phy to support authenticity, integrity, and chain-of-custody requirements associated with long-term preservation are likely to be leading edge for the foreseeable future. A research program would explore new techniques to be able to assure integrity and authenticity of records held for many decades. Is an end-to-end scheme that would span hundreds of years possible?
With necessarily limited resources, a limited capacity to manage research programs, and a large set of research challenges related to the general topic of archiving and digital preservation, NARA has to decide how and where it should invest. Questions for NARA to consider include these: What agencies share an interest in NARA’s problem or a similar problem? What research community is working on that problem or a similar problem? How can NARA most effectively join with and influence that community? Does NARA need to sponsor its own research, or can it learn from or participate in others’ research programs? What results are anticipated, and how will the results be brought back to NARA?
As the ERA starts to operate, NARA will surely uncover new problems. Some of the problems will lead to evolution of the system and its operation in straightforward ways—that is, known methods or engineering techniques will solve them. But operation may also reveal deeper problems worthy of new research activities.