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Journal cover: Library Hi Tech

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Online from: 1983

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Preserving authenticity in the digital age

Document Information:
Title:Preserving authenticity in the digital age
Author(s):Sharon Adam, (MLIS Candidate, San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose, California, USA)
Citation:Sharon Adam, (2010) "Preserving authenticity in the digital age", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 28 Iss: 4, pp.595 - 604
Keywords:Accuracy, Archives management, Digital storage, Information preservation, Trust
Article type:General review
DOI:10.1108/07378831011096259 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – In this increasingly digital world, archivists have had to reconsider early definitions and measures of authenticity in order to ensure their applicability to the process of preserving digital records. This paper sets out to explore the complexities involved in defining and preserving the authenticity of digital files.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on literature from the field to present a comprehensive overview of traditional definitions of authenticity and highlight the shifting nature of those definitions in the digital age. The discussion begins with a look at traditional archival understandings of authenticity as they relate to physical objects. The paper goes on to examine these challenges and efforts and includes a look at the resource demands and technology tools currently used to evaluate digital authenticity. The paper conducted extensive research on the subject to compile source materials and draw conclusions.

Findings – This paper highlights the inherent challenge of establishing and maintaining pertinent criteria for authenticity when archivists are, for the most part, electing to reformat and effectively change digital records in order to ensure their long-term preservation.

Practical implications – This paper includes practical implications for redefining, measuring, and preserving the authenticity of digital records.

Social implications – This paper has social implications in that it asserts a need to question the well-established understanding of what it means to be authentic.

Originality/value – The paper brings together a range of information and presents a comprehensive yet succinct view of the issues involved in defining and preserving digital authenticity, not otherwise found in the literature serving the archive community.

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