ID: 158

BOEL, Jens; GOH, Elaine; SENGSAVANG, Eng


Chief Archivist of UNESCO (since 1995); Coordinator of the UNESCO History Project (since 2004); Chief, Information Services Section, UNESCO (since 2012); Advisor to the Diasporic Literary Archives Project (from 2012); Director of the Transnational Team of the InterPARES Digital Trust (ITrust) Project (from 2013)

Jens Boel is active in international debates on the role of archives in societies and on cooperation between historians and archivists

Within the ICA Jens was Chair of the Section of International Organizations (SIO) and member of the ICA Executive Board (2000-2004 and 2008-2012). He was ICA Vice-President for Sections (2010-2012)


Elaine Goh is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her dissertation research focuses on the impact of archival legislation in records management in Commonwealth countries. Elaine's other research interests are on the management of digital records on the cloud and on organizational culture and behavior. Prior to starting her doctoral programme, Elaine worked at the National Archives of Singapore, where she last held the position of Assistant Director, Records Management


: Eng Sengsavang is completing a Dual Masters of Archival and Information Studies at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She has worked as Archivist for Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver, British Columbia and as an intern at the United Nations Archives and Records Management Section in New York, New York.


International organizationsuse of the cloud for records management purposes

Brief summary:

Extraterritoriality and inviolability of records are key concepts and principles of UN agencies and other international organizations. How and to what extent can these principles be respected if such organizations entrust electronic records to private cloud service providers? What are the consequences for control and possible abuse of the records?


Elaine Goh, Eng Sengsavang and Jens Boel work with other archivists and records managers on a research project that aims at answering the following questions:

a) What are the drivers and barriers for the deployment and use of cloud services by international organizations?

b) What are the associated risks to extraterritoriality and inviolability of records and archives when international organizations delegate their records to the Cloud?

c) How can risks be mitigated and benefits enhanced when/if international organizations decide to entrust their records to the Cloud?

d) How can the outsourcing of records of international organizations to the Cloud best be reconciled with the principles of extraterritoriality and inviolability?

This is a mixed method study, involving the following:

a) Literature review on the concepts of extraterritoriality and inalienability (from the legal, internet governance fields)

b) Surveys and interviews with relevant stakeholders (archivists, records managers, IT, auditors and legal professionals) from international organizations

c) Document analysis of relevant conventions, agreements and policies relating to the management and preservation of records and archives and/or information assets

The project timeline goes from Januar 2014 to April 2015. A survey will be conducted from June to August 2014 within ca. 20 UN agencies and other international organizations (among the above-mentioned stakeholders) and the results analyzed in September. At the proposed session at the ICA Annual Conference in Girona we propose to present results and insights from this survey. We expect that questions and discussions during this session will inspire the final phase of the research project.

Scientific contribution:

We expect that the final outcome of the project will be a reference document of interest for the archives and records management professional community around the world. Questions relating to the use of the Cloud and trust-issues relating to this are timely and relevant for all professionals and little is known about the situation of international organizations. In view of the specific status of archives and records management within international organizations, this study can shed light on the impact of cloud-services for records management in a new and innovative way.

From a scientific perspective, the diversity of participating stakeholders is particularly interesting. This will enable a multifaceted analysis, looking at digital records from a crossroads perspective and thereby help contextualizing issues and motivations relating to the use of the Cloud for records management purposes


International organizations; cloud; trust; inviolability of records; extraterritoriality; outsourcing; authenticity; integrity; context