Archivists are acutely aware of the need for a better framework and new methods to guide the selection of records with enduring value. Whether appraising the current records of government agencies, corporations, colleges or universities, or social organizations, archivists confront a gargantuan task with meager tools. Appraisal theory provides general principles based on a few broad generalizations: the distinction between primary and secondary uses for records; the need to evaluate their evidential and informational values; the notion that organizations ought to preserve a record of their significant policies, procedures, functions, and activities; and the premise that certain levels of the administrative hierarchy are most likely to produce records of permanent value. Although appraisal theory and methods proved valuable for identifying the archival records of the past generation, both the theory and methods are inadequate and inflexible for appraising contemporary records.



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