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Svärd, P. (2018). Has the Freedom of Information Act enhanced transparency and the free flow of information in Liberia?. Information Development, 34(1), 20-30
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Has the Freedom of Information Act enhanced transparency and the free flow of information in Liberia?
2018 (English)In: Information Development, ISSN 0266-6669, E-ISSN 1741-6469, Vol. 34, no 1, p. 20-30Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates if the adoption of the Liberian Freedom of Information (FOI) law 2010 has led to a transparent government and increased the free flow of government information. Freeing government information is expected to create transparent and accountable governments. It brings forth democratic and inclusive government institutions that work for the people. Inclusivity, transparency and accountability are expected to address sustainable development challenges and democracy deficits. Transparency and accountability can only be achieved through access to government information. The right to access government information is also included in the national constitution of Liberia. The citizens of Liberia in West Africa suffered from a protracted civil war between 1989-1996 and 1999-2003 respectively. These wars were partly caused by non-accountability of the governments, endemic corruption and the mismanagement of the countries' resources. Efforts are being made by the government with the help of the international community to embrace a new democratic dispensation. Liberia was also one of the first African countries to enact a Freedom of Information (FOI) Law that would enable Liberians to access government information.

Keywords
transparency, accountability, freedom of information, legislation, Liberia
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34019 (URN)10.1177/0266666916672717 (DOI)000418183400003 ()2-s2.0-85038369738 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-01-04 Created: 2018-01-04 Last updated: 2018-07-05Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2018). Public Information Directive (PSI) implementation in two Swedish municipalities. Records Management Journal, 28(1), 2-17
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Public Information Directive (PSI) implementation in two Swedish municipalities
2018 (English)In: Records Management Journal, ISSN 0956-5698, E-ISSN 1758-7689, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 2-17Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper examines the implementation of the Public Sector Information (PSI) directive in two Swedish municipalities amidst a changing information management landscape impacted by e-government development. Government information is currently looked upon as a “gold mine” and “raw material” to be explored by interested parties. The PSI directive grants European citizens a right to access government information flows (PSI) in order to develop new electronic services. The Swedish government implemented its PSI directive in July 2010. Swedish municipalities have to embrace the directive and make the PSI available to the general public. The literature review highlighted a number of critical issues that should be addressed if PSI initiatives are to succeed. This study revealed that the two municipalities had different resource capacities, and the levels of e-government development varied. This meant that the implementation of the PSI directive also varied. The bigger municipality with a bigger budget had implemented the PSI directive and was publishing data sets on its website, while the smaller municipality with a smaller budget only published a few documents. This paper, therefore, argues that the municipalities should have the same capacity if the PSI is to be a democratic endeavor to serve all citizens. Good quality PSI will also require the municipalities to embrace a records and information continua thinking, which highlights the necessity to proactively and holistically manage the information for pluralization in different contexts.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper builds on interviews that were conducted with four municipal officers. The number of respondents is quite small because the focus was specifically on people who were responsible for the implementation of the PSI directive in the municipalities. The respondents were identified through their fellow colleagues and they also recommended each other. Pickard refers to this kind of approach as a snow-bowling approach. Through interviews and observation, one participant advises on issues that need further inquiry and, hence, directs the researcher to another person who might offer more answers. A general interview guide approach was used to solicit answers to issues such as the implementation of the PSI directive, guidelines for PSI publication, if terms such as big data and open data were being used in the municipalities, if the municipalities had an information governance plan and how it was understood, if the information systems were well aligned to meet with the requirements of the PSI directive, how e-government development affected information management and information security and if the municipalities had information security guidelines.

Findings: The Swedish government requires its administrations to engage in e-government development. This development has led to increased amounts of information that the municipalities have to effectively manage and make available to the general public. However, the municipalities operate under different conditions. Municipalities that are financially stronger are better placed to invest in measures that will lead to better quality PSI. All municipalities are, however, expected to implement the PSI directive. The two municipalities that were the subjects of this study had different information management environments and the capacity to invest in information management systems that would facilitate the management of their information resources. The budgetary constraints faced by smaller municipalities might impact the implementation of the PSI directive and, hence, hinder the publication of the PSI. e-Government is meant to be an inclusive project, and the PSI is meant for all citizens with innovative ideas. There is a risk that citizens who belong to poorer municipalities might not be equally privileged compared to those living in resourceful municipalities. This poses a democratic challenge that should concern all people interested in an open and inclusive society.

Originality/value: Little research has so far been published on the implementation process of the PSI directive. The discourses that have started to emerge discuss the challenges of open data without paying much attention to the creation, capture and the management aspects of the PSI. The originality of this paper, therefore, lies in the application of the records and information continua thinking, which highlights dimensions that enhance information management and the democratic challenges that will be caused by the data divide, as municipalities have different capabilities when it comes to the publication of the PSI.

Keywords
e-Government development, Public Sector Information, Records and information continua
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34736 (URN)10.1108/RMJ-04-2016-0012 (DOI)2-s2.0-85042478000 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-03-09 Created: 2018-03-09 Last updated: 2018-03-09Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2017). E-government development and challenges of freeing public sector information. In: Thomas F. Reilly (Ed.), The Governance of Local Communities: Global Perspectives and Challenges (pp. 145-162). Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>E-government development and challenges of freeing public sector information
2017 (English)In: The Governance of Local Communities: Global Perspectives and Challenges / [ed] Thomas F. Reilly, Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2017, p. 145-162Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This chapter investigates the challenges faced by two Swedish municipalities in freeing government information as required by both the European and the Swedish Public Sector Information (PSI) directives. Sweden enacted its PSI directive in July 2010, based on the 2003 European PSI directive, which all member states were required to implement. Municipalities are directed to proactively publish data for public consumption. Swedish municipalities are engaged in e-Government development, which has also led to an increase of the information they are required to manage effectively. In Sweden, PSI is an integral part of the e-Government policy. Sweden is working to regain its leading position in the World, as far as e-Government development is concerned. Sweden’s e-Government mantra is “to make it as simple as possible, for as many as possible.” e-Government development is meant to transform government institutions by making them simple, open, accessible, effective, and secure. The Swedish third generation e-Government focuses on demand-driven development of electronic services, third-party collaboration in service development, that is, the citizens, increased re-use of public sector information, and responsibility for adding value to information and services. The implementation of the PSI directive is slow because municipalities have different budgetary capacities. Large municipalities, with sufficient budgets, are implementing the directive and have started releasing for public consumption while small ones continue to issue single documents on websites. Uneven e-Government development influences the release of PSI. Small municipalities lack human, technical, and financial resources available to large ones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2017
Keywords
e-Government development, Information management, Information systems, Municipalities
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33070 (URN)2-s2.0-85022002032 (Scopus ID)9781536106527 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-07-21 Created: 2017-07-21 Last updated: 2017-07-21Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2017). Enterprise content management, records management and information culture amidst E-government development. Cambridge (MA): Chandos Publishing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enterprise content management, records management and information culture amidst E-government development
2017 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This book identifies key factors necessary for a well-functioning information infrastructure and explores how information culture impacts the management of public information, stressing the need for a proactive and holistic information management approach amidst e-Government development. In an effort to deal with an organization's scattered information resources, Enterprise Content Management, Records Management and Information Culture Amidst E-Government Development investigates the key differences between Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Records Management (RM), the impact of e-Government development on information management and the role of information in enhancing accountability and transparency of government institutions. The book hence identifies factors that contribute to a well-functioning information infrastructure and further explores how information culture impacts the management of public information. It highlights the Records Continuum Model (RCM) thinking as a more progressive way of managing digital information in an era of pluralization of government information. It also emphasizes the need for information/records management skills amidst e-Government development. Ideas about records, information, and content management have fundamentally changed and developed because of increasing digitalization. Though not fully harmonized, these new ideas commonly stress and underpin the need for a proactive and holistic information management approach. The proactive approach entails planning for the management of the entire information continuum before the information is created. For private enterprises and government institutions endeavoring to meet new information demands from customers, citizens and the society at large, such an approach is a prerequisite for accomplishing their missions. It could be argued that information is and has always been essential to all human activities and we are witnessing a transformation of the information landscape. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge (MA): Chandos Publishing, 2017. p. 101
Series
Chandos information professional series
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-36509 (URN)2-s2.0-85053582409 (Scopus ID)9780081008744 (ISBN)9780081009000 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-10-09 Created: 2018-10-09 Last updated: 2018-10-09Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2017). Freedom of information laws and information access: The case of Sierra Leone. Information Development, 33(2), 190-198
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Freedom of information laws and information access: The case of Sierra Leone
2017 (English)In: Information Development, ISSN 0266-6669, E-ISSN 1741-6469, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 190-198Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sierra Leone was engulfed in a destructive civil war between 1991 and 2002. The civil war was partly caused by the non-accountability of the government, endemic corruption, misrule and the mismanagement of the country’s resources. Efforts have been made by the country, with the help of the international community, to embrace a democratic dispensation. To demonstrate its commitment to the democratization agenda, Sierra Leone passed the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act in 2013. The Act guarantees access to government information and also imposes a penalty on failure to make information available. However, Sierra Leone’s state institutions are still weak due to mismanagement and lack of transparency and accountability. Freedom of expression and access to information are cornerstones of modern democracies. Public information/records are a means of power that governments and other political institutions use to exercise control over citizens, but are also a means of citizens’ empowerment. Through access to government information/records, media can play their watchdog role and people can assess the performance of governments and hold them accountable. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the fact that it is not enough to enact freedom of information laws (FOIs) if there is no political will to make government information accessible, an information management infrastructure to facilitate the creation, capture, management, dissemination, preservation and re-use of government information and investments in civil education to promote an information culture that appreciates information as a resource that underpins accountability and transparency.

Keywords
freedom of information, information access, legislation, public information, Sierra Leone
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32102 (URN)10.1177/0266666916642829 (DOI)000394908100006 ()2-s2.0-85011705414 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-02-20 Created: 2017-02-20 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2017). Hindrances to access and re-use of open government data: the case of Sweden. In: Nathan Mnjama & Priti Jain (Ed.), Information and knowledge for Competitiveness: Proceeding of DLIS 2017 International Conference : Hosted by the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) : 15th-17th March 2017 : At the University of Botswana, Gabarone. Paper presented at The DLIS 2017, Gabarone, March 15-17, 2017. (pp. 1-17). Gaborone: University of Botswana
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hindrances to access and re-use of open government data: the case of Sweden
2017 (English)In: Information and knowledge for Competitiveness: Proceeding of DLIS 2017 International Conference : Hosted by the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS) : 15th-17th March 2017 : At the University of Botswana, Gabarone / [ed] Nathan Mnjama & Priti Jain, Gaborone: University of Botswana , 2017, p. 1-17Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gaborone: University of Botswana, 2017
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32296 (URN)978-99968-442-1-8 (ISBN)
Conference
The DLIS 2017, Gabarone, March 15-17, 2017.
Available from: 2017-03-22 Created: 2017-03-22 Last updated: 2017-03-22Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2017). The woes of Swedish private archival institutions. Records Management Journal, 27(3), 275-285
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The woes of Swedish private archival institutions
2017 (English)In: Records Management Journal, ISSN 0956-5698, E-ISSN 1758-7689, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 275-285Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the long-term preservation challenges that the Swedish private archives are faced with. In as much as they offer a complement to the public archives and hence offer a nuanced national narrative, they lack both financial and human resources to effectively deal with the digital information management environment. Design/methodology/approach: Participatory Action Research (PAR) was used to identify the challenges of long-term preservation together with the six private archives institutions that were involved in the collaboration. The collaboration was financially facilitated by the Södertörn University. PAR is defined as a systematic investigation, with the collaboration of those affected by the issue being studied, for the purposes of education and taking action or effecting social change. What is distinctive of PAR is the active involvement of people whose lives are affected by the phenomenon under study. Findings: The private archival institutions face long-term preservation challenges such as lack of a digital repository that would facilitate the capture, organization and management of digital records that are of different formats and in a dispersed environment. There are no stringent legal requirements to facilitate the creation and management of the records in a standardized way and the institutions fear that imposing such requirements might deter their clients from depositing archival materials with them. The institutions will also need to espouse the business-oriented archival descriptions where private organizations are concerned to identify relevant archival materials and to promote participatory archival descriptions that would allow the creators to tag their records with metadata. Digital information requires a proactive approach, that is, planning for the long-term preservation of the information before it is created. Private archives need to invest in education packages that will facilitate their clientele’s understanding of the challenges of digital long-term preservation. Research limitations/implications: The findings cannot be generalized to all private archival institutions, as it was only six institutions that participated, but the issues discussed are relevant to most archival institutions. Practical implications: A lot of research has been carried out in the area of long-term preservation, but researchers have not paid enough attention to the woes of the private archives. To sustain a nuanced national narrative, the private archives need all the support to be able to live up to their mission of preserving archives of the private sector that are not captured by the public archival institutions. This is important in a pluralistic society such as Sweden. Highlighting the challenges might enable the institutions to work towards finding common challenges. Social implications: The private archives are part of Sweden’s national heritage. Their preservation matters to the society as a whole and to enhancing the voices of the underrepresented. Originality/value: The literature review revealed that not much research has paid attention to the challenges being faced by the private archives. This paper, therefore, contributes to this knowledge gap. 

Keywords
Archival repository, Business-oriented archival descriptions, Digital information, Long-term preservation, Participatory archival descriptions, Private archives
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33710 (URN)10.1108/RMJ-01-2016-0003 (DOI)2-s2.0-85032486920 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-16 Created: 2017-11-16 Last updated: 2017-11-16Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2014). Exploring Two Approaches to Information Management: two Swedish municipalities as examples. In: vom Brocke, Jan, Simons, Alexander (Ed.), Enterprise Content Management in Information Systems Research: Foundations, Methods and Cases (pp. 217-235). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring Two Approaches to Information Management: two Swedish municipalities as examples
2014 (English)In: Enterprise Content Management in Information Systems Research: Foundations, Methods and Cases / [ed] vom Brocke, Jan, Simons, Alexander, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2014, p. 217-235Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2014
Series
Progress in IS, ISSN 2196-8705
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28028 (URN)978-3-642-39715-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-08-06 Created: 2015-08-06 Last updated: 2015-08-07Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2014). Information and records management systems and the impact of information culture on the management of public information. (Doctoral dissertation). Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Information and records management systems and the impact of information culture on the management of public information
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The information society and the paperless office are by now two timeworn metaphors of contemporary society, where information is considered as the main asset and vehicle for economic, cultural and political achievements, enhanced by the use of information technology. Though information is considered an important asset not much attention is paid to its management. We currently witness a transformation in the information landscape, traditional modes of communication, work and daily life. This development is also affecting the performance of governments and other public institutions, and thus impacting their interactions with citizens. The political, administrative and technological challenges have affected information and records management practices and have brought about new requirements on the creation and management of information. Furthermore, increased demand from citizens for efficient service delivery from public sector organizations has had implications for the information that underpins those services. e-Government initiatives are being promoted in many countries. What is central to e-Government is the effective use of information and information communication technologies. The overall aim of the research was to establish if the two Swedish municipalities and a municipality in Belgium that provided case studies, were meeting with the new demands on information management and if they were embracing a proactive and holistic approach amidst e-Government development. The municipalities that were subjects of this research were engaged in eGovernment development. The overall aim was achieved by critically examining the interface between Enterprise Content Management and records management and the role information culture played in the management of public records. The research was pursued using qualitative methods. Case studies were employed because they offer a deeper understanding of the phenomenon being researched. The research instrumentally used the lens of the Records Continuum Model (RCM) to analyze the information activities of the municipalities. This is because the RCM promotes the management of the entire records’ continuum, a proactive approach, combines the management of archives and records management activities and supports the pluralisation (use of records in different contexts and by different stakeholders) of the captured records. It also used Oliver’s (2011) framework for assessing information culture. Furthermore, the research highlights the information management challenges that the municipalities are facing as they engage in e-Government development. vii The results of the research have revealed that despite e-Government initiatives, the management of information is still a challenge. The municipalities have a strong legal framework that regulates the management of public information and to a certain degree knowledge about how effective information management could be achieved. However, the people issues complicate and minimise leveraging information and the information systems in a manner that would promote the effective creation, use and management of information. This is likely to compromise the e-Government objectives of increased accountability, transparency, efficiency and the municipal employees’ competence development. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was not known in the municipalities. This research has identified the differences between ECM and Records Management and highlighted the overlapping areas between ECM and the information management strategies of the municipalities. It further confirms that information culture is an important component of effective information and records management. Though a lot of investment is being made in information management systems, the people issues need to be equally addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, 2014. p. 181
Series
University of Amsterdam dissertations
Keywords
Enterprise Content Management, Records Management, EGovernment, Organizational Culture and Information Culture
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33044 (URN)
Available from: 2017-07-12 Created: 2017-07-12 Last updated: 2017-07-12Bibliographically approved
Svärd, P. (2014). Information Culture in Three Municipalities and Its Impact on Information Management amidst E-Government Development.. IFLA journal, 40(1), 48-59
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Information Culture in Three Municipalities and Its Impact on Information Management amidst E-Government Development.
2014 (English)In: IFLA journal, ISSN 0340-0352, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 48-59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28035 (URN)10.1177/0340035214526534 (DOI)2-s2.0-84897762094 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-08-06 Created: 2015-08-06 Last updated: 2015-08-07Bibliographically approved
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