Electronic records are significantly different from most of the records held in institutional archives and, thus, they must be appraised and evaluated for accessioning with different and additional factors in mind. The archival predilection for discussing electronic records only within the context of preservation issues fosters the misconception that--given optimum environmental conditions--electronic media may be considered an archival or long-term storage format. This is not a realistic assessment. Electronic media should be approached as a transitory information format in the archives. The mistaken beliefs that electronic recording formats are long-term storage media and that the readily apparent and sometimes superficial advantages of the volume-to-data ratio of electronic records when compared to other formats have led to the excessive accessioning of machine-readable records into some institutional archives with inadequate reasons to justify the transfer.



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