Research Questions and Findings of the Authenticity Task Force
- What are the elements that all electronic records share?
- What are the elements that allow us to differentiate between
different types of electronic records?
- Of those elements, which will permit us to verify their authenticity
- Are the elements for verifying authenticity over time the same
as those that permit us to verify their authenticity in time; that is, at the point at which they are originally
created and transmitted?
- Can the elements be removed from where they are currently found
to a place where they can more easily be preserved and still maintain the same validity?
The Authenticity Task Force developed a Template
for Analysis of electronic records on which it based its questionnaire (Case
Study Interview Protocol) for the case studies, and two
sets of authenticity requirements:
- Benchmark Requirements, which support the presumption of the authenticity of electronic records before they are
transferred to the preserver’s custody and
- Baseline Requirements, which support the production of authentic copies of electronic records after they have been
transferred to the preserver’s custody.
In addition, main findings of the Authenticity Task Force include
- Electronic records are deeply embedded within the specific juridical-administrative,
provenancial, procedural, documentary, and technological contexts in which they are created.
- Most contemporary records systems are a hybrid of electronic
and paper records.
- Few explicit measures are employed to ensure the authenticity
of electronic records.
- Measures that ensure authenticity are generally procedural.
- The only way of preserving authentic electronic records over
the long term is to make authentic copies of them.
- Archival description is the best method of collective authentication
of an archival aggregation of electronic records.
Task Force Final Report provides an account of all aspects of research in this domain, detailed explanations
and recommendations for further research.
Public documents for the Authenticity Task Force are located here.