Autenticitet i en digital värld: Långsiktsbevarande av allmänna handlingar [Authenticity in a Digital World: Long Term Preservation of Public Records]

Kenneth Hänström


Long term preservation of electronic records has been an object of debate in the archival community for many years. The increasing use of digital technology by governmental agencies means that current public records often have exclusively electronic form. Long term preservation of electronic records implies new problems, for instance because the information content and the media carrying the information can be separated. Thus traditional means of securing the preservation of records, primarily focusing on physical arrange­ment and physical custody, have become insufficient. This has practical implications for the handling of records, and has also generated new theoretical models in the archival domain.

This study focuses on the problem of authenticity concerning long term preservation of electronic official documents. The aim is to find out whether authenticity problems can occur when governmental agencies create and later transfer electronic records to the National Archives for long term preservation. The study consists of three parts: a literature review aiming at identifying and analysing central theoretical concepts; an analysis of Swedish legislation to identify the legal requirements on electronic official documents relevant according to the concept of authenticity; and finally, testing these legal re­quire­ments against the InterPares project’s analytical model for authentic electronic records. The findings show that there are scarce possibilities to establish and maintain long term authenticity within the current legal framework. The study also shows that international theoretical concepts to a large extent are applicable on Swedish conditions, which enables the use of general theoretical models and international standards. However, some differences in the interpretation of the concept of records and records’ evidential value can be recognized.


archival theory; authenticity; electronic records; InterPares; long term preservation; official documents

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