n. (also archivalisation)the process of selecting records for retention in an archives and preparing them for research usethe process of determining or sensing that a record has the necessary qualities for it to become part of an archives or to be archivalKetelaar 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.Ketelaar 2001, 133It is archivalization, a neologism which I invented, meaning the conscious or unconscious choice (determined by social and cultural factors) to consider something worth archiving. Archivalization precedes archiving. The searchlight of archivalization has to sweep the world for something to light up in the archival sense, before we proceed to register, to record, to inscribe it, in short before we archive it.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.