DCC Briefing Paper: Trust through self assessment
Subject-based and institutional digital repositories are increasingly being hailed as the preferred means for safeguarding the future accessibility of digital information. Repositories will not only store digital materials, but also act to limit the threats that are posed to their authenticity, integrity and understandability over time. Consequently, they are being increasingly relied upon to facilitate curation for a wide range of digital content. Defined more broadly than in mere technological terms, repositories should encompass associated systems, policies, procedures and people and must be considered in terms of the organisational, financial, legal and technological contexts within which digital content is collected, managed, accessed and utilised. Regrettably, within what remains an immature discipline, there are few available assurances of the effectiveness of repositories' adopted approaches, and little evidence of a consensus on what success for digital repositories actually means. The fundamental question is often expressed in terms of trustworthiness; of the repositories claiming to offer information preservation or curation services, which ones can actually be trusted to do so? Information creators, curators and users, as well as funding bodies and other external agencies each have a vested interest in determining the answer to this question.