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Sistemul Informatic Integrat la Ministerul de Externe din Finlanda

Sistemul Informatic Integrat la Ministerul de Externe din Finlanda

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Published by RA

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Published by: RA on Jun 14, 2012
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Martti Favorin
 Director of Information Management, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland 
1. The Background
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland was established in 1918, a year after the declaration of independence. In records management the ministry followedthe traditional system inherited from Sweden centuries ago. Its main principleswere small files containing the records of only one separate issue as well aschronological registration of the records and files. However, this system -functional as it was in other administrative branches - did not meet the demandsof the foreign service.In the mid-1920s a new system wasadopted from the Danish Foreign Ministryin Copenhagen, which on the other handhad taken it from Vienna in the 18thcentury. Files containing small issues werereplaced by “dossiers” - i.e. big entitiescovering larger themes. (e.g. relations between Finland and Russia). Yet, theDanish system was partly misunderstood,and the dossiers were divided - whenever  possible - into files. The result was better than its model.The pattern of this records managementsystem lasted 80 years and many of itsfeatures have survived the digital time. Its basic features are very simple just as theyare in any good records managementsystem.The starting point is the circular definition of three basic terms:1.
a record 
is a trace of the activities of an organisation2.
an archives
is composed of the records of an organisation
has the archives of its own
These are the stipulations of the Finnish legislation.According to the second basic principle the mastering of the records, files andthe whole archives is done only by means1. of the filing system which determines the place of the records in the archives,and2. of registration of the records and files.In the organisation there were four activitiesseparated from each other:1. Preparing of the document in the ministryor the embassies2. The communication centre for thedistribution of the documents and the mailoffice for sending them by usual or diplomatic mail3. Registration of the documents in differentcatalogues and card indexes whichdetermined the place of the document in thearchives4. Filing of the documents.
2. From paper to data communication
The data communication network was introduced to the Finnish foreign servicein 1988, but it was not until the year 1995 when the idea to integrate all thosefour activities arose. The technical prerequisites of the new systems were:
891.The network of the Foreignservice covers the ministry andthe embassies including thehomes of the officials in Finlandand abroad and even goodconnections to the interestorganisations and groups.2.In the ministry and the missionsevery official has access to- the internet- the intranet of theMFA- official documentdatabases.3.Official and unofficial e-mailtraffic are kept strictly separated
3. The Integrated Information System
The integrated information system will be composed of three sections. The firsttwo are already in function and the third one is under development:
The office system
in use from June 1996 consists of 1. drawing up a document2.automatic distribution of the document3.automatic recording of the document in one of the text databases.
 Intranet of the MFA
in use from April 1999 serves officials with1.general internal information and news2.routine administrative issues3.an updated administrative handbook consisting statutes, decrees andrecommended methods4.ready-made forms and transparencies5.links to outside www-sites and internal databases.

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