Archival theory and practice call for the exercise of professional expertise and responsibility to accomplish seven goals:
Some commom terms used in and about archives:
are the organized noncurrent records of an institution or organization retained for their continuing value in providing a) evidence of the existence, functions, and operations of the institution or organization that generated them, or b) other information on activities or persons affected by the organization.
are instruments for the communication of information, regardless of their physical form or characteristics. They may be in the form of an impression on paper, a magnetic impulse, or a beam of light.
are documents (in any format) accumulated, collected, and/or generated by a private individual(s) and subsequently donated to or acquired by a repository to ensure their retention and public accessibility. "Manuscripts" include personal papers with organic unity, artificial subject collections of documents acquired from diverse sources, and individual documents acquired and retained by a repository for their potential research use. Manuscripts may be differentiated from archives in that they are informal records, privately acquired and maintained for their subject matter content. Manuscript collections are often described as "personal" or "private" papers. The term "manuscript collection" may also refer to records brought together for a specific purpose by a repository or a collector.
are all documents, regardless of form, produced or received by any agency, officer, or employee of an institution or organization in the conduct of its business. Documents include all forms of recorded information, such as: correspondence, computer data, files, financial statements, manuscripts, moving images, publications, photographs, sound recordings, drawings, or other material bearing upon the activities and functions of the institution or organization, its officers, and employees. A document becomes a record when it is placed in an organized filing system for use as evidence or information. It becomes archival when transferred to a repository for preservation and research use.
is the process by which archivists take physical and/or legal custody of records that have been donated to them by individuals, offices, or organizations.
is the process of examining sets of records to determine if they have value that warrants their permanent retention by the Archives. Typically, when appraising records, the archivist will consider two different "values" of records:
is the body of principles and practices which archivists follow to group records in such a way as to reflect the manner in which they were held and used by the office or person creating the records.
A systematic gathering of documents that have a common arrangement and common relationship to the functions of the office that created them. Typical record series include subject files, project files, chronological correspondence files, client files, applicant files, financial records files, voucher files, and minutes and agenda files.