On the uses of authenticity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars and professionals across the disciplines have adopted the concept of authenticity to help focus growing concerns about the digital preservation of archival materials, but authenticity itself remains a major point of controversy in these debates. The present article offers an alternative view of the impasse by investigating a similar moment of disquiet in the early modern period. In these prior contests, disagreements about authenticity emerged as an effective way to renegotiate the social order. Scholars proposed and tested different senses of authenticity, vowing temporary allegiance to the one that suited their particular case. By examining some of these feuds, this article demonstrates that arguments about authenticity can function as a means of instigating social change, and suggests that this understanding of authenticity may productively be brought to bear on contemporary discussions about the curation and use of digitally encoded materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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