n.the usefulness or significance of that accrues to a record for only for a limited period of timeShiff 1956, 117Most of the paper created is of ephemeral value and much valuable information regarding decision-making is never recorded, for decisions are made in telephone conversations and in informal conferences.Pinkett 1959, 420The ephemeral value of much of the increasing volume of the Bureau's correspondence was probably recognized; for divisional heads were instructed to prepare subject indexes of correspondence having permanent value, and the chief clerk was directed to maintain a separate file of routine correspondence concerning publications and blank forms.Chatfield 1968, 243In all too many cases these noncurrent records consisted of poorly arranged papers infiltrated with many extra copies, printed and processed nonrecord material, and record material of ephemeral value. The process of weeding out the disposable material and rearranging the records of enduring value at the National Archives was time consuming.Core 1976, 309In agreement with the originating offices, disposal schedules are developed for the various types of records and provide for the speedy and automatic destruction of noncurrent records of ephemeral value.Schellenberg 1996, 77The ideal features of a registry system from the archival point of view, according to the findings of the Archives Management Seminar held by the Australian archivists in Canberra, on July 12-23, 1954, are the following: . . . (5) that documents of purely ephemeral value should not be registered in the first instance.
Records with ephemeral value have only short-term value to their creators and must be retained until they have met the operational or administrative needs of an individual or organization. Archivists must carefully distinguish between the concepts of ephemeral value and ephemera. Although ephemera are so named because of the usually short period of time between their initial use and their disposal, ephemera may have permanent value as records of cultural and political activity. From another point of view, records of ephemeral value rarely meet the definition of “ephemera.”