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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Technological features of preservation systems that support the authenticity of digital records Jansen, Adam


This study aims to address the gap between the theoretical understanding of the authenticity of records and the implementation in digital archival preservation systems of technological features that can support the maintenance of that authenticity as the records move across space and through time. Using the lens of the archival method, a case study methodology was employed to conduct a series of ethnographic interviews, analysis of software, and review of supporting documentation at three sites. The sites chosen for the study represent three different geographic regions (Canada, Europe and United States), three different jurisdictional responsibilities (Metropolitan, Provincial and National), and three different software environments (one open source implementation, and two solutions using a mix of proprietary and open source tools in Linux and Microsoft Operating environments). The findings of this study suggest that the use of specific technological features can support the presumption of records authenticity throughout the process of moving records across space and through time. On the basis of this understanding, the findings of the case studies analysis were grouped into three specific functions: Transfer, in the course of which preservation institutions gather the records and the required identity and integrity metadata from the submitter; Ingest, in the course of which the institutions process the records and create or extract additional documentation regarding the identity and integrity of the records; and Maintenance, in the course of which the institutions safeguard the underlying bits, protect the networks upon which the records reside and implement processes to stay ahead of technological obsolescence. On the basis of the findings, this study has developed a model of the technological features for digital records observed across the case studies that support authenticity. This model, named by this study the TechSAR Model, is expressed in both UML Activity Models and detailed Use Cases. The TechSAR Model is not intended to be a stand-alone model; rather it is meant to supplement other existing digital preservation models by providing in-depth technical descriptions of services that perform activities supporting the authenticity of digital records in preservation systems that can be integrated into these existing models.

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