n. (also archivalisation)the process of selecting records for retention in an archives and preparing them for research useBorn 1940, 284Le Moine, in 1765, led the list of others who more or less followed him. “Their books, with little regard for the particular exigencies of the separate archives, wished to fix the general and rational scheme of all archivalization. They advised regrouping the documents, without regard to their organic, character and their natural order, in series constituted according to content, and they designed these series, respectively, on the basis of a logical arrangement of the presumptual archival materials, or on that of an order useful to the specific ends of the archive in question.”McCain 1942, 42–43The author explains that he uses the term “fond” as the designation of “an archival unit (a group of records preserved in the archival establishment) that forms an organic whole and represents the archivalization, in whole or in part, of the registry of a particular agency.”Born 1963b, 510The modern German concepts of archival management have at their base the conviction that sensible reduction gives archives their true character and enhances their order, content, and usefulness. Selection is today looked upon as a function of records organization, preceding archivalization proper.the process of determining or sensing that a record has the necessary qualities for it to become part of an archives or to be archivalKetelaar 1999, 55Archiving is preceded by archivalisation: the conscious or unconscious choice (determined by social and cultural factors) to consider something worth archiving.Ketelaar 2000, 328In the Popperian metaphor, the searchlight of archivalization has to sweep the world for something to light up in the archival sense; it must do this before we proceed to register, record, and file it—in short, before we “archive” it. By distinguishing archivalization from archiving, we gain an insight into the social and cultural factors, the standards and values, and the ideology that infuse—the expression is Jackson Armstrong-Ingram’s—the creation of records and archives.Matienzo 2008, 2–3Unlike canonization, archivalization therefore does not need to occur within an institutional context. In other words, any agent in contact with a record can decide if it is worth saving, regardless of the form of the agent or the record. This is merely a statement of possibility, as I do not intend to suggest that role or mandate will not impact archivalization. Obviously, role, mandate, and any other contextual aspect of the interface between agent and record will affect the decision, as well as its after effects.Nesmith 2011, 37Ketelaar notes that Jacques Derrida calls this all-encompassing societal archiving process archivization. On a variant of this, Ketelaar coined the term archivalisation to denote the process of “the conscious or unconscious choice to consider something worth archiving.”Gilliland 2014a, 16The constructs of archivization and archivalization were not part of the traditional archival paradigm. Rather, they are critical constructs that emerged out of shifting intellectual approaches in the arts and humanities, enhancing the reflexivity of professional archival thought.
Archivalization1 is not fully native in English, but it appeared commonly in American archival discourse, solely within references to European practice, from the 1940s to the 1960s. However, the authors (usually reviewers or abstractors) who used the term treated the term as so obvious in meaning that they never defined it or demonstrated in any way that they considered the word foreign.The common sense of archivalization2 is the process of someone deciding a record has the requisite value to be treated as an archival record. This sense is distinct from appraisal, which is a systematic process of determining whether records are archival. With archivization, the process is not necessarily rigorous and does not need to be conducted by an archivist. Archivization is, in a sense, the mere feeling that a record is worth saving and, thus, a process that everyone carries out in everyday life.