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Functionally dependent methods
These are methods that employ specific technologies that are bound together with the
information source.The information can only be used in combination with a particular
object encapsulation (whether physical or logical),
encryption, and
embedded active agents.
InterPARES International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in
Electronic Systems
InterPARES is a multi-disciplinary collaborative archival research project that seeks to
understand better the nature of electronic records and the elements necessary for ensuring
their authenticity over time. It is taking a record-centric approach to the
development of a typology of requirements for maintaining the authenticity of
records over time, and
analysing appraisal and preservation processes in order to establish the extent to
which they meet those requirements.
The research builds on an earlier project at University of British Columbia (UBC),"The
Preservation of the Integrity of Electronic Records [1996]," which addressed issues sur-
rounding the creation and maintenance of authentic and reliable electronic records in their
active, pre-archival state.
A major goal of InterPARES is to use contemporary archival diplomatics
to analyse the
elements of documentary form that occur in records associated with different types of
actions and the juridical-administrative, procedural, provenancial, documentary, and
technological contexts within which they occur. From this analysis, a typology of
requirements for authenticity for records is being created. InterPARES team will also be
studying existing strategies for digital preservation, such as migration, emulation, and
persistent object preservation, as well as any new strategies that might be developed.
In order to develop the typology, the Project has developed a template for analysis as a
working hypothesis about the necessary and sufficient elements of a record.The template is
a model of an ideal record that, based upon prior archival knowledge of record types,
contains all the possible known elements that a record may contain.This template is being
developed as a predictive model that will assist archivist in identifying future record types
and their associated requirements for maintaining their physical and intellectual integrity
over time.To refine the template four case studies of electronic information are being used.
As Bearman and Trant (1998) remark, a comparative assessment of the various
technological solutions is only possible, if one has a clear understanding of the requirements
in particular circumstances.The most commonly used technologies, however, are
encryption, digital watermarks and digital signatures.These techniques are further discussed
in the "New Tools"-section of this chapter.
Diplomatics was first developed in Europe in the eighteenth century as an analytical approach to the identification of the authenticity of medieval
ecclesiastical documents. Its principles influenced the development of both modern history and theories of legal evidence. Diplomatics studies the
genesis, forms, and transmission of archival documents, their relation to the facts represented in them, and their relation to their creator in order to
evaluate and communicate their true nature.