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n. ~ 1. The quality of being genuine, not a counterfeit, and free from tampering, and is typically inferred from internal and external evidence, including its physical characteristics, structure, content, and context.

- authentic, adj. ~ 2. Perceived of as genuine, rather than as counterfeit or specious; bona fide.


Authenticity is closely associated with the creator (or creators) of a record. First and foremost, an authentic record must have been created by the individual represented as the creator. The presence of a signature serves as a fundamental test for authenticity; the signature identifies the creator and establishes the relationship between the creator and the record.

Authenticity can be verified by testing physical and formal characteristics of a record. The ink used to write a document must be contemporaneous with the document's purported date. The style and language of the document must be consistent with other, related documents that are accepted as authentic.

Authenticity alone does not automatically imply that the content of a record is reliable.

The authenticity of records and documents is usually presumed, rather than requiring affirmation. Federal rules of evidence stipulate that to be presumed authentic, records and documents must be created in the 'regular practice' of business and that there be no overt reason to suspect the trustworthiness of the record (Uniform Rules of Evidence, as approved July 1999).

A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology