n. ~ The quality of being whole and unaltered through loss, tampering, or corruption.
Integrity is a relative concept that assesses whether the essential nature of a record has changed. As a record ages, its ink may fade or bits of the paper may be chipped from edge without any significant loss of integrity. Contrawise, loss of a page from a record, especially one bearing authorizing signatures, has a significant impact on the record's integrity.
In the context of records, integrity relates to the potential loss of physical or intellectual elements after a record has been created. It is distinguished from completeness, which refers to the presence of all required physical and intellectual elements when the record is created.
†(C Lynch 2000, p. 5) When we say that a digital object has 'integrity,' we mean that it has not been corrupted over time or in transit; in other words, that we have in hand the same set of sequences of bits that came into existence when the object was created.
†(InterPARES2, 2003, p. 3) The integrity of a record refers to its wholeness and soundness: a record has integrity when it is complete and uncorrupted in all its essential respects. This does not mean that the record must be precisely the same as it was when first created for its integrity to exist and be demonstrated. When we refer to an electronic record, we consider it essentially complete and uncorrupted if the message that it is meant to communicate in order to achieve its purpose is unaltered. This implies that its physical integrity, such as the proper number of bit strings, may be compromised, provided that the articulation of the content and any required elements of form remain the same. The integrity of a record may be demonstrated by evidence found on the face of the record, in metadata related to the record, or in one or more of its various contexts.
†(UNESCO A/V Glossary 2001) [archival integrity] A basic standard derived from the principle of provenance and the registry principle which requires that an archive/record group shall be preserved in its entirety without division, mutilation, alienation, unauthorized destruction or addition, except by accrual or replevin, in order to ensure its full evidential and informational value.