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n. (reliable, adj.) ~ 1. The quality of being dependable and worthy of trust. - 2. The quality of being consistent and undeviating. - 3. Diplomatics · Created by a competent authority, according to established processes, and being complete in all formal elements.

- rely, v. ~ 4. To have confidence in; to believe in.


Reliability is a relative concept associated with authenticity, accuracy, sufficiency, completeness, integrity, consistency, and dependability. In general, reliability is synonymous with trustworthiness. It takes on narrower senses in different contexts.

A system is reliable2 if it produces consistent results. A calculator that always reports that 2 × 2 = 4 is reliable; one that occasionally reports 2 × 2 = 5 is not.

In diplomatics, a record is reliable3 only if it was created by someone with appropriate authority, if it was made following proper procedures, and if all information and steps were finished. In this sense, reliability does not ensure the accuracy of the content of a record.

A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology