3.1 Information policy in national heritage legislation and regulations

We analyse three documents central to Swedish archaeology: the Heritage Conservation Act (SFS 1988:950), the DH strategy for 2012-2015 (Regeringskansliet/Kulturdepartementet 2011) and Ordinance (2007:1184) with instructions for the Swedish National Heritage Board (our translation). The first two cover the entire heritage sector. The latter regulates the National Heritage Board, the government authority with coordinating and revision duties in the area of heritage and historic environments. The legislation and the ordinance are legally binding documents while the strategy, as a memorandum, is not. The strategy delineates a direction in which the Ministry of Culture expects authorities to work in order that the government can live up to legislative and political goals.

As a legislative act, the Heritage Conservation Act (1988:950) expresses the interests of society at large, and the contents have been accumulated and negotiated over many years. When it comes to information, the act is very brief. In chapter 2 § 13 it states that a CAB expects archaeological surveys to either document heritage objects or sites, collect objects, and disseminate survey results, or to preserve the heritage object or site. The procedures or forms of documentation are not further regulated by the act. Currently, the Heritage Conservation Act (SFS 1988:950) is limited to information policy on creation and dissemination of archaeological information. The dissemination concept could be interpreted as including long-term preservation, but also as only denoting the circulation of information, in line with the 'least-effort principle'. Later in the same paragraph the act states that surveys should be of good academic quality and be executed at a fair cost in relation to the prevailing circumstances. The concept 'good academic quality' is further developed in the Guidelines for implementation of the Heritage Conservation Act: Contract archaeology (chapter 2, 10-13 §§) (our translation), to which we will return in the section on policy for DL archaeology. The information policy articulated in the Heritage Conservation Act (SFS 1988:950) hence focuses on the creation and dissemination of information. The participants called upon are the CAB and an implied surveyor who creates and disseminates the documentation.

Note 4: As a part of the DH strategy, DIGISAM published the report Digital preservation at cultural heritage institutions - present situation and future needs [our translation, Swed. Digitalt bevarande vid kulturarvsinstitutioner - nulägesanalys och framtida behov] in August 2014.

The DH strategy operates on a meta-level, directing planning, coordination of priorities and revision of authorities' digital heritage information activities. The strategy regulates two kinds of actors directly; heritage authorities and the Coordination Secretariat for Digitization, Digital Preservation and Digital Dissemination (DIGISAM) [our translation, Swed. Samordningssekretariatet för digitalisering, digitalt bevarande och digitalt tillgöngliggörande]. Hence the strategy impacts archaeology unevenly: some of the organisations undertaking archaeological surveys and managing archaeology-related information in collections are authorities (e.g. the Swedish National Heritage Board, the National Historical Museum and the National Maritime Museums). Others are foundations, member associations, or private companies and are therefore only indirectly subject to the strategy. The authorities are instructed to establish guidelines for digital preservation and digital dissemination services and activities, collections, and archives. They are also to establish guidelines for the priorities of digitisation in these three areas. The institutions are expected to estimate the value and importance of digitisation of collections or archives from a public dissemination perspective (section 2.1). The Coordination Secretariat is expected to review the guidelines of authorities (section 2.1), to announce general guidelines with the aim of directing priorities and promoting application of common formats and standards. The Secretariat is also expected to suggest national guidelines in order to support coordinated and cost-effective digital information management in the heritage sector, and to propose an appropriate allocation of responsibilities among government institutions. Another responsibility of the Secretariat is to audit the annual Swedish submission of content to Europeana (section 2.2). The strategy, although it resides on a meta-level, expresses information policy that encompasses activities from creation and organisation to dissemination and preservation. The strategy emphasises dissemination as a central aspect of digitisation (primarily section 2.1). However, the strategy also integrates management decisions such as priorities and audits in its expressions of information policy (section 2.1 and 2.2) (note 4).

The ordinance with instructions for the National Heritage Board, by the nature of the document type, specifies tasks for the National Heritage Board. It states the responsibility to disseminate information on heritage environments, on heritage objects, and on the preservation of the same (3 §, pt 1). Furthermore, it sets out the tasks of curating national databases for heritage information and of keeping a library for research and development covering the topics heritage environments, archaeology, medieval art history, and numismatics (3 §, pt 6; 4 §, pt 8). The articulations of information policy in the ordinance are focused on information organisation and preservation (3 §, pt 6; 4 §, pt 8) and on dissemination (3 §, pt 1). However, the ordinance does not cover the National Heritage Board's entitlement to collect the documents or the information they need in order to disseminate information. The transfer of information to the National Heritage Board is declared in the guidelines for DL archaeology, but only as a set of guiding principles. As for the transfer of information from surveyors to document preservation institutions like the National Heritage Board, there is a gap, and it applies equally to digital and analogue documentation.