Understanding Contextual and Technical Considerations through an Archival Science Lens

The blockchain (aka distributed ledger technology) is a publicly-accessible ledger that records transactions of digital value that runs on a distributed network. It has been up since 2008 in the form of the Bitcoin blockchain. This research project investigates a number of research questions to which the use of blockchain (and distributed ledger) technology for recordkeeping gives rise with particular reference to the sociotechnical context of supply chain management. Areas to be explored include what are the types of records to be generated/being generated in a supply chain management blockchain solutions; how the records to be being accessed, managed, secured and preserved; interdependencies among systems; the social, political, legal, and institutional issues that arise in different contexts from the use of blockchain technology to generate and manage records for supply chain management; the contextual conditions under which the use of blockchain technology for recordkeeping in supply chain management can best be successful; changes/adaptations to laws and regulations that may be needed to accommodate blockchain approaches; and changes in the design of blockchain recordkeeping solutions that may be needed to ensure that important rights supported by records and recordkeeping (i.e., identity and protection of privacy) will be protected.  Methodologies to be used to complete the research include Organizational Systems Analysis (OSA), comprised of Contextual Analysis, Functional Analysis and Work Process Analysis using BPMN; diplomatic analysis; semi-structured interviews, and textual analysis. The research aims to understand the application of archival theory and principles to blockchain recordkeeping, as well as to extend archival theory through its application to a new recordkeeping context.