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Attention to questions of authenticity and integri-
ty tend to focus on whether objects have these pro-
perties. More research needs to be centred on the
creation of digital objects to establish how they
might acquire these properties. A central lies in the
current idiosyncratic climate of records and object
creation.The challenges that remain to be addressed
include:
How in practice can the creators be influenced to
produce and create digital objects in ways that can
guarantee and provide evidence of authenticity
and integrity?
How can vendors be encouraged to produce
products that will allow creators to create records
and objects with characteristics that enable authentic
digital objects? It is currently impossible to
purchase a `preservation solution' off-the-shelf.
Of course we might tackle this problem by agre-
eing two sets of requirements for authenticity: one
for the creator and the other for the preserver.
Authenticity does not vary across the processes but
the method for ensuring it, such as provenance and
custodial history. The role that appraisal plays in the
process has received too little attention in the past.
The communities that create and preserve digital
objects forming the backbone of this discussion were
public administrations, broadcasters, publishers and
libraries. In all four sectors, as in most others, few
controls existed on the creation, preservation and dis-
semination of digital objects. Each sector argued that
its requirements, technology needs and cultural envi-
ronment were just different enough to require spe-
cialised approaches to authenticity. On the other
hand it is evident that the best solution would be
one that could be adopted across all sectors. Of
course, even if mechanisms could be found the reali-
ties of organisational structures have an impact on
approaches to the integrity and authenticity of
objects (see the BBC example below).The practicali-
ties of making changes in a large, complex organisa-
tion indicate that any major shift in thinking and
practice, whether at individual or departmental level,
would depend upon internal power struggles as well
as increased resource allocations within organisations.
Can there then be one solution that all types of organi-
sations, regardless of size and institutional culture,
could adopt that would support the creation and
preservation of authentic digital objects? In practical
terms it is essential that such a solution be developed.
It is evident from reading the report of the
Barcelona Forum that more consistency of approach
across the heritage sector would be essential:
to develop mechanisms to ensure integrity and
authenticity of digital objects.
to improve communication among heritage
organisations about the challenges and approaches
to integrity and authenticity.This is crucial because
there appears to be a lack of motivation to
understand other perspectives and approaches.
to conduct more case studies.They would provide
an essential window to improve our understanding
of why digital objects are created and how they are
managed.
to investigate the role trust plays in authenticity
and integrity of digital objects. In many instances
users and preservers establish authenticity on the
grounds of trust in the organisation involved or
technology used in the preservation of the digital
object. The current understanding of the major
factors that drive trust decisions in the digital
world, as well as the risks involved with having and
implementing this sort of trust is limited.
that in view of the number of independent projects
conducting work in the area of digital preservation
and especially in the area of integrity and authen-
ticity of digital objects enhanced collaboration
between these projects has become essential. A
good starting point would be a survey of current
research to identify complementarily, overlaps, and
gaps in research.
that emerging guidelines on practices to support
the authenticity and integrity of digital objects
need to be framed in ways that make them accessible
and usable by a variety of communities and
encourage suppliers to provide adequate levels of
functionality in their products (see Ulrich
Kampffmeyer interview page 20).
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DigiCULT
Photos: Beeld en Geluid