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How do I ensure the authenticity of my content?

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.



  • Bearman, David and Jennifer Trant.  "Authenticity of Digital Resources: Towards a Statement of Requirements in the Research Process."  D-Lib Magazine 6 (1998). 

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.

  • Cullen, Charles T. et al.  "Authenticity in a Digital Environment."  Washington, DC: Council on Library and InformationResources, May 2000.  

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.

  • Dale, Robin L. and Bruce Ambacher.  "Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist."  Version 1.0.  Center for Research Libraries, February 2007.  

Designed as a set of criteria to facilitate the certification of digital repositories as being trustworthy.,15,15,B/l856~b2212602&FF=Xtrusted+repositories&searchscope=1&SORT=R&6,6,,1,0.

  • "Integrity and Authenticity of Digital Cultural Heritage Objects."  DigiCULT Thematic Issue 1. (August 2002).

Includes a position paper, interviews, feedback from an expert roundtable, and a case study.

  • Jantz, Ronald. "An Institutional Framework for Creating Authentic Digital Objects." International Journal of Digital Curation. Volume 4, no. 1 (2009).

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.
  • MacNeil, Heather, et al.  "Authenticity Task Force Report."  InterPARES (2002).  

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.

  • Ross, Seamus and Andrew McHugh.  "The Role of Evidence in Establishing Trust in Repositories." D-Lib Magazine 12 no. 7/8 (2006). 

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.

  • United Nations. Department of Management. Archives and Records Management Section. Standard. "Record-keeping Requirements for Digitization."  April 2009.

Describes the rules, standards, and procedures the UN follows when digitizing records. This standard focuses on maintaining record authenticity.


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