Citizen Engagement, Managing Records, and Trust

by Jim Suderman

Open Government is a trust-based and trust-building approach to stronger governmental accountability, transparency, and citizen involvement through the pro-active adoption and use of technology in innovative ways. A number of InterPARES Trust studies are exploring aspects of Open Government. One in particular focused on citizen engagement, the technologies that enable or optimize engagement, and the resulting records.

Grant Hurley, Valerie Léveillé, and John McDonald, three members of that study, prepared a records management primer based on the study’s findings and interviews with citizen engagement leads. It is written not just for records managers and archivists, but also for citizen engagement leads.

The records and information resulting from a citizen engagement tell the story of that initiative, from its motivation and goals through to its processes and politics and on to the final outcomes. Ready access by citizens and government to such records allows a broader understanding of engagement initiatives, the means to evaluate their effectiveness, and enables engagement processes to mature over time.

The primer considers the five categories of engagement set out in the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Engagement Spectrum through a record keeping lens defined by the five contexts defined by InterPARES research as essential to supporting the authenticity of records. Besides technology, the primer outlines issues and strategies relating to governance, people, policy, standards and practice, and awareness.

The Primer is available here on the InterPARES Trust website. Go look at it now. You know you want to.

Jim Suderman

Further Reading