This is simply the fact that a record should be what it says it is. With paper it is obvious, but with electronic records less so.

The first feature is integrity, that the record has retained its essential meaning, even if some aspects of its appearance and functionality have changed. There is no quick way to define “essential” as it will vary from record to record. Even colours may mean something (such as the colours on a map).

The second feature is authentication, that (a) the record has really been created by the person or organisation that it claims to have been created by, and (b) all aspects of its management since creation have been documented.

So, how do you capture this information? The answer is metadata.