n.the usefulness or significance of materials based on their content, independent of any intrinsic or evidential valueGracy 1973a, 21Finally, he should possess a knowledge of history and historiography in order to appraise critically the enduring informational value of a collection of papers.Brichford 1977, 9Unwary archivists too easily conclude that records have only “informational value” and therefore may be arranged for accessibility. Muller, Feith, and Fruin warned of the dangers of abandoning the original order to meet the needs of users.Lewellyn 1979, 29Some subsidiary account books, like a ledger for guano sales or a delinquency journal from a land and scrip company, lose their informational value when summarized in a ledger.Schellenberg 1984, 58–59The secondary value of records can be ascertained most easily if they are considered in relation to two kinds of matters: 1) the evidence they contain of the organization and functions of the Government body that produced them, and 2) the information they contain on persons, corporate bodies, things, problems, conditions, and the like, with which the Government body dealt. . . . ¶The values that attach to records because of the information they contain will be referred to as “informational values.” The information may relate, in a general way, either to persons, or things, or phenomena. The term “persons” may include either individuals or corporate bodies. The term “things” may include places, buildings, physical objects, and material things. The term “phenomena” relates to what happens to either persons or things—to conditions, problems, activities, programs, events, episodes, and the like. ¶It should be emphasized that the distinction between evidential and informational values is made solely for purposes of discussion. The two types of values are not mutually exclusive.Ham 1993, 8On the other hand, informational values are wider in scope and pertain to information about the objects of bureaucratic activity: the persons, places, and activities with which the institution dealt.Dollar 1993, 45A growing number of archivists are now urging that archival appraisal return to basics and pay more attention to the documentation of program accountability, which suggests that the informational value of information application systems may be eclipsed by their evidential value.Schrock 1996, 209–210Items that do not have intrinsic or artifactual value (and these are usually the majority) are said to have “informational value.”Livelton 1996, 78The two basic kinds of secondary value are evidential and informational. The former refers to documents that provide evidence about the structure of an organization and the manner in which it operated, while the latter refers to information in the documents about persons, things, and phenomena.Adkins 1997, 20In a corporate environment it is much more important to appraise records for their informational value than for their evidential value. My experience at Kraft and Ford shows that executives and employees tend to request bits and pieces of information from our records, not records that provide evidence of how business has been conducted over the years.Boles 2005, 13Schellenberg called the other category “informational” value. Informational value encompassed information found in any record that document a person, thing, or phenomenon considered “important.”Farley and Willey 2015, 457The informational value of the collection attracts various groups of patrons who find it valuable for addressing social questions, issues of government accountability, and genealogical research.
Census records have informational value to genealogists long after those records’ evidential value as an enumeration of the population for the federal government has passed.