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6
DigiCULT
TOPIC AND CHALLENGE
OVERVIEW
levels.This situation reinforces the need for imme-
diate action in the development and implementation
of policies, guidelines, procedures and technical solu-
tions. Mr Weber is convinced that archives `cannot sit
and wait until decisions have been made'.
Michael Steemson from Caldeson Consultancy,
who assists DigiCULT as a scientific consultant,
describes in detail the many facets, view points, argu-
ments and references of the discussion on the inte-
grity and authenticity of digital objects.The sum-
mary reflects the liveliness of the discussion, where
consensus was and was not reached, and how much
remains to be done.
In particular, Ulrich Kampffmeyer, Project
Consult, Germany, in his interview draws attention
to the need for highly effective solutions to manage
the life cycle of e-records and other digital objects.
Highlighting the reality that public administrations and
archives do not always receive from ICT suppliers
what they need. On the other hand, he continues,
archives have also been shown wanting in defining
these needs.
Friso Fisser and his colleague Pieter Kop from
PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting round off this
Thematic Issue with a case study on the Netherlands
Institute for Sound and Vision.The Institute serves
the Dutch broadcasters, as well as preserve national
audio-visual heritage.The interview with Annemieke
de Jong, Head of their Information Policy Sector
ICT, provides insights into the tremendous change
the digitisation has brought to the Institute.The
unprecedented growth in size and complexity of
information calls for the implementation of an
enhanced infrastructure of technologies, protocols
and metadata to ensure that information can be pre-
served and reused in the future. De Jong thinks that
such a goal is only achievable by turning every pro-
gram maker into a part time archivist. She also high-
lights that one of the most important aspects here is
to motivate all stakeholders to use the same standards
and protocols.
Supporting information including short descriptions
of related projects and standards, and a selection of
literature can be found throughout this issue.
We hope that this issue will inform and stimulate
further discussion on how to assure the integrity and
authenticity of our digital cultural heritage.
T
his first Thematic Issue concentrates on a
question that is critical to all organisations
that archive and provide access to cultural
heritage objects: How to preserve and prove the
integrity and authenticity of digital objects? The
implementation of new technologies have presented
organisations with unparalleled opportunities to sup-
port administrative, scholarly, educational, as well as
commercial uses of 'born-digital` and digitised
objects.These opportunities, however, bring with
them critical issues relating to the heterogeneity, life
cycle, and in particular integrity and authenticity of
digital objects.
The challenge is most acute for e-archives that
have a highly structured working relationship with
public administrations, institutions or businesses.
They need to be involved strategically in the mana-
gement of the life cycle of the digital objects, to
implement appropriate policies and working proce-
dures necessary for the preservation and re-use of
records, cultural objects, research results and other
assets.
For public records archives, preserving authentic
records in the digital environment demands the set-
up of a system of controls that extends over the enti-
re life cycle of records, from creation to permanent
preservation.Which for archives servicing the broad-
cast industry has also become mission critical as they
partner in the production context. Both examples
figured prominently in the expert round table held
in Barcelona on May 6th, 2002, the basis of this
Thematic Issue.
S
eamus Ross, director of HATII (University of
Glasgow) summarises the main issues in the
use of procedures and technologies for assuring
the integrity and authenticity of digital objects. He
contends that the situation of creation, dissemination
and preservation is `uncontrolled', and calls for more
consistency of approach, and points to research que-
stions that need to be addressed.
In the interview with the journalist Joost van
Kasteren, Hartmut Weber, the President of the
German Bundesarchiv, tackles the challenges facing
the sector in the shift from paper to e-archives. He
argues that this shift has placed enormous pressure
on administrations and archival organisations at all