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Friday, December 30, 2011

TRAC: A3.7: Transparency

A3.7 Repository commits to transparency and accountability in all actions supporting the operation and management of the repository, especially those that affect the preservation of digital content over time.

Transparency is the best assurance that the repository operates in accordance with accepted standards and practice. Transparency is essential to accountability, and both are achieved through active, ongoing documentation. The repository should be able to document its efforts to make information about its development, implementation, evolution, and performance available and accessible to relevant stakeholders. The usual means of communication an organization uses to provide significant news and updates to stakeholders should suffice for meeting this requirement.

Evidence: Comprehensive documentation that is readily accessible to stakeholders; unhindered access to content and associated information within repository.

This might be an easy requirement for ICPSR to meet.  Since we're an "active archive" rather than a "dark archive" (as some would say), we have regular interaction with our designate community.  This takes place in the form of downloads from our web site, mailings and blog posts about ICPSR news and events, regular meetings with our Council and our Organizational Representatives, and many other channels.

ICPSR's internal workings are documented in great detail in both paper form and on our Intranet.  These documents serve to train new employees, students, and interns during the summer.  And since there is always room for improvement, we are working to improve transparency as we develop FLAME, our next-generation, file-level archive management system.

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