n.the ongoing usefulness or significance of records, based on the administrative, legal, fiscal, evidential, or historical information they contain, justifying their continued preservationDuniway 1961, 56From these circumstances it becomes obvious that family papers or manuscripts with no archival value are of interest to more than one history-collecting agency, which may be concerned with the history of educational institutions, with geographical areas, or with subject fields of human endeavor.Evans 1974, 98Following a study of computer-produced and related records in federal agencies, it established a Machine-Readable Records Branch, assembled a staff of archivists trained in the new technology and computer specialists trained in archival principles and techniques, and began the difficult task of appraising, accessioning, preserving, arranging, describing, and providing reference service on machine-readable records and related software documentation that has archival value.Raymond and O’Toole 1978, 23Schellenberg would also retain for their archival value records containing information of interest to a variety of outside researchers apart from their organic relationship to a specific agency or institution.Jones 1980, 45The term archival value encompasses two more specialized types of values, evidential and informational.Maher 1992, 48Most writings on appraisal include only the previously mentioned values for retention, but Brichford has suggested another, called archival. In essence, this is a combination of all the others. It is included here out of a conviction that an academic archives serves multiple communities—administrative, legal, fiscal, and research. Thus, if a record has sufficient value in any one of the areas above to justify permanent retention, or if it has an important relationship to material already held in an archives or can otherwise contribute to the program's operation, it has an archival value.Ham 1993, 3In many organizations, the high-level records on policy formulation and executive direction too often escape the scheduling process. In this case, the archivist must either see that the records of archival value are scheduled or otherwise negotiate for their eventual transfer to the archives.O’Toole 1994, 635As rarity increased toward complete singularity, archival value similarly increased; as records became more plentiful and duplicative, their importance for archives was vitiated.Roberts 2007, 74The archival value of most philatelic materials is its informational value for users other than the creator of the covers. For these secondary users, philatelic materials retain their value over time because they contain information about topics that help define the history of a society and culture.Caron and Brown 2013, 161Despite the welcome introduction of new discourse at times, for example, the allusions to postmodernism we now regularly see in the archival literature (which actually encourages archivists into more enlightened forms of subjectivity extending well beyond the traditions of pseudohistorical analysis, intuition, research forecasting, and passive collecting), when the moment comes actually to make decisions about the archival value of information resources, we seem to fall back and confine ourselves to the processes, techniques, and principles of what has passed for a generic archival science over time supplemented by local domain theories.Millar 2014, 108, fn. 7While one cannot condemn the desire to engage the public in history through the display of literary and historical manuscripts, one has to ask if the archival value of the items collected has been adequately regarded. The museums seem to highlight the value of the documents as examples of the written word rather than as archives with evidential and historical worth.
In general, records with archival value are estimated to make up only a small percentage of an organization’s records. In most organizations, the determination of which records are considered to have archival value is made by archivists.Sometimes, archivists distinguish between the concepts of historical value and archival value. In such cases, historical value is defined narrowly as the value of a record to support research in the history of people and the world, and archival value is defined broadly to encompass value that supports any type of research using permanent records, including psychological, sociological, and other types of scientific research.