Today is International Archives Day where everyone involved in preserving archives, records, data – whatever your take – celebrates the work that is happening worldwide to ensure the preservation of our memory and heritage and the protection of our rights by documenting decisions and building the foundations for good governance.
It’s easy to get people interested in memory and heritage – our history surrounds us in very visible ways and our memories are what binds us together with sharing and celebrating the past to inform our culture and identity. But it’s much harder to get excited about “governance” even though it’s all about maintaining rights and responsibilities and ensuring justice and equality across the board.
So I want to take a moment to hear it for governance and shout about how the work we are doing here at Lancaster University is contributing towards supporting the creation of strong and accountable governance structures. Accountable governance ensures fairness and equality for all. The work in my team is all about promoting the Open Research agenda which creates an environment where research is sustainable, reliable, accountable and for the greater good.
“Good governance in the public sector encourages
better informed and longer-term decision making as
well as the efficient use of resources. It strengthens
accountability for the stewardship of those
resources… People’s lives are
(International framework: good governance in the public sector IFAC/CIPFA 2014)
And it’s improving people’s lives that we are all really putting all our effort into.
So how are we hoping to supporting these objectives? The long term preservation of data and of good quality, reliable data means that we can support the decision making processes which affect all of us. Poor data leads to poor decisions so we are looking to see if we can establish ways of preserving data in a way that guarantees its authenticity and integrity and ensures that it will be available for the long term. The work is not done in isolation and we are looking at best practice and initiatives such as the Jisc Research Data Shared Service which we are hoping will deliver huge advances in helping us preserve important data.
Let’s celebrate everyone who is working hard on preserving documents, manuscripts, archives, data – all kinds of information – which enrich our lives and help us build a better world.
Rachel MacGregor (Digital Archivist)