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Proceedings of the DLM-Forum

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The Proceedings of the DLM-Forum on electronic records are now also available in
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Preface by Eric Ketelaar and Hans Hofmann

The first multidisciplinary European DLM-Forum (DLM-Forum '96) on electronic records which took place in Brussels between the 18 and 20 December 1996 was a major event in the investigation of possibilities for wider cooperation in this area both between Member States and at Community level. It was initiated by the experts' reportArchives in the European Union (1). and confirmed by the EU Council Conclusions of June 1994 (2). Organized by the European Commission in close cooperation with the EU Member States it hosted more than 300 experts and decision-makers from public administration, archives, industry (hard- and software suppliers) and research. The multidisciplinary approach and the aim to publish guidelines on machine-read-able data as a concrete result, as well as the high quality of the presentations, were the attractions that turned this inaugural event into a European forum of international interest in the field of electronic records administration and storage. Participants came from all the EU Member States, from other European countries (including the Russian Federation and Poland), as well as from Canada and the USA. The first reviews that have been published by specialized journals are unanimously enthusiastic. The forum's success owed a lot to the programme committee's preparations and should also be attributed to the undivided and continuous support of the Irish and Dutch presidencies of the EU Council.

The forum was opened by the Secretary-General of the European Commission, David Williamson, (pp. 12-13) who emphasized that archives, including more and more electronic documents, are our collective memory and how important it is to retain that memory and to insure that it remains accessible in the future. In their keynote addresses (pp. 12ff) the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Science, Research and Development, Hendrik Tent, and the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union, H.E. Ambassador Denis O'Leary, laid out the political and tech-nical framework of the DLM-Forum '96. Mr Tent described the importance of the forum with respect to innovation in the digital era and the Commission's approach towards this challenge. Mr O'Leary stressed the role of archives in our society and the citizens' right of access to information. In his closing speech the Head of Commissioner Bangemann's Cabinet, Paul Weissenberg, pointed to the impor-tance of electronic archives in the European Union's concept of the information society as set out in the Bangemann report and subsequent documents. He stressed the necessity of concrete measures as an immediate follow-up to the DLM-Forum.

The `life cycle' concept of electronic records guided the three parallel sessions. Thus the speakers in those sessions reflected on electronic documents in the different phases of their administrative life. The multitude of topics ranged from discussions of norms and standards for data interchange to the presentation of new electronic storage material. Surveys on the `state of the art' in Europe completed this first interdisciplinary approach to retaining the collective memory of the information society. It was the balance between working sessions and spontaneous and informal discussions outside those sessions that produced a most agreeable working atmosphere in which experts' debates led to the kind of mutual understanding and the establishment of personal ties and relations needed to solve problems that concern all the disciplines represented at the forum. Thus the catalyst effect, which was hoped for, was achieved: experts from industry and research became sensitive to the concerns of archives and administrations.

The forum will lead, as foreseen, to amendments to the first draft of the multidisciplinary guidelines `Best practices for using machine-readable data' which had been distributed to the participants (3). Furthermore, a document for follow-up measures, the so-called `10 points', (pp. 353ff) was agreed on by the participants. One major topic for follow-up activities is the establishment of national focal points to improve coordination and networking and to establish functional requirements for electronic records management in the public and private sectors. Another topic concerns the need to establish training programmes for archivists and administrators.

In a world of continuous and rapid change, modern archives' services are an element of continuity, stability and a solid base for essential information and indispensable records. Modern archives' management in public and private institutions has to be dynamic, active and innovative, and above all has to cover the entire continuum of the life of documents. `The DLM-Forum '96 demonstrated that the issues posed by the preservation and re-use of electronic records are central not only to the work of archivists, but also form the cornerstone of future economic growth and development within the European Union,' as Seamus Ross points out in his presentation (pp. 330ff). In short, the problem of preserving electronic records concerns even more people and areas than have been covered by the forum's participants. Further activities should include, among others, legal advisers, system designers and application developers, auditors and insurance providers. Contacts with existing working groups (e.g. the European Commission's Legal Advisory Board for the information market) have to be established or intensified. A first step to coordinate these activities was the setting up of the DLM-Monitoring Committee in April 1997.

This preface is signed by the two co-chairpersons of the plenary closing session of the DLM-Forum in order to underline the continuing active cooperation between the EU Member States (represented by the National Archives of the Netherlands in the framework of the Dutch presidency of the EU Council) and the European Commission. The present volume of proceedings shall fulfil the purpose of informing those who could not participate in the DLM-Forum '96, to remind those who did participate and to stimulate further action in this field. Thus the multidisciplinary approach will be consolidated and further encouraged.


General State Archivist
of the Netherlands
Head of the Historical Archives
of the European Commission

(1) Archives in the European Union. Report of the Group of Experts on the Coordination of Archives. Brussels-Luxembourg: OPOCE 1994.

(2) OJ C 235/3, 23.8.1994. on electronic records

(3) It is envisaged to publish the updated version of the guidelines as Supplement III of INSAR.

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Table of contents


Programme- and organization committees

Presentation of European Commission projects and programmes on electronic records

Keynote addresses

David F. Williamson 
Secretary-General of the European Commission

Hendrik Tent
Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Science, Research and Development

Denis O'Leary
Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union

Paul Weissenberg
Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Bangemann

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Plenary opening session – 18 December 1996

Johan Hofman (The Netherlands)
Multidisciplinary aspects of electronic documents, concept of electronic documents life cycle, characteristics and links with information flow/workflow

Claes Gränström (Sweden)
Relationship between creators, users and custodians of information

David Lipman (European Commission)
Presentation of the parallel sessions and the results expected

Parallel sessions – 19 December 1996

Parallel session No 1: Conception, creation and management of electronic documents

Stream 1/1: concept of a strategy for electronic documents management: life cycle concept

Maria Guercio and Stefano Pigliapoco (Italy) 
Identification and control of documentary and business procedures: an integrated model for accountability and transparency in the public sector. A case study from the University of Macerata

Peter Horsman (The Netherlands)
A knowledge-based electronic record-keeping system

Luciana Duranti (Canada)
The preservation of the integrity of electronic records

Stream 1/2: responsibility for electronic documents management and transfer of responsibilities

Ian Macfarlane (United Kingdom)
Responsibilities and transfer of responsibilities in the electronic records life cycle

Regula Nebiker Toebak (Switzerland)
The strategy of the Swiss Federal Archive (BAR): influencing events prior to archiving

Elisabeth A. G. van den Bent (The Netherlands)
Rotterdam's activities concerning the development of an electronic records policy

Dan Tørning (Denmark)
Handling of the electronic records issue and cooperation with public administration.
Experience of the Danish National Archives

David V. Bowen (United Kingdom) 
Practical issues in implementing a central electronic archive

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Stream 1/3: evaluation and appraisal of electronic documents

Alan A. Andolsen (United States of America) 
Digital retention evaluation methodology

David O. Stephens (United States of America) 
At the end of the life cycle: electronic records retention

Montserrat Canela, Isabel Campos, Joan Domingo and Jordi Serra (Spain) 
The appraisal process as a way to integrate the archival point of view in the planning, creation and use of electronic records and automated systems. A case study

Alan Murdock (United Kingdom) Roles and responsibilities in managing an electronic archive

Stream 1/4: cooperation across boundaries: requirements and action

Andreas Engel (Germany) 
Management and treatment of electronic documents:

experience of the information network Berlin-Bonn

José M. Martínez, Luis López, José R. Hilera, José A. Gutiérrez (Spain) 
Conditions required for integrated information systems: 
SIDIM European project for local authorities

Nancy Y. McGovern (Hungary) 
Open Society Archives: developing an integrated electronic records strategy

Parallel session No 2: short- and long-term preservation, integrity and evident value

Stream 2/1: definition of needs for long-term preservation

Michèle Conchon (France) 
Processing and conservation of computer archives in France: the Constance method

Huib Vissers (The Netherlands) 
The Dutch touch: overview of the digital longevity programme in the Netherlands

P.K. Doorn and H.D. Tjalsma (The Netherlands) 
Historical data archives: preserving and documenting historical data

Kenneth Thibodeau (United States of America) 
Boundaries and transformations: an object-oriented strategy for the preservation of electronic records

Stream 2/2: cost of preservation: who pays?
Effective management and infrastructure for electronic documents management

Philip W. Lord (United Kingdom) 
Strategies and tactics for managing electronic data records: a view from the pharmaceutical industry

Ulf Andersson (Sweden) 
Short version of the Sesam report. 
Philosophy and rules concerning electronic archives and authenticity

Michael Wettengel (Germany) 
Technical infrastructure for the archiving of digital databases: requirements and procedures

Gudrun Fiedler (Germany) 
Effective management of electronic records, taking the example of the German Land of Lower Saxony. Constructing a practical, cheap infrastructure

Jean-José Wanegue (France) 
Century-disc : a new archiving technology based on compact disc and digital-versatile-disc

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Stream 2/3: norms and standards for preservation

Kenneth Tombs (United Kingdom) 
Governmental, industry and user perspectives of achieving standard storage mechanisms for long-term archival activities

Philippe Le Cerf, Lieven de Bremme and Rudy Schockaert (Belgium) 
Standards for electronic document management

Stream 2/4: cooperation Europe-wide and on an interdisciplinary level: possibilities for action

Jacobus Doggen (Office for Official Publications of the European Communities) 
The electronic archives of the Publications Office

Ken Hannigan (Ireland) 
A summary on electronic records management in the EU Member States: relations between 
public administrations and archives services

Michael Vasilievich Larin (Russian Federation) 
Electronic documents and archives: the situation in the Russian Federation

Parallel session No 3: information access and use

Stream 3/1: dissemination and accessibility (local and remote)

Marie-Claude de la Godelinais (France) 
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies: access to public data in France

Kees van der Meer and Jaap J.M. Uijlenbroek (The Netherlands) 
The possibilities of electronic document management for supporting ad hoc processes: a case study

Jorma Kuopus (Finland) 
Accessibility and dissemination of electronic records in the privacy perspective

Roberto Rotter (European Commission) 
Access to information: a reality in the AGORA project. 
Effective dissemination requires effective information management: SGML a universal format ?

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Stream 3/2: awareness and availability of information – how can the different actors contribute?

Phillip J. Webb (United Kingdom) 
Implementation of a knowledge management system within the Defence Evaluation and 
Research Agency

Albert E. Kersten (The Netherlands) 
The historical researcher and electronic archives

Mario Bellardinelli (European Commission) 
Disseminating information on European research

Denise Lievesley (United Kingdom) 
Making data available for research and teaching: 
the experience of data archives in the United Kingdom

Stream 3/3: standards for dissemination of information: openness and access to documents

David A. Smith (United Kingdom) 
Use of a thesaurus in two-stage information retrieval of electronic records

Man-Sze Li (United Kingdom) 
Standards and specifications for document exchange and storage: the opportunities and limitations

Torbjörn Hörnfeldt (Sweden) 
European and international standards in an archival context

Stream 3/4: cooperation within the framework of the European Union and the global information society

Rainer Zimmermann and Remy Bossert (European Commission) 
Linking European administrations through common information and communication services: the interchange of data between administrations (IDA) programme

Wolfram Kaiser (Austria) 
Electronic sources: research into European contemporary history and the changing basic sources

Plenary closing session – 20 December 1996

The way ahead on electronic document management

Consensus, communication and collaboration: fostering multidisciplinary cooperation in elec-tronic documents management

Seamus Ross (United Kingdom)

Tim Duggan (Ireland)

Looking forward and next steps

Jean-Michel Cornu (France) 
Report on parallel session No 1: the way ahead on conception, creation and management of elec-tronic records

Wolf Buchmann (Germany) 
Report on parallel session No 2: the way ahead on short- and long-term preservation

Olov Östberg and Hans Sundström (Sweden) 
Report on parallel session No 3: the way ahead on information access and use

Proposals, conclusions and follow-up

Eric Ketelaar (The Netherlands) 
introduction of the 10 points for a follow-up to the DLM-Forum

Ten follow-up points on the DLM-Forum: next steps

Index of speakers

List of participants

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