Spokeswoman Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (BStU)
Safeguarding Democracy. Lessons from the Stasi Records Archive
Owing its existence and immediate opening to the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany in 1989 the Stasi Records Archive has enabled public dialogue about the communist past for almost 30 years. It was conceived as a mechanism to address crimes and injustices of the communist regime for the transitional justice process in the united Germany. Accessing the Stasi records, that were in this context perceived as documentation of human rights violations, enabled discussions about responsibility for injustices, respect for victims, transparency about hidden connections to the secret police, and research and education about the mechanisms of dictatorship. Along its ground-breaking path the Stasi Records Archive, officially named Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, acquired a permanent place in the German archival landscape with a special mission. Even though it will for some time continue to help the victims’ need to address injustices, it also actively shapes the nation’s dialogue about democracy and the values of human rights in general and the dangers of state surveillance in particular.
Dagmar Hovestädt is the spokeswoman of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records. With the Fall of the Wall she started her journalistic career in public television in Berlin where she covered stories on the development and conflicts of German unification. In 2000 she relocated to California to work for German TV from there, covering current affairs, technology and political developments in the U.S. In March 2011 she returned to Berlin to take on her current post where as part of her communication duties for the archive she connects the archive experience internationally. Hovestädt studied journalism, political science, and film in Mainz, Boulder, CO, and Berlin, completing with a Master’s Degree from the Freie Universität Berlin. She is a Fulbright alumnae and a Burns alumnae, as well as a member and co-founder of Netzwerk Recherche and member of the board of directors of Correctiv.
Digital Director, National Archives, UK
At The National Archives in the UK we have been thinking carefully about what it means to be an archive in the 21st century. Until quite recently the idea of an archive, what it is and what it does, stemmed from the physical nature of the record. Records are selected, because paper is expensive to keep, and because it is individual artefacts that are perceived to have historical value. They are preserved by institutions set-up specifically for the purpose – archives – which are resourced to look after documents in carefully controlled physical environments, to mitigate the degradation of the collections over time. Public access is logically then best provided by those same institutions – the reader simply visits the archive where the paper is being stored and preserved.
Digital records fundamentally change the assumptions underpinning the archive – from selection to preservation and access. Our challenge is to create a new body of archival practice for the digital age and to do so, not once, but to continually re-make our practice with and for each generation of technological change. That is the mission of the disruptive digital archive. In this presentation, John Sheridan, the Digital Director of The National Archives will address this challenge, identifying the key areas of current digital archival practice ripe for disruption and change.
John Sheridan is the Digital Director at The National Archives, with overall responsibility for the organisation’s digital services and digital archiving capability. His role is to provide strategic direction, developing the people and capability needed for The National Archives to become a disruptive digital archive.
John’s academic background is in mathematics and information technology, with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Southampton and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Liverpool.
Prior to his current role, John was the Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives where he led the team responsible for creating legislation.gov.uk, as well overseeing the operation of the official Gazette. John recently led, as Principal Investigator, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project, ‘big data for law’, exploring the application of data analytics to the statute book, winning the Halsbury Legal Award for Innovation.
John has a strong interest in the web and data standards and is a former co-chair of the W3C e-Government Interest Group. He serves on the UK Government’s Data Leaders group and Open Standards Board which sets data standards for use across government. John was an early pioneer of open data and remains active in that community.
Altingets ombudsmand, Island
De islandske bankers kollaps 2008 – dokumenterne
Da alle de store islandske banker kollapsede i 2008 med den dermed forbundne økonomiske krise, spurgte almenheden: Hvorfor skete dette? Havde bankerne snydt? Og hvad med Finanstilsynet, Nationalbanken, regeringen og embedsmændene? Altinget oprettede en særlig undersøgelseskommission for at belyse forhistorien og årsagerne til krisen. Kommissionens første opgave var at finde kilder – dokumenter. Hvordan havde forvaltningen registreret og bevaret dokumenter om arbejdet på dette felt? Og hvilke oplysninger kunne hentes i bankerne? Kommissionens undersøgelse viste, at der var behov for at skærpe reglerne om registrering og arkivering af sagsdokumenter i forvaltningen og bl.a. hos regeringen. Ny teknik i kommunikation, f.eks. e-mail og databaser, havde også betydning. Kan det være at bevidstheden om baggrunden for og formålet med bevaring og arkivering af dokumenter og oplysninger er svindende hos forvaltningen?
Tryggvi Gunnarsson er islandsk jurist og har været Altingets ombudsmand fra 1998. Han var medlem af Altingets undersøgelseskommission om forhistorien og årsager til bankkrisen i Island 2008 (2009-2010). Før var han bl.a. advokat i Reykjavik (1990-1998), særlig juridisk assistent hos Altingets ombudsmand (1989) og byretsdommer i Reykjavik (1988), assistent for dommere i Islands Højesteret (1984-1986), fuldmægtig og afdelingschef i landbrugsministeriet (1982-1984). Han har undervist på kurser og været adjunkt ved Islands Universitet. Tryggvi tog videregående studier i ejendomsret ved Oslo Universitet 1986-1987 og har skrevet artikler om juridiske spørgsmål og om Ombudsmandens arbejde.