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Digital diplomatics and forensics: going forward on a global basis

Frederick B. Cohen (Management Analytics, Pebble Beach, CA, USA)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




The purpose of this study is to discuss moving forward on a global basis with digital diplomatics.


This study fused a historic review of multiple fields to form a proposed future.


Today, the metadata associated with digital record-keeping is largely based on the methods from the pre-digital age. It fails to take into account the underlying digital mechanisms and their unique properties. At the same time, digital systems already produce large quantities of redundant data that could be and has been used in consistency analysis. A rational improvement would be to use the nature of digital systems in conjunction with intentional redundancy to create metadata and other forms of redundant information that could be validated in diplomatic examination but would be hard to forge consistently by an internal act of alteration.


This study uses a unique approach of fusing digital forensic science with digital diplomatics in the form of using inherent redundancy in digital records and metadata for consistency analysis as a means to fuse the fields.



The author wished to acknowledge the work at InterPARES Trust at UBC and by researchers around the world participating in this effort. Special thanks go to Luciana Duranti for her attention to the details. Funding for travel to the conference was provided by the InterPARES Trust.


Cohen, F.B. (2015), "Digital diplomatics and forensics: going forward on a global basis", Records Management Journal, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 21-44.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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