This essay is written by an archivist primarily for archivists, but its content concerns a subject--the preservation of America's documentary heritage--that is important to a much wider audience. Archivists have long recognized that theirs is a profession with a broad mandate handicapped by far too limited resources. In the past few years, through a series of major investigations and reports, archivists have learned the extent of the threat to historical records in the United States caused by their profession's own weaknesses. Some will undoubtedly bristle at that last sentence and argue that numerous other reasons exist for the poor condition of this nation's historical records. True, but the major responsibilityfor the care of America's documentary heritage is one that most archivists can and will not deny is theirs. Given their profession's general poverty and its tremendous obligation, archivists must learn, among other things, to plan carefully for the more judicious use of restricted means and for programs that will enable them to gain greater resources. The report of the Society of American Archivists' (SAA) Goals and Priorities (GAP) Task Force is the archival profession's most recent and best opportunity to begin to do just that.



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