Assessing digital records authenticity in a Botswana government accounting system: an archival diplomatics perspective

Keywords: Accounting, Archival diplomatics, Audit process, Authenticity, Botswana, digital records, Government Accounting and Budgeting System


The purpose of this paper was to assess whether Botswana’s Government Accounting and Budgeting System (GABS), an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, generates digital records and maintains them as authentic over time. GABS was deployed by the Accountant General’s Department (AGD) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED), to manage accounting and financial management processes right from budgeting to expenditure. Business applications such as ERPs generate digital records whose authenticity over time may not be guaranteed because by design, they are not recordkeeping systems. This qualitative study used concepts influenced by archival diplomatics as a theoretical lens to assess the authenticity of records generated and stored in GABS. Data was collected through systems analysis and interviews with purposively selected information and communication technology (ICT) professionals at AGD. The study found out that GABS generates authentic digital records as theorised by archival diplomatics. The records are thus authentic enough to support auditing processes in the public sector of Botswana.

Author Biography

Olefhile Mosweu, University of Johannesburg
Post-Doctoral Research FellowDepartment of Information and Knowledge managementUniversity of Johannesburg, South Africa


Bearman, D. and Sochats, K. 2002. Functional requirements for evidence in recordkeeping: The Pittsburgh Project. [Online]. 2019).

Cox, R.J. 1997. Electronic systems and records management in the information age: an introduction. [Online]. (12June 2019).

Duff, W. 1996. Ensuring the preservation of reliable evidence: a research project funded by the NHPRC. Archivaria 42: 28-45.

Duranti, L. 1995. Reliability and authenticity: The concepts and their implications. Archivaria 39: 5-10.

Duranti, L. and MacNeil, H. 1996. The protection of the integrity of electronic records: an overview of the UBC-MAS Research Project. Archivaria 42: 46-67.

Duranti, L. 1997. The archival bond. Archives and Museum Informatics 11: 213-218.

Duranti, L. 2001. Concepts, principles, and methods for the management of electronic records. The Information Society 17:271-279.

Duranti, L., Eastwood, T. and MacNeil, H. 2002. Preservation of the integrity of electronic records. Springer, Dordrecht

Duranti, L. and Blanchette, J.F. 2004. The authenticity of electronic records: The InterPARES approach. [Online]. May 2018).

Duranti, L. and Thibodeau, K. 2006. The concept of record in interactive, experiential and dynamic environments: the view of InterPARES. Archival Science 6(1): 13-68.

Duranti, L. 2010. The Trustworthiness of digital records. [Online]. (3 September 2019).

Duranti, L. and Jansen, A. 2011. Authenticity of digital records: an archival diplomatics framework for digital forensics. Paper presented at the September ECIME, 2011 (Como, Italy) Conference. [Online]. (21 April 2018).

Duranti, L. and Rogers, C. 2012. Trust in digital records: An increasingly cloudy legal area. Computer Law & Security Review 28(5): 522-531.

Eastwood, T. 1994. What is archival theory and why is it important? Archivaria 37: 122-130.

Evans, D. and Yen. D.C. 2005. E-government: an analysis for implementation: framework for understanding cultural and social impact. Government Information Quarterly: 29-41.

Fang, Z. 2002. E-government in digital era: concept, practice, and development. International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management 10(2): 1-22.

Guercio, M. 2001. Principles, methods, and instruments for the creation, preservation, and use of archival records in the digital environment. American Archivist 64(Fall/Winter): 238-269.

InterPARES. 2002. Requirements for assessing and maintaining the authenticity of electronic records. [Online]. (10 September 2019).

InterPARES. 2006. Diplomatic Analysis Case Study 03: Horizon Zero Online Magazine and Database. [Online]. (8 September 2019.

InterPARES. 2007. Diplomatic Analysis. [Online]. (7 September 2019).

InterPARES. 2008. International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems (InterPARES) 2: Experiential, Interactive and Dynamic Records: Glossary. [Online]. (20 January 2019).

InterPARES 2 Project. 2019. Glossary. [Online]. (7 September 2019).

Jansen, A. 2014. Authenticity in records systems: emerging research in digital preservation, In (eds) Katre, D & Giaretta, D. 2014. APA/C-DAC International conference on digital preservation and development of trusted digital repositories, Aundh, Pune: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

Livari, J, Parsons, J. and Wand, Y. 2006. Research in information systems analysis and design: introduction to the special issue. [Online]. (10 September 2019).

Mak, B. 2012. On the uses of authenticity. Archivaria 73: 1-17.

Marsden, P. 1997. When is the future? Comparative notes on the electronic record-keeping projects of the University of Pittsburgh and University of British Columbia. Archivaria 43: 158-173.

Mosweu, O. and Ngoepe, M. 2018. Legal framework for auditing public sector accounting records in the digital environment in Botswana. In Ngoepe, M and Fombad, M (208) Proceedings of the 9th ProLISSA Conference. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ngoepe, M. and Makhubela, S. 2015. Justice delayed is justice denied: records management and the travesty of justice in South Africa. Records Management Journal 25(3): 288-305.

Park, E.G. 2001. Understanding “authenticity” in records and information management: analysing practitioner constructs. American Archivist 64: 270-291.

Roeder, J., Eppard, P., Underwood, W. and Lauriault, T. 2008. Authenticity, reliability and accuracy of digital records in the artistic, scientific and governmental sectors. [Online]. (16 November 2018).

Rogers, R., Daum, P., Shaffer, E. and Allen, A. 2013. Case Study 01 – British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT): Policies and procedures for preservation of digital records case study report. [Online]. (16 November 2019).

Rogers, C. 2015a. Record authenticity as a measure of trust: a view across records professions, sectors, and legal systems. INFuture2015: e-Institutions – Openness, Accessibility, and Preservation 13: 109-118.

Rogers, C. 2015b. Virtual authenticity: authenticity of digital records from theory to practice. PhD Thesis, Vancouver, University of British Columbia.

Sisman, A. 2012. The e-Government concept and e-Government applications. [Online]. (21 November 2018).

South Carolina. 2007. Trustworthy information systems handbook. [Online]. (24 November 2018).

Stair, R.M. and Reynolds, G.W. 2006. Principles of information systems: a managerial approach. Boston: Thomason Learning Inc.

Tafor, V. 2003. Digital technology – understanding the problems posed by information technology in generating and managing records from a third perspective. ESARBICA Journal 22: 72-77.

Tutorials Point. 2015. Systems analysis and design. [Online]. (20 May 2018).

Walliman, N. 2011. Research methods: the basics. New York: Routledge.

Wamukoya, J. and Mutula, S.M. 2005a. E-records management and governance in East and Southern Africa, Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science 10(2): 67-83.

Wamukoya, J. and Mutula, S.M. 2005b. Capacity-building requirements for e-records management: the case in East and Southern Africa: Records Management Journal 15(2): 71-79.

Yin, R.K. 2009. Case study research: design and methods. 4th edition. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Research Articles