Archives as a trusted third party in maintaining and preserving digital records in the cloud environment

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/RMJ-07-2015-0028
Pages170-184
Publication Date18 July 2016
Date18 July 2016
AuthorWei Guo,Yun Fang,Weimei Pan,Dekun Li
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
Archives as a trusted third party
in maintaining and preserving
digital records in the
cloud environment
Wei Guo
College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University,
Tianjin, China
Yun Fang
College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin,
China and Tianjin Municipal Archives, Tianjin, China
Weimei Pan
School of Library, Archival and Information Studies,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and
Dekun Li
Electronic Archives Information Department, Tianjin Municipal Archives,
Tianjin, China
Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to present a case wherein a public archive intervenes in maintaining
and preserving digital records (including underlying technological infrastructure) created by a
private company to protect the trustworthiness of records, thereby helping the company to
discharge their accountability.
Design/methodology/approach This paper details the intervention of Tianjin Municipal
Archives in the management of the records of Tianjin Otis Elevator Co., Ltd, the technical
infrastructure that enables and supports such conguration, the issues encountered and the
theoretical implications of this case.
Findings – This case suggests that not only does the concept of archives as a trusted third party
remain relevant in the changing technological environment but also, in certain cases (e.g. wherein
the supplier of evidentiary documents holds a monopoly over an industry), archives are becoming
increasingly critical in maintaining the reliability and authenticity of digital records in the cloud
environment.
Research limitations/implications Given the challenges raised by the emerging cloud
environment, it is vital to develop a renewed understanding of the concept of archives as a trusted
third party, the relationship between archives and commercial third party services and the
relationship between public archives and private records. Furthermore, this case identies the need
to re-examine archival methodologies to protect the authenticity of structured data.
We gratefully acknowledge the help of Tianjin Otis Elevator Co., Ltd., which made this paper
possible. Valuable comments by the anonymous reviewers are also gratefully acknowledged for
improving an earlier version of this paper.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0956-5698.htm
RMJ
26,2
170
Received 30 July 2015
Revised 27 October 2015
8 January 2016
18 January 2016
Accepted 20 January 2016
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.26 No. 2, 2016
pp.170-184
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0956-5698
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-07-2015-0028

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