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Cadrul legal pentru Evaluare

Cadrul legal pentru Evaluare

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Published by: RA on Jun 14, 2012
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Comma 2002.1-2
 
Proceedings of the XXXVth International Conferenceof the Round Table on ArchivesReykjavik, Iceland, 10-13 October 2001Actes de la XXXVe Conférence internationalede la Table ronde des ArchivesReykjavik, Islande, 10-13 octobre 2001
 
Comma, 2002 - 1/2 -
Claes Gränström 67 
Legal Framework for Appraisal
1
 
Introduction
Legislation is an expression of the principles held most firmly by a state. Differences inlegislation, interpretation, and application are linked to the varied history, legal traditionand experience of each state. The increased exchange of information within a countryand across international boundaries and the proliferation of information technologyprovide a countervailing force in favour of cooperation and standardisation. Legislationrelated to the archival (or as it should be called the cultural) heritage should today beassociated with the management of current/electronic documents. Legislation aboutaccess to documents has become a very important issue in many states and should beclosely linked to legislation about archives/records management. This is expressed in the
Principles for Archives and Current Records Legislation
, produced by the InternationalCouncil on Archives (ICA) Committee on Archival Legal Matters, which were presentedto the ICA at the 1996 Congress in Beijing (printed in
 Janus
1997:1).In Article 11 “Appraisal and destruction” of the
Principles
, it is said that: “Allarchival legislation should define the respective roles of the National Archives and thevarious government departments for the appraisal and destruction of records. Thelegislation should specify the formal responsibilities for appraisal and destruction of records and define one authority as ultimately responsible for these functions. Archivallegislation should unequivocally oblige all bodies creating state records not to destroythem without the consent of the National Archives.”This statement reflects the legislation in many countries. The reasons and thinkingbehind this emanate mainly from conditions in a society where paper was the dominantcarrier of information. Today, we have a different situation. Firstly, there has been adramatic acceleration in the development of information and communication technology(ICT) during recent years which has led to an enormous production of information,which to a great extent consists of records or documents in computerised format.Secondly, there has been a growing demand for access all over the world as aconsequence of the increasingly important concept of openness. It can be said thatlegislative work both on the national level as well as on the international level has inrecent years been focused on access. In this context, appraisal or deletion/destruction of records or documents has not yet received the same attention in legislation as access.
The enormous mass and complex nature of documents
The technology revolution, which has transformed almost every aspect of life, hassimilarly affected government. ICT is changing public expectations of the ease of accessing, duplicating and delivering official documents and other services. We mustrealise that today´s technology will rapidly become obsolete or be altered beyondrecognition within a few years. It is a fact all over the world that public administrationmust make effective use of ICT. Many governments are heading towards what can be
1
I am deeply indebted to Mr. Patrick Cadell, the former Scottish National Archivist, for his valuable adviceand comments.
 
Comma, 2002 - 1/2 -
Claes Gränström 68called electronic government. The result has been an enormous production of documentsin electronic form. It is also a fact that ICT has made many things possible which werenot conceivable only a few years ago. This has led to complexity in the informationcreated. As a consequence, archival institutions have to decide if they are going to coverall new areas of the created information or if they have to refrain from some, such aspharmaceutical, environmental, meteorological, biomedical, genetic .This means that society has to face a new situation regarding the preservation andappraisal/destruction of documents. Besides the very evident factors of the enormousmass and the very complex nature of information in documentary form, we also have toface the question of what appraisal/destruction shall cover. It should cover all officialdocuments emanating from all kinds of agencies regardless of level. It could also beargued that it should cover privatised public functions or bodies which are financed bythe public sector. Here it can be difficult to draw clear borders. Regarding documentscoming from the private sector, the legislator by tradition is much more reluctant tointerfere, even if it is evident that these documents can be of immense value to society.You can see, however, that there are emerging signs that society will interfere even here.Traditionally, there have been regulations about keeping accounts etc. Today, there isalso in the private sector a growing need, partly caused by legislation, to keepdocuments. As an example, you can take the pharmaceutical area, which can be said tobe a very regulated industry. Its information is required to be kept for many decades,through the life of a drug product. The major driver for this is the United States Food andDrug Administration´s new regulation on “Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures”.A key requirement here is that records created electronically must be maintainedelctronically throughout their lifecycle. These conditions (i.e. legal needs) are likely tobe more or less the same in the environmental and chemical industry, the car and aircraftindustry and so on.Of course, there are differences in the public sector, where usually legislationdemands that documents shall also be kept for the sake of researchers and the use of genealogists as a part of the cultural heritage. This kind of legal obligation does not as arule occur in the private sector. The result will be that far more documents from thepublic sector will be kept than from the private sector with obvious consequences.
What is deletion or appraisal?
In the electronic environment, the question of what destruction means must be muchmore discussed. In the paper environment, it is easy to define destruction as thedestruction of the paper with the text. In the electronic environment, this issue has to myknowledge not generally been clearly expressed in legislation. In Sweden as in manycountries the law only says that documents may be disposed of. The National Archiveshas defined destruction in its own regulations:“Destruction: destruction of official documents and information in officialdocumentsDestruction of documents / information in connection with transmission to anotherdata carrier is disposal if the transmission means
loss of information
loss of possible combinations of information
loss of searching possibilities and
loss of possibilities to the authenticity of information.”These rules in Sweden – applicable only in the state sector and not in the independentmunicipal/local government sector – follow from the obligations laid down in theFreedom of the Press Act. The main reason for them is that the public should continue tohave access to certain information, kept by agencies in uncorrupted form, regardless of the medium in which the information is stored. If public access to documents were notassured to this extent in an electronic environment, where information is easier to access,

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