n.a record in a tangible form, especially a record on paperHolmes 1938, 177The researcher would find his best source to be the physical records of old firms, but he would also learn much from blank book, business machine, and filing equipment advertisements in old files of business magazines, and, for the recent past, much from old businessmen and from the older salesmen of the great business supply and filing equipment firms.Lake 1961, 305In institutions that have been granted authority for destruction of case folders subsequent to microfilming in which the material has not yet been destroyed, the physical records are to be retained for the 25-year period and the microfilm records are to be transferred to the State of Illinois Archives.Mattern 1982, 448Research experience gradually converted Draper from a simple concern with preserving the past through written historical narratives to an awareness of the importance of preserving the physical records.Cook 1992, 183While good archivists have always considered context more important than content, they have traditionally used context to explain or situate the physical record. It is now time to focus much more centrally on context, or on a conceptual version of provenance, if appraisal theory is to be redefined to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.Schellenberg 1994, 149The records universe is not limited to the physical records of the generating agency but includes any source or agency that contains the data.Montgomery 2012, 345It is unlikely that the U.S. defense and intelligence communities will return the physical records as long as they view them as having national security value. After all, the scanned documents have not been completely released into the public domain out of national security concerns and risks to innocents and third parties named in the files, which also identify many who served in Hussein’s regime.Fernández and Lewis 2015, 6, fn. 14In this collaborative project entitled the Oregon Chinese Disinterment Documents, the OMA enabled a community archive to retain custody of its physical records while hosting and providing access to digital surrogates.Hight et al. 2017, 17An example discussed at the meeting was the records of the League of Women Voters of Kansas, which has identified the Kansas Collection at KU as the official repository for its records. Yet, there is also a small amount of physical records at KHS, which led KHS to include the League’s website on its list of potential sites to crawl.Wick 2020, 207While the author purports that the volume covers both digital and physical materials, the utility of the volume is clearly weighted toward physical records.
Archivists have used this term in various ways over the last century. Originally, archivists would call something a physical record to distinguish it from nonrecords, especially when those nonrecords also had documentary value. Later, archivists used the term to segregate paper records from micrographic records or unrecorded narratives. In current use, the term distinguishes hardcopy records of any kind as distinguished from audiovisual and digital records.