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Abstract

During the appraisal or reappraisal process, an item may be either accessioned into or remain intact as part of a collection owing to its intrinsic value. Judgments regarding the intrinsic value of an item range from the purely subjective to the totally ambiguous. The concept of intrinsic value experienced growing interest from the National Archives and Records Service (NAAS) as they began to embark on a large-scale reformatting project in 1979. Planning for this project raised the issue of whether certain documents should be retained in their original format or be destroyed following reformatting. In response to this issue, NAAS established the Committee on Intrinsic Value. The committee was charged with the task of defining intrinsic value and then determining its qualities, characteristics, and applications. By 1982, the committee had published "Intrinsic Value in Archival Material." This report resulted in a very broad attempt to examine this issue with respect to the reappraisal and preservation of archival documents. The following is a synopsis of the results of their investigation.

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