Recordscape – a way to understand records use within a temporal work practice

Erik Borglund


In this paper I will introduce a concept called recordscape, inspired by the concept of documentscape by Christensen and Bjorn (2014). In the article the recordscape will be used as a way to present and analyze a record-dependent temporal work practice, the work carried out in a operation room during a large crisis or emergency situation. In this article empirical data based upon extensive ethnographical field studies of emergency and crisis management will be used to explain, further elaborate, and argue for the need to better understand records use in temporal work practices. During large crisis and emergency management situations, records are used internally in organizations, as well as external between organizations. The work carried out in an operation room is also the birthplace of records, records that may be important evidence during post-crisis evaluation or audit of the aftermath of the crisis. A challenge is that many records are never fully captured but still are used as evidential information sources within the emergency and crisis management work in their pre-record phase (or as named in the records continuum model, “traces of activities”). By applying the –scape to record the goal is to reach a better understanding the landscape in which records plays an important role both as evidence of activities and as information sources. In the article the recordscape will be further conceptualized.

This article contributes to deepen and widen the understanding of how records are used and the role records play in operational, time critical collaborative work practice that take place in operation rooms during a crisis. Such work practice has similarities to other temporal bounded work practices as e.g. projects, which make the result transferable to other contexts.


Erik Borglund, PhD in computer and system science, is an Associate professor at the department of information systems and technology at Mid Sweden University. Erik are involved in teaching on undergraduate and on graduate level in archival science and in information systems. His research interests cover the domains of digital recordkeeping, recordkeeping informatics, information systems in crisis management, information systems design and Computer Supported Cooperative Work. The primary research focus is recordkeeping and information management during time critical work (read large crisis). Erik Borglund was a sworn police officers for 20 years, before turning academic full-time.

Christensen, L. R., & Bjorn, P. (2014). Documentscape: intertextuality, sequentiality, & autonomy at work. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.