VINNOVA, the Swedish Research and Innovation Agency, had sought a system for long-term preservation
of electronic information for a long while. When they found out there was a newly developed system for
this kind of preservation, they took the lead and were first to invest in Long-Term Archive.

When VINNOV A was established over ten years ago, they clearly stated their intention of staying a modern governmental agency. As Sweden’s agency for innovation, they have strived to show the way with their own working methods. They wanted electronic document and case management from the beginning and naturally, preserving paper documentation was never an alternative.

“Considering archiving, we have always kept our focus on obtaining an electronic long-term preservation system that improved access to all our documents”, says Lars Näslund, Senior IT Manager at VINNOVA.

Three years ago, the agency implemented Platina for all their case management. But early in the implementation project they decided to exclude archiving. The simple reason for this, then, was that no simple solution was available. So the agency first concentrated efforts on developing effective case management—but not for the following step, archiving.

“As the project progressed,” continued Mr. Näslund, “we learned that Formpipe had developed a new product that was the exact solution for us - a standardised way to archive all our documentation for long-term preservation. This couldn’t have been any better!”

Alternatives resource-demanding

Previously, the only alternative for governmental agencies was to specify their system requirements and develop electronic archives on their own, or more likely, with the help of consultants. This has always been costly. And most of these agencies generally lacked the skills needed to successfully implement
a long-tem preservation system. Doing so generally demands close collaboration between system developers and archivists. VINNOVA saw running such a resource-demanding project as unrealistic.

“We didn’t find any other archiving system on the market that offered us a real alternative. Either these were not sufficiently standardized for our operations or they were not designed to meet the requirements of the National Archives.

Electronic preservation – a paradigm shift

“In coming years, this will explode in the public sector”, noted Mr. Näslund. The amount of electronic information registeredin various operational systems is growing significantly today. One hundred years ago, Swedish governmental agencies implemented the significant change in the way they archived material with the nationwide archive scheme – a description of how governmental agencies should preserve their material. Now, the National Archives has changed this scheme to be a more process-oriented method of looking at document preservation. But it isn’t the process-oriented approach that will make the biggest difference, as future researchers will experience it. The biggest revolution is that agencies are now going over to electronic preservation of their documentation, creating entirely new possibilities to manage their archives and, most of all, to access them,” concludes Mr. Näslund.