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n. (trustworthy, adj.) ~ The quality of being dependable and reliable1.


In general, trustworthiness is synonymous with reliable. In archival literature and records, trustworthiness is often defined in terms of reliability and authenticity. This definition loses its apparent circularity when the reliability of records is understood in the diplomatic sense, 'created with appropriate authority, according to established processes, and being complete in all its formal elements.'

In the context of electronic records, trustworthiness often implies that the system is dependable and produces consistent results based on well-established procedures.

(Duff 1996, p. 34) The environment in which records reside can either increase or decrease their reliability and trustworthiness. The courts bestow a high degree of trust in records that are 'kept in the regular course of business activity . . . as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness.' [Citing Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 803].
(Duranti 1995, p. 8) It is generally accepted by all literate civilizations that documents are trustworthy (that is, reliable) because of their completeness and controlled procedure of creation, and which are guaranteed to be intact and what they purport to be (that is, authentic) by controlled procedures of transmission and preservation, can be presumed to be truthful (that is, genuine) as to their content.
(MacNeil 2002) The archival notion of document trustworthiness borrows from a number of traditions, the most influential of which are the rationalist tradition of legal evidence scholarship, specifically the rules governing the admissibility of documents, the modernist tradition of historical criticism, specifically the procedures governing the treatment of historical sources and the diplomatic tradition of documentary criticism. In all these traditions, the concepts of reliability and authenticity are posited on a direct connection between the word and the world and are rooted, both literally and metaphorically, in observational principles.