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Banner: Detecting the Truth: Fakes, Forgeries and TrickeryBanner: Detecting the Truth: Fakes, Forgeries and Trickery

Introduction

Photograph of laboratory at the Library and Archives Canada, Gatineau Preservation Centre, 2006

Laboratory at the Library and Archives Canada, Gatineau Preservation Centre, 2006
Source


Photograph of a high-powered microscope, Library and Archives Canada, Gatineau Preservation Centre, 2006

High-powered microscope, Library and Archives Canada, Gatineau Preservation Centre, 2006
Source

Forger, forger, pants on fire!
The world of fakes, doubles and forgeries is a very tricky one. Even the words that we use to describe different kinds of fakes are deceitful. What's the difference between a forgery and a fake? Well, a forged document is created to fool people into thinking it's the real thing. A faked document is the real thing but it has been altered in some way to fool people into thinking that nothing has been done to it. And that's just the beginning!

This website will let you discover why and how people have changed documents, paintings, maps, books, stamps and money throughout history. It will also show you the techniques and tools that experts such as conservators, archivists and librarians at the Library and Archives of Canada use to spot a fake.

Let the sleuthing begin!


Glossary

archivist: a person, working in an archives, whose job is to obtain, organize and describe historical documents (such as photographs, maps and manuscripts) to help others find them
conservator: a person whose job is to repair and protect objects and documents (such as paintings, photos, books and manuscripts) for the future
fake: a real document or object that has been changed in some way to fool people into thinking that nothing has been done to it. A tricked photograph is a fake.
forgery: an imitation of a document or object made, or of a real document or object changed to fool people into thinking it's the real thing -- at someone else's expense. Signing someone else's name on a cheque is a forgery. Forging any document with the intent to harm is a serious crime.
librarian: a person, working in a library, whose job is to obtain different information resources, such as books and music, and help others to find those resources
manuscript: a document that is hand-written

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