Digital diplomatics, a way to strengthen trust in digital-born archives for the French State?

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Laperdrix Marie (National Archives of France), Thomas Van de Walle (Digital Archives and Film and sound archives Departement at the National Archives of France).
NB : This proposal is the extension of a study done for the Spring exhibition of the National Archives 2013, “Power in charts”. The study is based on the experience of the digital archiving platform of the French National Archives, “Constance”, created in 1983.
Since 1983, the National Archives has kept a collection of more than 65 million digital-born documents. To ensure the preservation, the access and the integrity of this collection, the system of the National Archives relies on different tools which can track what has been done to the document ever since it entered the institution. Stamps, security tools against virus, worms, trojans and alerts for unreadable formats are used to guarantee access to the fundamental collection of State Archives. But, for the archivists, such an initiative is not sufficient. Ensuring that the information itself cannot be altered by technological processes is to preserve the meaning of information itself ! The National Archives uses its diplomatic expertise on the digital document to guarantee the authenticity of the archives. It collects detailed documentation on digital files so as not to lose the context. What is this documentation? How would the National Archives need to adapt its outlook on diplomatics and to redefine what a trusted digital-born archives is? How could this approach change the way the public have access to digital archives ? How to adapt digital diplomatics to VITAM, the new project for digital archiving at the National Archives of France?

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