National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)


InterPARES was a three-phase project that carried out research into how organisations in different sectors wanted to preserve their digital information and what their requirements were for authenticity, integrity, and accuracy of information. InterPARES 1 ran from 1998 – 2001, and InterPARES 2 from 2002 to 2006, InterPARES 3 was initiated in 2007 and will continue through until 2012. It is a truly global research project, with input from organisations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Asia.

Research has addressed the following categories:

  • Government;
  • Scientific data;
  • Artistic activities.

Case studies have been carried out in each of these categories. The information collected during the case studies is used to determine shared and individual characteristics. Guidelines, principles, policies, methods, and such like can then be identified that are effective and suitable for preserving different types of digital records.

Supporting conceptual models are also being developed to function as frameworks around which organisational policies can be formulated. An important aspect is the way in which information is described and how metadata can help support assurances of authenticity. These issues were addressed by focus groups (in four categories: governmental activities; scientific activities; artistic activities) and by domain groups (on: records creation & maintenance; authenticity, accuracy & reliability; methods of appraisal and preservation). There were also a number of cross domain research teams (on: terminology; policy; description; and modelling).

InterPARES deliverables include recommendations on policy development and metadata guidelines. They address the whole lifecycle of digital information and archival records, because the proper preservation of digital information requires consideration from the point of creation onwards. The knowledge acquired in the project has contributed to, amongst other things, the development of digital depots (or repositories), testbeds, and formulation of the so-called Article 12 regulation. Additionally, InterPARES has also produced guidelines for the authentic preservation of archival records. The State Archives Service has produced a report that describes how these recommendations can be implemented in a Dutch context.