John McDonald: I'm representing professor Luciana Duranti, who is with the school of library, archives and information studies at The University of British Columbia. She is the project director responsible for a project called ITrust, which has 200 players, over 50 partners, and so on, is looking specifically at the issues around how do you build a trusted environment for the exchange of, and management of, digital records in an online environment?
Fiorella Foscarini: We are concerned about the born-digital records, or records that don't have, sometimes, a paper counterpart. Imagine the Facebook, blogs—you cannot visualize these as paper objects. But we're also concerned about digitized material, because of the lifespan of the technology and the medium. And it's also a question of trust. When you put in the network your material, when things are outside of your own control—because you use the clouds or systems that are outside of your organization, of your own control—how can you trust these?
Fiorella Foscarini For me as an academic, it's really great to have the opportunity to directly talk to the people who are experiencing these problems, because I am learning a lot from the discussion with the practitioners, with those who really struggle every day to maintain this material.
John McDonald: There are partners who are academic institutions that are bringing their theoretical frameworks and their research together to contribute to this, but there are also organizations in the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, the government sector, who are also engaged in this, because they see the product of what is being developed, and this is everything ranging from contributions to laws, to standards and practices that could be employed in organizations right through to functional requirements for systems so that they can actually respect the requirements for managing digital records, and on into support to education programs to be able to ensure that we've got folks who are coming out of universities and other avenues who can provide the capacity to organizations to manage records.
So…the hope is that we're going to come up with global solutions, solutions that can be shared. And they can influence international law. They can influence, as they have in the past, international standards.
Fiorella Foscarini: I think that this project will help the practitioners out there to be more visible in their organizations, and to show that what they do is so vital.