The InterPARES 2 Project was an international, multidisciplinary collaboration that applied a multi-method approach to the development of concepts, processes and tools to help in the securing of a protected and lasting environment for the digital records produced in interactive, dynamic and experiential systems in the course of artistic, scientific and governmental activities.

Guiding Methodological Principles

  1. Interdisciplinarity
    The Project was interdisciplinary in the measure in which its goal and objectives could only be achieved through the contribution of several disciplines. For example, one of the methods chosen to develop ways of creating records whose accuracy and reliability can be protected overtime was to conduct an exploratory study of cases in each of the areas of activity identified. To analyze the nature, characteristics, behaviour, relationships and process of creation of the interactive, dynamic and experiential records produced in the course of artistic, scientific and governmental activities, we needed to gather a deep understanding of those activities, their purpose, their phases and the component actions, their byproducts and their structure, and their context, but also their technological environment and their use. Thus, to understand the records generated in the course of producing digital music, for example, we needed music theorists and composers, as well computer engineers and scientists, and music historians. Also to analyze the results of the case studies we needed the contribution of methodologies developed in the context of a variety of disciplines. Among these, text analysis, diplomatic analysis, statistical analysis, etc.

  2. Transferability
    The ultimate goal of the Project was archival in nature, in that it was concerned with the development of trusted record-making, recordkeeping and record preservation systems that ensure the authenticity of the records under examination over the long term. This implied that the work carried out throughout the Project in the various disciplinary areas must be constantly translated in archival terms and linked to archival concepts, which are the foundation upon which the systems intended to protect the records are designed. However, upon completion of the research, the archival systems needed to be made accessible and comprehensible to records creators, organizations and institutions and disciplinary researchers. In other words, the research outcomes had to be translated back into the language and concepts of each discipline that need to make use of them. In light of the above, it was essential to examine the key archival concepts that were at the core of the InterPARES 2 research, so that each discipline could identify the corresponding entities within its own body of knowledge.

  3. Open Inquiry
    InterPARES 1 had its epistemological roots in the humanities, specifically in diplomatics and archival science. In contrast, InterPARES 2, while planning as one part of its research to test some of the outcomes of InterPARES 1 in a range of applied settings, espoused no epistemological perspective or intellectual definitions a priori. Instead, researchers in each working group identified the perspective(s), research design, and methods that they believed to be most appropriate to their inquiry. The reason for this openness was that InterPARES 2 was conceived to work as a “layered knowledge” environment, in the sense that some of the research work would build upon knowledge developed in the course of the UBC Project and InterPARES 1, some would take knowledge of similar issues developed in other areas of endeavour and bring it to bear on records creation and preservation, some would reconcile knowledge about records and their attributes, elements, characteristics, behaviour and qualities existing in various disciplines and develop it for archival purposes, and some would explore new issues and study entities never examined before and develop entirely new knowledge.

  4. Multi-method Design
    Each case study, as well as each of the other research activities, was carried out using the methodology and the tools that the dedicated investigating team considered the most appropriate for it. The methods used were surveys, case studies, general studies, modeling, prototyping, diplomatic and archival analysis, and text analysis. The research was guided by the research questions organized by domain and cross-domain, which were developed for the research project proposal and were posted as the “IP2 Research Questions.” In addition, the researchers themselves, in preparing their case studies tools and framing their inquiries, were guided by 23 Questions developed by the International Team.

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