Special Issue "Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping"

A special issue of Computers (ISSN 2073-431X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Victoria Lemieux
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Information, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Interests: blockchain technology; trustworthy records; records and information management; risk management; information visualization and visual analytics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Records provide evidence of business processes, activities, and transactions and are information assets. Distributed ledger technologies (DLT), including blockchains, combine the use of cryptography and distributed networks to achieve a novel form of record creation designed for tamper resistance and immutability. Over the past several years, these capabilities have made DLTs, including blockchains, increasingly popular as a general-purpose technology used for recordkeeping in a variety of sectors and industry domains, yet many open challenges and issues, both theoretical and applied, remain. This Special Issue of Computers focuses on exploring the frontiers of blockchain/DLT and recordkeeping. We invite submissions of original research work covering novel theories, innovative methods, and meaningful applications that can potentially lead to significant advances in blockchain/DLT and recordkeeping, including but not limited to: 

- Ontologies, taxonomies and typologies of blockchain/DLT and recordkeeping;

- Archival science theory and the design of blockchain/DLT record systems;

- Creation of authoritative blockchain/DLT records, including:

  • Authenticity of records;
  • Reliability of records;
  • Integrity of records;
  • Usability/discoverability of records;

- Using blockchain/DLT as records systems (e.g., in real estate transactions, supply chain management, healthcare);

- Semantic interoperability in blockchain/DLT record systems;

- Data and record quality in blockchain/DLT systems;

- Applications of artificial intelligence and blockchain/DLT for recordkeeping;

- Application of blockchain/DLT to records management functions (e.g., retention scheduling and appraisal);

- Long-term preservation of records and blockchain/DLT;

- E-discovery, digital records forensics and blockchain/DLT;

- Data protection, privacy and blockchain/DLT;

- Distributed records storage and blockchain/DLT;

- Security of records using blockchain/DLT.

Dr. Victoria Lemieux
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Computers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Distributed ledger technology
  • Records
  • Recordkeeping
  • Records management
  • Computational archival science

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Using Blockchain to Ensure Trust between Donor Agencies and NGOs in Under-Developed Countries
Computers 2021, 10(8), 98; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10080098 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in under-developed countries are receiving funds from donor agencies for various purposes, including relief from natural disasters and other emergencies, promoting education, women empowerment, economic development, and many more. Some donor agencies have lost their trust in NGOs in under-developed [...] Read more.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in under-developed countries are receiving funds from donor agencies for various purposes, including relief from natural disasters and other emergencies, promoting education, women empowerment, economic development, and many more. Some donor agencies have lost their trust in NGOs in under-developed countries, as some NGOs have been involved in the misuse of funds. This is evident from irregularities in the records. For instance, in education funds, on some occasions, the same student has appeared in the records of multiple NGOs as a beneficiary, when in fact, a maximum of one NGO could be paying for a particular beneficiary. Therefore, the number of actual beneficiaries would be smaller than the number of claimed beneficiaries. This research proposes a blockchain-based solution to ensure trust between donor agencies from all over the world, and NGOs in under-developed countries. The list of National IDs along with other keys would be available publicly on a blockchain. The distributed software would ensure that the same set of keys are not entered twice in this blockchain, preventing the problem highlighted above. The details of the fund provided to the student would also be available on the blockchain and would be encrypted and digitally signed by the NGOs. In the case that a record inserted into this blockchain is discovered to be fake, this research provides a way to cancel that record. A cancellation record is inserted, only if it is digitally signed by the relevant donor agency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping)
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Article
Digital Archives Relying on Blockchain: Overcoming the Limitations of Data Immutability
Computers 2021, 10(8), 91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10080091 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Archives, both analogue and digital, are primarily concerned with preserving records as originals. Because of this, immutable data as used in a blockchain data structure seem a logical choice when designing such systems. At the same time, archives maintain records which may need [...] Read more.
Archives, both analogue and digital, are primarily concerned with preserving records as originals. Because of this, immutable data as used in a blockchain data structure seem a logical choice when designing such systems. At the same time, archives maintain records which may need to change over the long term. It is a requirement of archival preservation to be able to update records’ metadata in order not only to guarantee authenticity after digital preservation actions but also to ensure that relationships to other records, which might be created after an original record has entered the archive (and has been registered in a blockchain), can be maintained. The need to maintain an archival bond, which represents a network of relationships between aggregation of records, i.e., the relationship connecting previous and subsequent records belonging to the same activity, is a prime example of this requirement. This paper explores realisation of the archival bond in the context of blockchain-based archival system by proposing a supporting database system which enables metadata to be changed as required but also significantly simplifies searching compared to searching on-chain information, while keeping the immutability characteristic of blockchain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping)
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Article
Research and Development of Blockchain Recordkeeping at the National Archives of Korea
Computers 2021, 10(8), 90; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10080090 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
In 2019, the National Archives of Korea (NAK) developed a blockchain recordkeeping platform to conduct R&D on recordkeeping approaches. This paper introduces two types of R&D studies that have been conducted thus far. The first is the use of blockchain transaction audit trail [...] Read more.
In 2019, the National Archives of Korea (NAK) developed a blockchain recordkeeping platform to conduct R&D on recordkeeping approaches. This paper introduces two types of R&D studies that have been conducted thus far. The first is the use of blockchain transaction audit trail technology to ensure the authenticity of audiovisual archives, i.e., the application of blockchain to a new system. The second uses blockchain technology to verify whether the datasets of numerous information systems built by government agencies are managed without forgery or tampering, i.e., the application of blockchain to an existing system. Government work environments globally are rapidly shifting from paper records to digital. However, the traditional recordkeeping methodology has not adequately kept up with these digital changes. Despite the importance of responding to digital changes by incorporating innovative technologies such as blockchain in recordkeeping practices, it is not easy for most archives to invest funds in experiments on future technologies. Owing to the Korean government’s policy of investing in digital transformation, NAK’s blockchain recordkeeping platform has been developed, and several R&D tasks are underway. Hopefully, the findings of this study will be shared with archivists around the world who are focusing on the future of recordkeeping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping)
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Article
Prototyping a Smart Contract Based Public Procurement to Fight Corruption
Computers 2021, 10(7), 85; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10070085 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 750
Abstract
Corruption in public procurement is a worldwide appearance that causes immense financial and reputational damages. Especially in developing countries, corruption is a widespread issue due to secrecy and lack of transparency. An important instrument for transparency and accountability assurance is the record which [...] Read more.
Corruption in public procurement is a worldwide appearance that causes immense financial and reputational damages. Especially in developing countries, corruption is a widespread issue due to secrecy and lack of transparency. An important instrument for transparency and accountability assurance is the record which is managed and controlled by recordkeeping systems. Blockchain technology and more precisely blockchain-based smart contracts are emerging technological tools that can be used as recordkeeping systems and a tool to mitigate some of the fraud involving public procurement records. Immutability, transparency, distribution and automation are some of the features of smart contracts already implemented in several applications to avoid malicious human interference. In this paper, we discuss some of the frauds in public procurement, and we propose smart contracts to automatize different stages of the public procurement procedure attempting to fix their biggest current weaknesses. The processes we have focused on include the bidding process, supplier habilitation and delivery verification. In the three subprocesses, common irregularities include human fallibility, improper information disclosure and hidden agreements which concern not only governments but also civil society. To show the feasibility and usability of our proposal, we have implemented a prototype that demonstrates the process using sample data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping)
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Review

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Review
Distributed Interoperable Records: The Key to Better Supply Chain Management
Computers 2021, 10(7), 89; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/computers10070089 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
The global supply chain is a network of interconnected processes that create, use, and exchange records, but which were not designed to interact with one another. As such, the key to unlocking the full potential of supply chain management (SCM) technologies is achieving [...] Read more.
The global supply chain is a network of interconnected processes that create, use, and exchange records, but which were not designed to interact with one another. As such, the key to unlocking the full potential of supply chain management (SCM) technologies is achieving interoperability across participating records systems and networks. We review existing research and solutions using distributed ledger technology (DLT) and provide a survey of its current state of practice. We additionally propose a holistic solution: a DLT-based interoperable future state that could enable the interoperable, efficient, reliable, and secure exchange of records with integrity. Finally, we provide a gap analysis between our proposed future state and the current state, which also serves as a gap analysis for many fractional DLT-based SCM solutions and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping)
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