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ONLY CO-OPERATION CAN PREVENT US FROM DROWNING
Interview von Jost van Kasteren, DigiCult, mit Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer anlässlich des 3. DLM-FORUM in Barcelona
Undercurrents at some stretches of the Atlantic coast are so strong that people only venture into the water while holding hands with each other. That image springs to mind when you hear Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer talk about the digital flood that threatens to drown us. ‘A threat that comes true unless, he says, ‘the ICT industry and the public sector co-operate in developing solutions for document life cycle management. A life cycle that not only comprises the generation and use, but also the long time availability and the guaranteed authenticity of documents.’
Dr. Kampffmeyer is director of Project Consult, a consulting company for both companies and public sector in the area of document related technology. He is also member of the board of AIIM, the Association for Image and Information Management and chairs the ICT-committee of DLM, an abbreviation that stands for ‘Donnees lisible par machine’ (machine readable data), but which Kampffmeyer likes to translate as ‘Document Lifecycle Management’. DLM-forum is a network initiated by the European Commission to stimulate co-operation and technology development in archiving.
According to Kampffmeyer the traditional problems of archiving are the kilometres of paper documents whose integrity is threatened by their fragility and a fading consistency. ‘These problems seem small when compared with the archiving problems, created by the use of new technology’, he says. ‘The volume of information is growing at an unprecedented pace. We already produce more information per year than we did in the whole period since we descended from the trees. A lot of this information is digital only, meaning it has no physical representation. That makes it much more volatile. An XML-document for instance is created while you view it. So how do you kept it?’
Although generating volatile information governments want to use these technologies to make their policies more transparent. Everyone must be able to look in our books, says Prodi, the president of the European Commission. He is not alone; even the government of the smallest village wants to be accessible for its citizens via Internet and email. Kampffmeyer: ‘A lot of projects are put into gear on all levels of government and most of them will fail, I’m afraid. Firstly because the new transparency cannot be created by technology alone; a fundamental change in the administrative organisation is needed. Secondly because there is not enough money provided. Ill-defined projects are tendered and the company with the lowest price gets it. That of course is no guarantee for success.’
‘Thirdly’, Kampffmeyer continues, ‘the technology is not ripe yet in the sense that it cannot live up to the demands of good governance. You can create electronic documents and you can keep them in an electronic archive. But for example, an electronic signature to authenticate a document is invalid after three years; the migration of data and the accompanying loss is still a problem unsolved and the history of electronic records can be tampered with quite easily. People from the industry can show you nice marketing slides or even run a nice project, but that is not the point. The point is that technology has to be embedded in organisations and procedures and that is certainly not the case yet.’
According to Kampffmeyer the technology is still in its infancy or, as he puts it, ‘at the beginning of its life cycle’. ‘Archives of physical documents are in existence for over 4000 years. Electronic documents exist for twenty years now. The people who develop the technologies haven’t made the mental transition yet from creating and using a document to the long term availability of that same document.’
To grow up the technology has to be fostered not only by companies but also by the public sector. ‘The industrial approach is always one-dimensional’, he says. ‘When there is a demand, they look for technical ways to fulfil that. If the public sector goes on issuing ill-defined projects it becomes a downward spiral of failure and frustration. The sensible thing to do is to try and develop standards, predefines structures, meta-data and formats for interchange through co-operation between the public sector and industry. Not on a local or national level, but on a European and even international level. Only through cooperation and coordination we can reach the goal that ‘electronic archives are the memory of the information society’, as Commissioner Liikaanen has put it.
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Seitentitel: Interview_DigiCult_2002, Zitierung: http://www.PROJECT-CONSULT.com/home.asp?SR=494
Zuletzt aktualisiert am: 14.7.2002
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