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Information Management - Information Matters

Managing Internet and Intranet Information
for Long-term Access and Accountability

Implementation Guide

A Paper Prepared by the IM Forum
Internet and Intranet Working Group

September 24, 1999

Foreword

The following Implementation Guide should be read in conjunction with An Approach to Managing Internet and Intranet Information for Long-term Access and Accountability. Together, the two documents respond to the need for government-wide direction on managing records and publications within departmental networked facilities, including the Internet, intranets and extranets. The Information Management (IM) Forum Internet and Intranet Working Group prepared both documents on behalf of the IM Forum.

The documents amplify the Government of Canada Internet Guide, which can be found at <http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ig-gi/index_e.asp>.

The Approach and Implementation Guide represent almost a year of work by the Working Group, which first met in April 1998. The initial objective of the Group was to provide "an articulated common approach to record keeping on the Web." In determining how best to do so, the Working Group looked at several critical questions, not the least of which is, "When is information on a Website published information and when is it a government record?" In addressing this issue, the Working Group has focussed on two requirements: capturing records as evidence of business activity and managing long-term access to published information. By approaching the issue this way, we feel we can jointly mobilize the strengths of both the library science and records management disciplines, on behalf of our clients.

The documents will likely evolve over time as our understanding of the relevant management issues take shape. In the meantime, both the Approach and the Implementation Guide provide a broad framework for developing institution-specific solutions and helping the government as a whole effectively manage networked information both for long-term access and accountability.

We encourage written comments about this document. Please send them to the Chair of the IM Forum.

Rosemary Murray-Lachapelle
A/Director
Government Information Management Office
Library and Archives Canada
Telephone: 819-934-7519
Fax: 819-934-7534
Email: centre.liaison.centre@bac-lac.gc.ca

You can obtain a copy of An Approach to Managing Internet and Intranet Information for Long-term Access and Accountability from the following address:

Government Information Management Office
Library and Archives Canada
Telephone: 819-934-7519
Fax: 819-934-7534
Email: centre.liaison.centre@bac-lac.gc.ca

Acknowledgements

The IM Forum Internet and Intranet Working Group prepared this Implementation Guide and the Approach to Managing Internet and Intranet Information for Long-term Access and Accountability. Contributing members of the Working Group include the following people:

Suzanne Beaudoin, Public Works and Government Services Canada -- Canada Site
Nancy Brodie, National Library of Canada
Tina Cacciato, Human Resources Development Canada
Fernand Comeau, Health Canada
Diane Crouse, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Sharron Curley, Public Works and Government Services Canada
Judy David, Public Works and Government Services Canada -- Publiservice
Jerry Donoghue, National Archives of Canada
Greg Eamon, National Archives of Canada
Nora Fontaine, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
John Fysh, Department of National Defence
Julia Goodman, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Sue Hanley, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Lark Hodgins, National Capital Commission
Dan Lemieux, Office of the Solicitor General
Jim Lowe, Industry Canada
Doug McDonald, Health Canada
Paul McLaughlin, Department of National Defence
Andrew Morgan, National Archives of Canada
Rosemary Murray-Lachapelle (Chair), National Archives of Canada
Marilyn Sullivan, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Craig Taylor, Department of Canadian Heritage
Melissa Teasdale, Public Works and Government Services Canada
Donna Warren, Department of Canadian Heritage

Special thanks are also extended to the following people for their contribution:

Helen Apouchtine, Human Resources Development Canada
Diana Dale, Department of Canadian Heritage
Cecil Somerton, Canadian Coast Guard
Ginette Fauvelle, National Archives of Canada

Managing Internet and Intranet Information
for Long-term Access and Accountability
Implementation Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Management Framework
    1. Introduction
      1. Purpose
      2. Background
      3. Scope
    2. Information Management Principles
      1. Supporting Decision Making
      2. Managing Evidence
      3. Managing Electronic Documents
      4. Managing Government Information
      5. Retaining Information
      6. Ensuring Stewardship

    3. Legislative and Policy Context
    4. General Guidelines
    5. Records and Publications Context
      1. Record
      2. Government Record
      3. Publication
      4. Control of Government Information
      5. Information Quality
      6. Record Description
      7. Accounting for the Business Process

    6. Managing Accountability Exposure
      1. Accountability
      2. Accountability Exposure
      3. Risk Management Model
      4. Assessing the Level of Risk

    7. Roles and Responsibilities
      1. Chief Information Officer
      2. Content Managers
      3. Records Officers
      4. Departmental Librarians
      5. Communications Managers
      6. Web Administrators

    8. Management Framework
      1. Accountability Awareness
      2. Accountability Exposure Analysis
      3. Accountability Framework
      4. Integration with the Record-keeping Function
      5. Policies, Standards and Practice

  3. Record-keeping and Publication Requirements
    1. Record-keeping Requirements
      1. Developing Integrated Electronic Record Keeping
      2. Carrying Out an Accountability Exposure Analysis
      3. Responding to Exposure
      4. Establishing Record-keeping Links
      5. Managing Static and Interactive (Real-time) Website Postings
      6. Segregating the Level of Risk

    2. Description of Web-based Records
      1. Description
      2. Links to Structured Classification
      3. Metadata
      4. Document Profiles and Meta Tags
      5. Document Profiles
      6. Metadata Elements
      7. Support for Multiple Views

    3. Publication Requirements and Legal Deposit
      1. Mandate of the National Library of Canada
      2. Legal Deposit Requirements
      3. Identification of Documents for Legal Deposit
      4. Exclusions
      5. Access to Databases
      6. Timing of Deposits
      7. Deposit Process
      8. Use of Metadata
      9. Acceptable Transfer Protocols
      10. Technical Requirements
      11. Access to the National Library of Canada Depository
      12. Migration of Legacy Holdings
      13. Enquiries
      14. Serial Publications
      15. Storage of Current Issues
      16. Access to Back Issues

    4. The E-library
      1. Definition
      2. Access Management
      3. Risk of Loss of Access
      4. Identification and Selection
      5. Bibliographic Access
      6. Naming
      7. Access to the E-library
      8. Preservation for Continuous Public Access

    5. Retention and Disposition of Web-based Records
      1. Retention Guidelines and Disposition Requirements
      2. Definitions
      3. Active Use on the Web
      4. Purpose of Retention and Disposition
      5. Application
      6. Retention and Disposition Under Conditions of Low Risk
      7. Retention and Disposition Under Conditions of Moderate Risk
      8. Retention and Disposition Under Conditions of High Risk

    6. Local Site Repository
      1. Definition
      2. Limits
      3. Use
      4. Contents
      5. Optional Selective Capture
      6. Long-term Access
      7. Readability
      8. Multi-year Disposition Planning
      9. Retention and Disposition Management
      10. Repository Management

    7. Backup and Disaster Recovery
      1. Backup Procedures
      2. Essential Records
    8. Quality Assurance
      1. Review Process
      2. Review Date
      3. Audit Trails

    9. Email Messages
      1. Electronic Work Environment
      2. Chat Rooms and List Servers

  4. Future Considerations and Emerging Trends
    1. New Business Practices
    2. Document Management

Annex A: Application of the Risk Management Model

Annex B: Web Administrator's Checklist

Annex C: Glossary

Annex D: References and Authorities


1. Executive Summary

This document provides guidelines for implementing the IM Forum's Approach to Managing Internet and Intranet Information for Long-term Access and Accountability. They are designed to ensure that appropriate levels of management control are put in place to protect government records as evidence of the government's business activities; to reduce the levels of risk associated with managing information within networked facilities; and to provide ongoing access to information for as long as it continues to retain its value.

The implementation guidelines are strongly rooted in the notion of accountability. They suggest that government institutions that use the Web for business operations are creating records as a result of these activities, and that they need to be aware of their obligation to manage this information.

  • For records this entails ensuring that records posted to the Web are captured and/or described as evidence in a corporate record keeping system, and managed from creation through disposition in keeping with the intent of the National Archives of Canada Act (1987) and the provisions of the Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Government Information Holdings.
  • For published material, this entails preserving long term access to material which has ongoing value, by depositing it with the National Library at the time of publication, in accordance with the Legal Deposit provisions of the National Library of Canada Act; and, where warranted by depositing published material in the departmental library where departmental staff and the public (where appropriate) may have ongoing access to it.

The implementation guide provides a number of suggested tools and best practices to help departments fulfill these requirements. These include the following:

Management framework. Such a framework helps a department integrate its Web posting and management functions within its overall record-keeping and publication management functions by establishing corporate policies, standards and practices and assigning clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Risk management model. This model looks at the levels of risk associated with managing information on individual Websites and recommends appropriate record-keeping and publication management responses to mitigate that risk. Risk factors include the adequacy of existing management structures, the extent to which the corporate record-keeping system captures posted records, the degree to which Legal Deposit captures publications and the information's potential to generate adverse reaction. Escalating levels of response range from continuing to maintain close integration with the corporate record-keeping system, to maintaining snapshots and developing ancillary "local site repositories."

Publications requirements and Legal Deposit. In keeping with the National Library of Canada Act, this guide provides a process for ensuring that all government publications posted to a departmental Website are identified for Legal Deposit. As well, the guide introduces the concept of the departmental e-library as a way of providing long-term access to information that remains valuable long after it is removed from an active Website.

Retention and disposition of records. All records posted to a Website are subject to the requirements of the National Archives of Canada Act (1987) and Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs) signed by the National Archivist. Institutions must adhere to archival decisions as reflected in RDAs (including the new Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities, or MIDAs). However, institutions, not the National Archives, are responsible for determining retention periods for records they manage in the conduct of government business. In keeping with the risk management model, this guide provides a variety of implementation practices. These range from disposing of posted Web documents that duplicate information already captured in a record-keeping system and therefore residing on the Web under low-risk conditions, to maintaining and disposing of original Web-based corporate records within a "local site repository" under high-risk conditions.

Local site repository. The guide introduces a relatively new concept - the "local site repository"- as an interim measure for retaining and disposing of Web based records under high-risk conditions. Using client-server technology, the repository replicates all records at the time they are posted to an active Website and allows institutions to manage that information using metadata.

Metadata. This guide recommends that institutions use metadata to describe information content and context and to manage records and publications throughout their lifecycle. Since numerous initiatives are already underway in this area -- including the IM Forum Description Working Group, the Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat Government Information Locator System (GILS) Working Group, and the Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat Records and Document Information Management System (RDIMS) -- and since library cataloguing practices are well established, the guidelines do not attempt to provide additional metadata standards for the Web. Rather, they speak to the functional requirements that emerge from the guidelines.

While the guidelines urge individual departments to manage Web-based records as an integral part of their overall record-keeping environment, they also recognize that not all government departments have developed the same record-keeping capability. Accordingly, the guidelines suggest that those departments that lack the requisite record-keeping infrastructure implement more rigorous and costly management processes for their Websites in the short run, given the high levels of risk associated with information loss, misinterpretation and misuse. In the long run, better record-keeping practices will reduce these costs while improving the quality of information.

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2. Management Framework

a. Introduction

i. Purpose

The following guidelines address the need to manage information made available through the Government of Canada networked facilities. They are designed to ensure that appropriate levels of management control are put in place to protect government records as evidence of the government's business activities; to reduce the levels of risk associated with managing information within networked facilities; and to provide ongoing access to information for as long as it continues to retain its value. For the purpose of these guidelines, government networked facilities include the Internet, intranets and extranets, serving both Government of Canada employees and the public.

ii. Background

The increased use of electronic networks -- including wide area networks, the Internet, intranets and extranets -- has fundamentally changed the way we exchange, use and manage information. Our focus is no longer solely on managing physical objects but rather on managing multiple instances of documents, each of which may satisfy a different purpose. As the environment has changed so too has our ability to maintain the necessary levels of quality, integrity and accountability associated with documents. As well, the lines that once clearly separated the disciplines of record keeping and library science, as well as published material and recorded evidence, may no longer serve the best interests of our clients. More than ever, we need a coordinated approach that combines the strengths of multiple disciplines.

iii. Scope

The guidelines that follow apply to all federal government institutions and address the management of both records and published material on networked facilities, whether for public consumption or for departmental use.

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b. Information Management Principles

The guidelines in this document are based on the following information management principles.

i. Supporting Decision Making

Institutions should manage information to support effective decision making, public accountability, cost-effective delivery of programs and services, and public access. (1)

ii. Managing Evidence

All organizations must manage records. Records show how we act; how we deal with our clients, customers, other agencies or bodies in the private sector; and how they deal with us. They are the principal means of demonstrating how we have fulfilled our obligations and, in turn, they hold us accountable for our actions.

iii. Managing Electronic Documents

Managing electronic information is a significant part of the business operations of the Government of Canada. No single medium currently contains all the information relating to an organization's business activities. Therefore, all sources of information must be managed in a coordinated way, in a manner appropriate to their environment, to preserve and provide appropriate access to records that document the government's business activities.

iv. Managing Government Information

Government information in all its forms -- including printed materials, voice recordings, electronic data and images -- is a strategic resource and should be effectively managed throughout its lifecycle (2). Accordingly, there is a continuing need:

  • to effectively manage both government information and its metadata;
  • to establish accountabilities, roles, responsibilities, and service standards for managing information and metadata; and
  • to ensure that information is created and stored in a way that supports preservation and ongoing access.

v. Retaining Information

Government information should be retained only when there is a business need, when there is a legislative or policy requirement, or when it has historical or archival importance.

vi. Ensuring Stewardship

Specific organizational units should be accountable for managing designated classes of government information to ensure their integrity, quality and relevance and to restrict their accessibility to authorized users.

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c. Legislative and Policy Context

The guidelines in this document reflect the requirements of the following:

  • the Access to Information Act;
  • the Copyright Act;
  • the National Archives of Canada Act;
  • the National Library of Canada Act;
  • the Official Languages Act;
  • the Privacy Act;
  • the Government Security Policy;
  • the Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat Policy on the Management of Government Information Holdings; and
  • the Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat Policy on the Use of Electronic Networks.

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d. General Guidelines

In managing records and published material on networked facilities, institutions should follow the following broad guidelines: (detailed guidelines follow).

  • Maintain accountability. Assign clear accountability for managing all departmental Websites and for managing all information made accessible through those sites.
  • Reduce risk exposure. Manage departmental Websites in a way that reduces the risk exposure associated with each Website (see section 2.f, "Managing Accountability Exposure").
  • Maintain corporate records. Capture all records and associated metadata posted to a Website of the Government of Canada in a corporate record-keeping system.
  • Provide long-term access. Ensure that ongoing access to published material is preserved by depositing published material with the National Library at the time of publication, in accordance with the Legal Deposit provisions of the National Library of Canada Act; and, where warranted by depositing published material in the departmental library where departmental staff and the public (where appropriate) may have ongoing access to it.
  • Describe content and context. Describe all documents posted to departmental Websites in a manner that provides ready access to reliable and authentic records while preserving and making visible their evolving context.
  • Retain and dispose of records properly. When records are no longer required for use on a departmental Website, dispose of them in accordance with Records Disposition Authorities, taking established retention periods into account.

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e. Records and Publications Context

The following section describes the context within which records and publications posted to Government of Canada Websites should be managed.

i. Record

In accordance with the National Archives of Canada Act (1987), "record" includes any correspondence, memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microform, sound recording, videotape, machine-readable record and any other documentary material, regardless of its physical form or characteristics, and any copy thereof.

ii. Government Record

For the purpose of these guidelines and within the context of the definition of "record" in the National Archives of Canada Act (1987) and the Access to Information Act, a "government record" is recorded information, regardless of its physical form, that a government institution controls and that is collected, created, received or used to initiate, conduct or complete an institutional activity. To meet business and accountability requirements, government records must have sufficient content, context and structure to provide evidence of the activity. (5)

iii. Publication

In accordance with the National Library of Canada Act, "published in Canada" means "released in Canada for public distribution or sale, otherwise than by her Majesty in right of a province or municipality." The National Library defines "networked electronic publication" as a "digitally encoded information resource made available to the public through a communication network."(6) The Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Government Information Holdings amplifies these definitions; it states that "published material refers to an information product which has been created and edited for the purpose of distribution or sale. Material published by or for Federal Institutions is deposited in federal library collections." (7) For the purpose of these guidelines, "information products" are documents compiled from available information or data sources that are published for a defined audience and a stated purpose. (8)

iv. Control of Government Information

A record is considered to be under the control of a government institution when that institution is authorized to grant or deny access to the record, to direct its use and, subject to the approval of the National Archivist, to dispose of it. Records in the possession or custody of an institution, whether at headquarters, regional, satellite or other offices within or outside Canada, are presumed to be under the control of that institution unless there is strong evidence to the contrary (9) .

v. Information Quality

In managing the quality of recorded information, government departments should ensure that all records and publications under their control are continually assessed with respect to the accuracy, reliability and authenticity of the document content as well as the accuracy, reliability and authenticity of the information about the document -- in other words, the document metadata.

vi. Record Description

In keeping with the above, all government information, including information distributed on the Web, should be described in a manner that:

  • facilitates access, to provide an effective means of accessing and retrieving information;
  • establishes context, to ensure that information can be understood within the administrative and operational context within which it was generated;
  • provides evidence, to support the capture and maintenance of reliable, authentic records ("Reliability refers to the authority and trustworthiness of records as evidence, that is, their ability to stand for the facts they are about. Authenticity refers to the fact that the record is what it purports to be, i.e. that it has not been manipulated, altered, or otherwise falsified after its creation..."(10)); and
  • facilitates preservation, to ensure that information that needs to be preserved remains understandable and accessible over time.

vii. Accounting for the Business Process

Record descriptions must account for the business processes, and associated actions and transactions, that generated the records; the business function or activity supported by the business processes; and the organizational unit accountable for the business processes and the records. (11)

These requirements are good business practice and reduce risks arising from increased liabilities or decreased opportunities that accompany poor record-keeping practices (12).

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f.Managing Accountability Exposure

i. Accountability

Government institutions using the Web for business operations need to be aware that they are creating records as a result of these activities. Organizations, therefore, have an obligation to manage this information the same way they manage any other record or document they create in the conduct of government business. They should keep records containing government information in appropriate record-keeping systems so that they can be protected, accessed and conveniently used.

An accountable manager, who authorizes the posting of a document on an electronic network, is deemed to have certified that:

  • the document and its associated metadata are accurate, current and complete, and that they convey authorized direction; and
  • the corporate copy of the record and its metadata is being managed in accordance with good record-keeping practices .

ii. Accountability Exposure

In the absence of appropriate management controls, individuals who disseminate information on departmental Websites may be exposing both themselves and the organization to unwarranted levels of risk. The potential costs of "exposure" may include the loss of operationally critical information, increased administrative costs associated with re-creating existing information, non-compliance with relevant legislation and policy, high legal costs associated with responding to evidential claims, declining levels of client satisfaction and the untimely loss of corporate memory.

iii. Risk Management Model

The risk management model looks at the levels of risk associated with managing information on individual Websites and recommends appropriate record-keeping and publication management responses for mitigating that risk. Risk factors include:

  • the adequacy of existing management structures;
  • the extent to which the corporate record-keeping system captures posted records;
  • the degree to which publications are identified for Legal Deposit and deposited in the departmental e-library;
  • the volatility of the posted information; and
  • the information's potential to generate adverse reaction.

Escalating levels of response range from continuing to maintain close integration with the corporate records-keeping system, to maintaining snapshots and developing ancillary local site repositories. For modelling purposes, the level of "accountability exposure" or potential risk has been divided into three distinct environments, labelled low, moderate and high. The section entitled, "Accountability Exposure Analysis, and Record-keeping and Publication Management Response," describes these environments and their recommended responses. The model is based on the original work of Dr. J. Timothy Sprehe and Dr. Charles R. McClure (13).

Accountability Exposure Analysis, and Record-keeping and Publication Management Response

Low Risk of Accountability Exposure:

  • The department effectively controls who may post to Websites and what may be posted.
  • Websites contain mostly static documents.
  • There is little or no adverse reaction to posted documents.
  • The corporate record-keeping system has captured all posted records.
  • All publications are also disseminated in other formats.

Record-keeping and Publication Management Response:

  • Continue to maintain close integration with the corporate record-keeping system.
  • At the end of the record's life on the Web, dispose of it in accordance with Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs) approved by the National Archivist.
  • Continue to identify material for deposit in the National Library and the departmental e-library.

Moderate Risk of Accountability Exposure:

  • Posting controls are inadequate to meet the growing number of sites.
  • The Website is beginning to host dynamic and interactive documents.
  • There is growing potential that some posted documents may generate adverse reaction.
  • Websites sometimes contain original record material that the corporate record-keeping system has not captured.
  • Some publications have no print equivalents.  

Record-keeping and Publication Management Response:

  • Improve existing levels of integration with the corporate record-keeping system.
  • Maintain an historical log and capture it within the corporate record-keeping system.
  • At the end of the record's life on the Web, dispose of it in accordance with Records Disposition Authorities (RDAs) approved by the National Archivist.
  • Continue to identify material for deposit in the National Library and the departmental e-library.

High Risk of Accountability Exposure:

  • Posting controls show evidence of breaking down.
  • Websites contain a significant quantity of interactive and dynamic material, including bulletin board postings.
  • Websites are under intense public scrutiny and posted material is beginning to generate negative reaction.
  • There is clear evidence that the site contains many records that the corporate record-keeping system is not capturing.
  • Many publications are available only on the Website with no print equivalents.

Record-keeping and Publication Management Response:

  • Assess the adequacy of the existing corporate record-keeping system and, where necessary, begin to rebuild processes for closely integrating this system with the Web.
  • Maintain an historical log and transfer it to the corporate record-keeping system.
  • Maintain snapshots and a site index (where there is an external threat) and transfer these to the corporate record-keeping system.
  • Develop and maintain a local site repository as a temporary means of managing the disposition process for both records and published material.
  • Use the local site repository to help identify material for deposit in the National Library and the departmental e-library.

iv. Assessing the Level of Risk

In assessing the level of risk and determining the appropriate response, each department should perform an accountability exposure analysis for each of its Websites. Depending on the specific nature of the risk, the department may need to invoke one or more of processes described in the section entitled "Accountability Exposure Analysis, and Record-keeping and Publicaction Management Response" to mitigate existing or potential risk. Sample assessments and responses are shown below. (For an implementation overview, see the diagram in Annex A.)

  • Organization XYZ is fairly confident that its Website management controls are adequate. The corporate record-keeping system is capturing all record material and an effective process is in place to ensure that published information is identified for Legal Deposit and the departmental library. Recently, however, many posted documents have begun to generate enquiries from a concerned public. As well, much of the information content of the posted documents is changing rapidly, and enquiries increasingly concern access to previously posted information. The manager correctly anticipates the trends and begins to create "weekly" snapshots of the site as an effective response mechanism, thereby mitigating potential risk and enhancing overall client service.
  • Organization ABC has not yet implemented an electronic corporate record keeping system but is in the process of doing so. Under the current arrangement many of the department's publications are available only on the Web. As well many documents posted to the Web are being overwritten with new versions or are being deleted at the end of their active life on the Web. Publications and record material are clearly being lost. The departmental CIO, recognizes this as a high risk situation, and immediately instructs program managers, Web administrators and records manager to develop a "Local Site Repository" strategy to guide the interim management of Web-based records until such time as the corporate record keeping system is deemed adequate to the task.

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Effectively managing records and publications within a Website environment requires the coordinated efforts of a number of key functional areas. In most government departments, these include the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Web administrators (or Website managers), content managers, communications managers, publications managers, records officers and library professionals. Their areas of responsibility are distinguished as follows:

i. Chief Information Officer

The Chief Information Officer is normally the designated senior information resource manager in the department who is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the department's information management (IM) activities, including activities related to operating and managing departmental Websites. The senior official for the management of government information holdings (MGIH) is often the closest recognized role.

ii. Content Managers

Content managers are responsible for creating and managing information content. An accountable content manager should be assigned to each document posted on the Web. Content managers ensure that the content of posted documents and their associated metadata is accurate and complete; that the corporate record-keeping system has captured all record material; and that a departmental e-library has captured original and revised versions of all published material and made them accessible. They are most frequently found in the program offices of departments, engaged in carrying out the programs that comprise departmental missions.

iii. Records Officers

Records officers carry out the department's official record-keeping and archival responsibilities. They ensure that the department creates, maintains, transfers, and disposes of records in accordance with applicable legislation and policy.

iv. Departmental Librarians

Departmental librarians facilitate public access to departmental publications by identifying, cataloguing and storing them. Internet publications should be catalogued and, ideally, stored and made accessible through a departmental e-library. In conjunction with the content manager and the National Library of Canada, departmental librarians also identify publications that need to be deposited in the National Library of Canada.

v. Communications Managers

Communications managers manage the flow of information to Websites and provide quality control. They often decide when information will be posted, whether the Website should be limited to current information and when information will be removed from the Website. They may decide whether information is appropriate for the Internet or an intranet.

vii. Web Administrators

Web administrators manage the information technology aspects of Websites. In many organizations, Web administrators or their designates operate and maintain Websites, administer the posting rights of content managers and help determine the appropriate format for posted documents, as well as edit, mark up and post the documents. Their role may also include "gate-keeping" to ensure that appropriate metadata are captured and that an accountable content manager has carried out appropriate record-keeping and publication management activities (see Annex B, "Web Administrator's Checklist").

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Departments should have a management framework to provide for the oversight of all functions and activities associated with departmental Websites. The departmental CIO should have overall accountability for the framework. Suggested functions should include the following:

i. Accountability Awareness

Departmental CIOs should ensure that all staff:

  • are made aware of the risks and benefits associated with the use of Websites; and
  • understand and comply with legislative and policy requirements governing the management of recorded information under the control of an institution.

ii. Accountability Exposure Analysis

Departmental CIOs should ensure that all departmental Websites are assessed with respect to their potential accountability exposure and that there is a certification process to:

  • define the level of risk associated with each Website, both at time of installation and periodically over the life of the site; and
  • document the required levels of record-keeping intervention needed to mitigate the identified risk.

iii. Accountability Framework

The departmental CIO should establish an overall accountability framework for Website management that:

  • includes Website creation policies and practices that specify who has the authority to create Websites and under what conditions the legal branch or public affairs specialists should be consulted;
  • assigns clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each person involved in managing departmental Websites, including Web administrators, communications managers, content managers, records officers, librarians, publication managers, public affairs specialists and legal counsel;
  • establishes a coordinating mechanism to ensure that Web administrators, content managers, records officers, librarians and publication managers coordinate their efforts.

iv. Integration with the Record-keeping Function

Departmental CIOs should ensure that Website management functions and activities are incorporated within the overall record keeping and publication management functions of the department.

v. Policies, Standards and Practices

Departmental CIOs should ensure that corporate policies, standards and practices are developed for managing Websites and that clearly defined roles and responsibilities for discharging these are assigned. Specific activities should include the following:

  • Posting control. Departments should ensure that only authorized individuals are permitted to post information on departmental Websites.
  • Certification. Departments should ensure that those who maintain accountability for the information content -- that is, content managers -- have discharged their record keeping and publication management responsibilities before releasing a document for posting on the Web.
    • For static documents, this includes capturing the source document in the corporate record-keeping system, as well as updating the associated metadata with information relevant to the posting process and, where warranted, identifying and depositing published material in the departmental e-library and the National Library.
    • For dynamic documents, this entails ensuring that the record-keeping system has captured significant changes, capturing relevant metadata regarding the posting process and in, cooperation with the departmental librarian, identifying and capturing significant changes to published material in the departmental e-library and the National Library.
    • For business or service transactions, this entails capturing those transactions that the department has defined as business activities. (Additional care should be taken when these transactions involve members of the public.)
  • Quality assurance. Establish control procedures to ensure that all material posted on the Web is systematically assessed for timeliness, relevance and quality, both at the time of posting and periodically thereafter.
  • Version control. Define criteria, procedures and responsibilities for managing different versions of the same document. This includes defining the conditions under which the organization should maintain various versions of a document.
  • Retention and disposition. Ensure that the organization has established appropriate retention periods and that it disposes of Website information in accordance with Records Disposition Authorities. As well, when the organization must transfer archival information to the National Archives, ensure that it does so in coordination with the disposition of other departmental information holdings.

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  2. Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat, Blueprint for Renewing Government Services Using Information Technology (Discussion Draft), undated
  1. National Archives of Canada, Information Management Standards and Practices Division, Record Keeping in the Electronic Work Environment -- Vision, 1996
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  6. Duranti, L. (University of British Columbia). Extracted from National Archives of Canada, Approach to the Description and Classification of Government Records, February 1999
  7. National Archives of Canada, Approach to the Description and Classification of Government Records, February 1999
  8. National Archives of Canada, Functional Requirements for Record Keeping in the Government of Canada, undated
  9. http://slis-two.lis.fsu.edu/~cmcclure/nhprc/nhprc_chpt_6.html>
  10. http://slis-two.lis.fsu.edu/~cmcclure/nhprc/nhprc_chpt_6.html>
  11. http://slis-two.lis.fsu.edu/~cmcclure/nhprc/nhprc_chpt_6.html>