The British national archives is testing the transition to the blockchain

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The national archives (TNA) the UK government will use the blockchain technology to create an effective way to check the archived documents.

The project, dubbed ARCHANGEL, is one of three on blockchain projects that won the University of Surrey, and the other two relate to voting and healthcare.

Digital archives

Storing the archive in a digital format is a difficult process because computer files are constantly changing and becoming obsolete, noted in the blog of the National archives. For example, a digital file the late 1990-ies may require moving content in the new file format to make it available in the future.

One of the problems is the fact that any file that you want to change, can be changed with incorrect information that will affect the reliability of the information provided.

ARCHANGEL, funded by the Research Council engineering and physical Sciences with the support of the University of Surrey, the open data Institute in the UK and the National archives intends to use the blockchain technology, which allows archives to register the hash of the document changes, which is only performed by authorized parties.

The creation of audit

Each changed entry is registered on the blockchain and recorded in a log book, indicating the date when was document changed. Cryptographic algorithms will be used to check the record.

The archive will be stored in digital form, in accordance with which accounting book will be available to all archives, not only in Britain but throughout the world.

Although ARCHANGEL is a fully functional standalone network, for testing it will be built on the infrastructure of Ethereum. Downloading content is currently done using standard binary SHA-256 hash function.

The developers of the project noted that special attention is paid to the download of certain types of documents such as PDF files, images and videos.

Work in the testing process

The team is also considering the possibility of integrating the proposed W3C standard PROV to document versions, since the blocks can only be added to replace the old content on the blockchain.

Currently, the project uses smart contracts to record in the block chain, but not for search or verification. Such opportunities will be developed later.

“Currently, confidence in the integrity of the information contained in the documents based on the unshakable reputation of a centralized authority, such as the national archives of the government, and then it will be assigned to the blockchain” — stated in the message the developers of Cornell University.

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