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Digitizing - Authenticity

Q. How should I deal with issues of trust and authenticity?

Though the concepts of trust and authenticity are different, they often work hand in hand. In order to establish trust in a digital collection, you must be able to prove the authenticity of the items in the collection. Authenticity is established by being able to produce the evidence that the item is what you say it is. In digitization efforts, this involves – at the very least – retaining information about the original document,and how and where it was scanned in your metadata records. Using a preservation standard such as PREMIS can make these tasks easier.


Take action

  • Collect and store information about the physical item's history (provenance)
  • Collect and store information about how the item was digitized



Calls for further definition of requirements for digital authenticity and the associated assessment of mechanisms being offered in order to hasten the development of trusted and widely adopted solutions.
Arose from a project intended to begin a discussion among different communities that have a stake in the authenticity of digital information and to create a common understanding of key concepts surrounding authenticity and of the terms various communities use to articulate them.
Designed as a set of criteria to facilitate the certification of digital repositories as being trustworthy.
Includes a position paper, interviews, feedback from an expert roundtable, and a case study.
From the Abstract: "This paper proposes steps that the institution can take to insure the availability of authentic digital objects in the future.  In this proposal, authenticity is based on definitions from archival diplomatics and relies on methods from public key cryptography for digitally signing an object with a secure time stamp. Trustworthy processes, re-definition of traditional roles, and the implementation of technologies to support authenticity are all required to meet the needs of digital scholarship.  Implementation and policy issues are discussed with specific attention to transformations required of the archival institution and the professional archivist."
  • Kelton, K., Fleischmann, K., & Wallace, W. Trust in Digital Information. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Volume 59, no. 3 (2008): 363–374.
  • MacNeil, Heather. Legal, Historical, and Diplomatic Perspectives. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000.
Describes two sets of requirements: one includes requirements that support the presumption of the authenticity of electronic records before they are transferred to the preserver’s custody; the other includes requirements that support the production of authentic copies of electronic records after they have been transferred to the preserver’s custody.
Explores the role of evidence within the certification process for trusted digital repositories and identifies examples of the types of evidence that might be desirable during the course of a repository audit.
Describes the rules, standards, and procedures the UN follows when digitizing records. This standard focuses on maintaining record authenticity.

Last updated on 08/27/13, 12:13 pm by callee



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