The goal of the InterPARES 1 Project was to develop the theoretical and methodological knowledge necessary for the permanent preservation of authentic records generated and/or maintained electronically. On the basis of this knowledge, the project aimed to formulate model policies, strategies and standards capable of ensuring that preservation.

In order to accomplish its goal, the research was divided into four domains of inquiry, each with its own goal and methodology:

Authenticity domain
To identify conceptual requirements for assessing and maintaining the authenticity of electronic records.
Two methodological approaches were adopted:
  1. a theoretical and deductive approach, based on contemporary archival diplomatics and
  2. an inductive and empirical approach that employed case studies selected on the basis of grounded theory to understand the records generated by a variety of existing electronic systems.

Appraisal domain
To determine whether the selection of electronic records should be based on the same or different criteria as those for traditional records and how digital technologies affect appraisal methodology.
Three different methodologies were adopted in sequence:

  1. a review of the literature on appraisal of electronic records,
  2. a study of archival policies, procedures, methods and appraisal reports, and
  3. modeling of the activities involved in the selection of electronic records.

Preservation domain
To develop preservation methods for authentic electronic records.
Both an empirical and an analytical approach were adopted, including:

  1. a survey of existing programs, plans, and technologies for preserving electronic records, and
  2. a modeling of the activities involved in the preservation of authentic electronic records, that took into account the findings of the Appraisal and Authenticity Task Forces.

Strategy domain
To develop an intellectual framework for the articulation of international, national, and organizational policies, strategies, and standards for the long-term preservation of authentic electronic records.
The intellectual framework was developed by distilling principles and criteria from the findings of the other three domains. It was then analyzed in the context of the national and jurisdictional environments in which the co-investigators operated, and discussed in national and multinational team reports.

Each domain was entrusted to one task force, the composition of which was both interdisciplinary and international. Thus, there were four task forces: Authenticity Task Force, Appraisal Task Force, Preservation Task Force, StrategyTask Force.

A Glossary Committee (final report) composed of the chairs of all task forces took the responsibility of developing a controlled vocabulary of terms from those used or developed by the task forces in the course of their work, for the purpose of ensuring terminological consistency and rigour within the project.

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