Abstract - The Information Society 17(4)

Electronic Records Management and Public Accountability

Albert Meijer

In evaluating government actions accountability fora depend on public records. ICTs can - depending on how they are used - positively or negatively affect the availability of records for accountability. Dominant trends in the effect of ICTs on records management are (1) the mixing of 'on the record' and 'off the record' communication, (2) the shift of control over information to the individual, (3) the focus on present rather than on historic information, (4) the interlinking of information managed by several organizations, and (5) the integration of procedures into computer systems. These trends indicate that the introduction of ICTs challenges the existing balance between organizational values (e.g. formality and informality, central control and individual autonomy). Electronic records management is therefore about finding an organizational design which balances values to fit the organization's accountability situation.

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