Media release: Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Information is the economic resource of the 21st century says David Fricker, who took up his role as President of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in Paris today.
As the first Australian elected to the prestigious position, Mr Fricker will also continue in his role as Director-General of the National Archives of Australia during his four-year term as head of ICA.
'The vast amount of information that we humans now make, keep, find and use, is what differentiates this century from other periods of our history,' he said. 'Information, and our control over it, defines the ability of governments to work with transparency, integrity and security; it also defines the extent to which individuals enjoy privacy, access to justice and prosperity.
'But, just as for any other valuable resource, information must be properly understood and carefully managed to completely achieve its full economic benefit.
'In a hyper-connected world that is flooded with data, it is essential to have access to reliable information that is authentic, complete, usable and accessible. In this, the role of archives and archival institutions is vital.
'Archivists have a deep understanding of information. We understand its vulnerabilities, its sensitivities and of course its long term value. We have a lot to offer to governments, business and to the broader community as they wrestle with the issues of the modern world and I know our contributions will be welcomed and appreciated.'
Mr Fricker believes too much discussion on Information policy is focused on technology alone, when aiming to meet the challenges of complex issues such as digitisation, big data and the globalised digital economy – as well as 'infopolitical' issues such as open government, national security, the right to information and individual privacy.
'While technology is of course the essential enabler, it is the data that matters,' he said. 'Technology must advance and be constantly replaced and refreshed, but archives must endure forever. The preservation of the world's digital heritage will require a sustained, coordinated effort and partnerships with many organisations across the world. The ICA must play its part.'
'With the ICA's growing strengths, the organisation is now poised to become increasingly influential across all spheres of industry, academia and government. I am proud to be president at a time when the world needs ICA to find solutions for the challenges that our digital world continues to create.'