Department of Culture and Learning

Call for speakers

Call for Speakers: “What is a Record?” - Opening Conference: “Digitization and the Future of Archives” - International IRFD Network

Deadline for summary of presentation:
24 November 2018

The aim of this IRFD Network Digitization and the Future of Archives (2018-2021), is to create a viable forum where Nordic, European and international researchers and practitioners can meet. The network aims to develop a common understanding of core concepts such as ‘record’, and find ways to meet the core challenges related to the definition of authenticity and evidence in the digital age, which incorpo-rates reflections on the practice of creating and keeping records in different organizational and national contexts.

The Network’s Opening Conference: “What is a Record?” launches the Network and invites archivists and other information practitioners as well as researchers within the field of archival science and records management to join our discussions. The theme of this first conference is based on the idea that the way we define records ultimately connects to the question of what we can and want to do with our past in the future. It also points to the fact that all stages or phases in the life of a record have become intrinsically interwoven and interdependent in the digital age. A general conceptual understanding of what constitutes a record is a prerequisite for common discussions and exchange of knowledge between archivists, records managers (the practitioners) and archival scientists. Today researchers and practi-tioners generally agree that the making of records is closely connected to actions undertaken by people, acting as a function of an organizational system and that this may be influenced by a specific cultural and societal context and its digital systems. 

This basic understanding of what constitutes a record, however, raises topical questions like whether all kinds of information may become a record; or is it only some kind of privileged information that qualifies as a record? When exactly will information become a record (the point of capture)? Who should and will be empowered to differentiate between what is classified merely as information and what is a record? We thus aim to gather experience and research reflecting different forms of practice and finding inspi-ration in different archival theories in order to enhance and deepen our understanding of the concept record.
We are therefore seeking proposals for presentations on this theme, based in both theory and/or practice. Presentations might, for example, engage with the following questions:

  • What is a record in archival theory? 
  • What is a record in practice (e.g. local, regional or national case studies)? 
  • In what ways may visual and audio documents challenge our understanding of ‘record’? 
  • When is a record? 
  • How to differentiate between data, information and records? 
  • What is an authentic record in a digital context? 
  • How can the records creator impact upon the records? 
  • What is the role of the archivist in preserving records? 
  • Which records do we aim to preserve for posterity? 
  • Who decides which records to preserve? And for whom? 
  • Should future users be invited into the decision process? 
  • Are there any alternative and better concepts than ‘record’?

Summaries of presentations must be submitted using the link below and must not exceed 400 words (one page including all notes and references).

Final presentations are to be given at the Opening conference held on 17 and 18 January 2019 and are expected to not exceed 20 minutes (the final program will be released in early December 2018). The IRFD network aim to publish the best presentations from our network meetings and conferences. We may thus invite you to write a full paper based on the oral presentation at the opening conference.

Questions regarding summaries and presentations should be directed to Marianne Paasch.


Submission deadline for summary of presentation: 10 November 2018 Decision of acceptance: 30 November 2018. 

Final presentation: Opening Conference: 17-18 January 2019. 

► Please submit summary here (See instructions below)

Download call for speakers 



  1. Login to the conference submission page.
    a) Existing users of EasyChair may login to EasyChair using their existing “user name” and “password” (e.g., if you have previously submitted an abstract for an-other conference using EasyChair).
    b) New users must sign up for an EasyChair account on the EasyChair website.
  2. When logged into EasyChair click on the ”New Submission” button in the top left corner.
  3. Please fill in the mandatory information under ”Authors” for all authors of the paper/panel (please have the following information ready before you start the submission: name, email address, institutional affiliation of all authors). NB! Only authors marked as “corresponding authors” will receive notifications about the submission.
  4. Insert the title of your summary.
  5. Paste your summary text into the online form (max. 400 words including all notes and references).
  6. Add ”Keywords” (minimum three keywords on separate lines).
  7. Click on the ”Submit” button.
  8. (You may revise the summary and author information etc. until the submission deadline).
  9.  Please do not upload a file with your summary IMPORTANT NOTICE Please note that acceptance notifications will be sent via EasyChair. Unfortunately, emails from Easy-Chair are often caught in spam filters so please make sure that you check your spam filter and change your email settings so that EasyChair emails are never blocked.


Conference coordinator Marianne Paasch

Conference secretary Berit Hvidberg Christensen

More about the conference