Sunday, 4 May 2008

Off the record

The National Archive at Kew , guardian amongst other things of the Domesday Book, has a deserved reputation for protecting the national records. It has tight control on all access to its material as theft is one of the major risks it faces.

What has recently come to light, aired on a BBC radio show, is that someone has been adding material to the archive without permission, creating false records which have then been used, it is thought, to support sensationalist claims in books relating to World War 2 events. Over 20 false records have been identified and new controls are now in place to stop this happening again.

Once there is doubt about the records then the damage to the reputation of the National Archive is very signficant because researchers do not know whether the document they are quoting is authentic or not.

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