Ny viden – gamle idéer: Elektroniske registre i den danske centraladministration [New Knowledge – Old Ideas: Electronic registers in the Danish Central Administration]

Else Hansen


Before the 1970s, registers were primarily used for individual reference, for which purpose paper registers are quite adequate. The first electronic registers rationalised the collection and availability of information and improved the possibilities of collecting statistics. In the 1970s, advanced statistics and prognoses were prerequisites for centralised social planning. From 1979 onwards, law regulated the use of electronic registers. This prevented the misuse of personal information concerning individuals. In the 1980s, processes and results that had previously been viewed as immeasurable, became better defined and were becoming measurable. At the same time as electronic registers were adapting to their new functions, they were still being used for individual references.

The study includes four case studies, each illustrating distinctive features in the history of electronic registers. With the registration of university students’ examinations, the Ministry was able to build up a result-orientated basis for the distribution of funds to the university, that is, the new register met new political needs. Establishing the Central Civil Registration meant that every citizen was given his/her own number which was used as an identi­fier in any state register concerning the citizens. Hence, pieces of information in different electronic registers could be combined. The Electronic Aliens Register replaced a huge paper register and made access to the register much easier for regional and state authorities than it had been previously. And finally, municipal autonomy made it difficult to establish the National Patient Registry. Local registers that referred to common guidelines had to be accepted in order for the registry to become functional.


electronic registration; Danish Government Administration; Central Office of Civil Registration; The National Patient Registry; Aliens Register; student registration; Data Protection Act; archival studies

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