Carrying Authentic, Understandable and Usable Digital Records Through Time

by Jeff Rothenberg, Tora K. Bikson

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While the vulnerabilities of traditional, paper records are well understood and can to a large extent be successfully mitigated by procedures and techniques developed over the centuries, the new vulnerabilities of digital records are not yet fully appreciated or comprehended. This report represents the results of a short study undertaken by RAND-Europe for the National Archives and Ministry of the Interior of the Netherlands. Goal of the study is to define a strategy and framework for the long-term management and preservation of digital governmental records, taking into account policy, organizational, and technical aspects of the problem. The outcomes of the study consist of three parts. The first part contains a strategy for the preservation of digital records. Complementing the strategy is the second part, a framework in which to perform preservation, which consists of a preservation process and a supporting infrastructure and repository. The third part contains the design of an experimental testbed in which to try out key ideas and answer key questions related to the preservation of digital records. Results of this study should be applicable to all government organizations and all types of digital documents, data and records.

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This report is part of the RAND Corporation RAND Europe document series. RAND Europe reports (RE) were monograph/reports (MR) produced by RAND Europe. REs were published at RAND from 1998 to 2001. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors.

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