The UK Government’s Record Keeper (The National Archives) to Explore Blockchain DLT For Better Records

As the number of blockchain projects sprout into existence, many firms are directing their attention to the innovative technology. Their particular interest is to better understand its usefulness compared to standard protocols.

A recent announcement suggests that the UK Government’s record keeper, the National Archives (TNA) will be the next to explore blockchain technology for records sharing.

Still in its infant stages, the research project named ARCHANGEL, will include the efforts of the University of Surrey along with Open Data Institute, one of many partners. The main goal is supposedly to figure out how this respective technology can address questions and concerns revolving around archive management.

Here is an extract published by Alex Green, TNA’s Digital Preservation Services Manager:

“How can we demonstrate that the record you see today is the same record that was entrusted to the archive 20 years previously? … How do we ensure that citizens continue to see archives as trusted custodians of the digital public record? … Archangel is exploring how we can know that a digital record has been modified and whether it was legitimate…”

Based on the post above, it is clear as to why blockchain technology was chosen, as it houses key factors like transparency, traceability, security, a ledger of all transactions made public, etc.

Moreover, Green added that, “the project is investigating how blockchain might be used to achieve this.” TNA is not only the largest, but also the oldest firms in the archives management industry. They’ve contributed towards setting numerous existing standards today, therefore their possible welcoming of blockchain is definitely a big deal.

As for the project, ARCHANGEL will be conducted within 18 months, supported by the funds from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. A sample of what the distributed ledger technology (DLT) service might look like is also in the works. In particular, Green believes that the DLT will, “collect robust digital signatures derived from digitized physical, and born-digital content.”

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