Authenticity: Principles and notions

Toshiyuki Kono

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper illustrates the evolution of the concept in the context of the World Heritage Convention, following the World Heritage Committee's records as primary source materials. Already in the late 1970s and the 1980s, the at-That-Time-valid normative framework of the convention was under pressure from sections of the international community for revision based on a shift in emphasis from physical aspects to the cultural significance of properties. The change from physical to intangible significance is reflected in the expansion of heritage concepts and the recognition of diverse conservation practices. Against such a background, authenticity was given a new approach by the Nara Document: Authenticity as credibility of information sources. The Nara Document was introduced into heritage practices in various regions and was accepted in UNESCO's "Operational Guidelines" in 2005. The Nara Document recognized that the authenticity of a site is rooted in specific sociocultural contexts. Under the World Heritage Committee's Global Strategy, certain types of properties may obtain new values attributed by society, and conservation of certain properties involves the continuous interrelationship between people, their activities, and heritage. As a result of the sociocultural perspective that the Nara Document introduced, some new issues have been identified to which the idea of authenticity will need to be adapted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-460
Number of pages25
JournalChange Over Time
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • History
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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