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  • ARCHIVAL LAW FROM THE TRENCHES: THE IMPACT OF ARCHIVAL

    LEGISLATION ON RECORDS MANAGEMENT IN COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES

    by

    Elaine Mei Yee Goh

    MAS, The University of British Columbia, 2002

    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF

    THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

    in

    THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES

    (Library, Archival and Information Studies)

    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

    (Vancouver)

    April 2016

    © Elaine Mei Yee Goh, 2016

  • ii

    Abstract

    Archival legislation in several Commonwealth countries provides the national archives

    with the statutory mandate to manage and preserve government records. The archival literature

    recognizes that archival legislation lags behind advances in technology and that it is often not

    robust enough to support the management and preservation of records. However, there is a lack

    of empirical research on how archival legislation is operationalized within specific socio-

    political, cultural, and juridical contexts, and on the perceptions of archivists and records

    managers about such operationalization.

    This dissertation addresses how the operationalization of archival legislation in the UK,

    Canada, and Singapore influences its effectiveness in the implementation of records management

    programs. The study takes into account the common law system based on an intergovernmental

    organization, the Commonwealth, as well as the different socio-political and cultural contexts of

    the countries. To explore the shared and varying views that archivists and records managers have

    on archival legislation, the study largely employs interpretivist perspectives and hermeneutic

    principles to examine interviews conducted with archivists and records managers, selected

    legislation, normative sources, and other documentary sources related to the enactment of

    archival legislation.

    The findings of this research suggest that archival legislation operates in the context of a

    patchwork constituted by other records-related legislation and normative sources, and that there

    are complexities involved in making amendments to such legislation. There are also

    organizational culture issues that stem from the institutional relationships between the national

    archives and government departments and the individual-level relationships of archivists and

    records managers. These issues can enable and constrain the delivery of a records management

  • iii

    program. Additionally, the joint responsibilities in recordkeeping and record preservation held by

    the national archives and other departments that have an interest in information management

    result in a collaboration constraint and have contributed to a perceived lack of leadership on the

    part of the national archives in records management. The study concludes with recommendations

    for the decoupling of archival national institutions from national archival legislation, and for a

    comprehensive regulation of all aspects of records creation, maintenance, and preservation in the

    public sector.

  • iv

    Preface

    This dissertation is based on original, independent research carried out by the author, Elaine Mei

    Yee Goh. Some of the literature review discussed in Chapter 2 was presented by the author at the

    Memory of the world in digital age: Digitization and preservation – An international conference

    on permanent access to digital documentary heritage in Vancouver, Canada, September 2012. In

    addition, parts of Chapter 2 and Chapter 5 were drawn from two encyclopedia entries written by

    the author on archival legislation and organizational culture from the Encyclopedia of Archival

    Science published in 2015. The interviews discussed in Chapter 4 and 5 were covered by The

    University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board Certificate H12-03267.

  • v

    Table of Contents

    Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii�

    Preface ........................................................................................................................................... iv�

    Table of Contents ...........................................................................................................................v�

    List of Figures .............................................................................................................................. xii�

    List of Abbreviations ................................................................................................................. xiii�

    Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................... xvi�

    Dedication ................................................................................................................................. xviii�

    Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................................1�

    1.1� Overview ............................................................................................................................ 1�

    1.2� Research Problem Statement ............................................................................................. 1�

    1.3� Research Statement ............................................................................................................ 7�

    1.4� Research Questions ............................................................................................................ 8�

    1.5� Research Contexts .............................................................................................................. 9�

    1.5.1� UK ............................................................................................................................... 9�

    1.5.2� Canada....................................................................................................................... 13�

    1.5.3� Singapore .................................................................................................................. 14�

    1.6� Summary of Methodology and Methods ......................................................................... 15�

    1.7� Citation Style ................................................................................................................... 16�

    1.8� Overview of the Dissertation ........................................................................................... 17�

    Chapter 2: Literature Review and Theoretical Perspectives ...................................................18�

    2.1� Key Concepts and Definitions ......................................................................................... 18�

  • vi

    2.2� Archival Science Literature ............................................................................................. 19�

    2.2.1� Background on Modern Archival Legislation .......................................................... 20�

    2.2.2� The Historical Development of Archival Legislation in the UK, Canada, and

    Singapore .............................................................................................................................. 23�

    2.2.2.1� UK ...................................................................................................................... 23�

    2.2.2.2� Canada................................................................................................................ 36�

    2.2.2.3� Singapore ........................................................................................................... 45�

    2.2.3� Overview of International and Comparative Studies on Archival Legislation ......... 51�

    2.2.4� Overview of Case Studies on Archival and Records-related Legislation ................. 56�

    2.2.5� Research Studies Relating to Law and Recordkeeping ............................................ 61�

    2.2.6� Archival Concepts in Relation to Archival and Records-related Legislation ........... 63�

    2.3� Law and Technological Development ............................................................................. 70�

    2.4� Statutory Interpretation .................................................................................................... 71�

    2.5� Organizational Culture ..................................................................................................... 72�

    2.6� Theoretical Perspective .................................................................................................... 76�

    2.6.1� Ricoeur’s Theory of Interpretation ........................................................................... 76�

    2.6.1.1� Concept of a Text ............................................................................................... 77�

    2.6.1.2� Dialectic of Explanation and Understanding ..................................................... 81�

    2.6.1.3� Application to Study and Archival Science ................