The National Archives (TNA), entrusted with national record management of the UK government, is on the verge of testing the blockchain for record keeping and sharing. The project, termed Archangel, is meant to investigate the use of blockchain to address archiving challenges faced by TNA.

The world’s first archiving research project on blockchain is led by the University of Surrey and bankrolled by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Reports indicate that the council of research spend USD 800 million on research projects related to technology, mathematics, and material science annually. Additionally, the Open Data Institute is another key partner with an interest in project Archangel.

On Tuesday, Alex Green, the digital preservation services manager, wrote in a blog post:

”How can we demonstrate that the record you see today is the same record that was entrusted to the archive 20 years previously? …How do we ensure that citizens continue to see archives as trusted custodians of the digital public record? To address these questions, Archangel is exploring how we can know that a digital record has been modified and whether the change was legitimate so that ultimately it can still be trusted as the authentic record.”

Being the largest and oldest archives, TNA has set standards and best practices in the field. Being an 18-month project, Archangel is set to prototype a distributed ledger technology that will collect robust digital signatures for born-digital and digitized physical content, reports Green.

TNA has acknowledged the challenges imposed by the changes in technology and is working on a solution.

 

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons – Chris Reynolds

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