (1969) Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy. Queen’s Printer, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  33. Morrison J (1979) Archives and native claims. Archivaria 9:15–32Google Scholar
  34. Nannelli E (2009) Memory, records, history: the records of the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste. Arch Sci 9:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. OCLC-National Archives and Records Administration (2007) Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist (TRAC) Ver 1.0. Center for Research Libraries, Chicago, IL. http://www.crl.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/pages/trac_0.pdf. Accessed 21 March 2011
  36. Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS) (2002) Reference model. NASA, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  37. Pylypchuk MA (1991–1992) A documentary approach to aboriginal archives. Archivaria 33:117-124Google Scholar
  38. Rosenberg WG (2001) Politics in the (Russian) archives: the “Objectivity Question”, trust, and the limitations of law. Am Archiv 64:78–95Google Scholar
  39. Schellenberg TR (1956) Modern archives: principles and techniques. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  40. Speck J (2010) Protecting the public trust: an archival wake-up call. J Archival Org 8:31–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stoler AL (2009) Along the Archival Grain: epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  42. Taylor H (2003) Towards the new archivist: the integrated professional. In: Cook T, Dodds G (eds) Imagining archives: essays and reflections by Hugh A. Taylor. Society of American Archivists, Association of Canadian Archivists, and Scarecrow Press, Lanham and Oxford, pp 149–161 (first delivered at the Association of Canadian Archivists Conference, June 1988)Google Scholar
  43. Thomas PG (2010) Advancing access to information principles through performance management mechanisms: the case of Canada. The World Bank, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  44. Upward F (1996) Structuring the records continuum. Part One: post-custodial principles and properties. Archives and Manuscripts 24:268–285Google Scholar
  45. Upward F (1997) Structuring the records continuum. Part Two: Structuration Theory and recordkeeping. Archives and Manuscripts 25:10–35Google Scholar
  46. Wareham E (2001) Our own identity, our own taonga, our own self coming back: indigenous voices in New Zealand record-keeping. Archivaria 52:26–46Google Scholar
  47. Washbrook D (1999) Orients and occidents: colonial discourse theory and the historiography of the British Empire. In: Winks RW (ed) The Oxford history of the British Empire, vol. v: historiography. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 596–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Whalen J (1990) Records of Federal Royal Commissions. National Archives of Canada, Government Archives Division. General Inventory Series: RG33, vol 2. Minister of Supply and Services Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Library and Archives CanadaGatineauCanada

Personalised recommendations