Building Record-Keeping Systems: Archivists Are Not Alone on the Wild Frontier

  • Margaret Hedstrom


Recent research on electronic records has produced proposals and models for adding functionality and procedural controls to information systems so that systems can protect the authenticity and integrity of records. This article reviews several electronic records management projects led by archivists and then explores recent developments in network security and authentication based on research outside the archival community. Focusing primarily on the development of "trusted systems" to support electronic commerce and digital publishing, the article evaluates alternative methodologies which offer partial solutions to electronic record-keeping concerns. It suggests ways in which methodologies for trusted systems are compatible with archival objectives, but also raises concerns about long-term preservation and accessibility.


Des recherches récentes dans le domaine des documents électroniques ont mis de l'avant des propositions et établi des modèles en vue d'inclure des fonctions et des procédures de contrôle de l'information au sein de systèmes informatiques pour s'assurer de l'authenticité et de l'intégrité des documents. Cet article passe en revue plusieurs projets de gestion des documents informatiques menés par des archivistes et examine ensuite des progrès récents en matière de sécurité des réseaux et d'authentification sur la base des recherches réalisées à l'extérieur de la communauté archivistique. Mettant l'accent principalement sur le développement de « systèmes sécurisés » (trusted systems) destinés à soutenir le commerce électronique et la publication numérique, l'article évalue diverses méthodologies alternatives offrant des solutions partielles aux préoccupations en matière de gestion des documents informatiques. Il montre en quoi les méthodologies employées pour le développement de systèmes sécurisés sont compatibles avec les objectifs archivistiques et soulève certaines préoccupations en matière de préservation et d'accessibilité à long terme.

Author Biography

Margaret Hedstrom
Margaret Hedstrom is an Associate Professor at the School of Information, University of Michigan, where she teaches in the areas of archives, electronic records management, and digital preservation. Before joining the faculty at Michigan in 1995, she worked for ten years at the New York State Archives and Records Administration where she was Chief of State Records Advisory Services and Director of the Center for Electronic Records. She has published widely on many aspects of archival management and electronic records and is currently writing a book on digital preservation. Her current research interests include digital preservation strategies, the impact of electronic communications on organizational memory and documentation, and remote access to archival material. She is a fellow of the Society of American Archivists and was the first recipient of the annual Award for Excellence in New York State Government Information Services.
How to Cite
Hedstrom, Margaret. 1997. “Building Record-Keeping Systems: Archivists Are Not Alone on the Wild Frontier”. Archivaria 44 (February), 44-71.