n.AppraisalRecords Managementthe usefulness, significance, or worth that determines a record’s retentionHolmes 1943, 9While this is largely the work of the Supervisor of Public Records, opinions on the value of records and advice on the retention periods must be sought from many sources. In each case evaluations are made on the basis of continuing administrative usefulness, legal value, fiscal or audit value, and historical or research value.McCain 1953, 8The importance of records to the businessman and the government official should, of course, be obvious. Many public officials, however, seem to respect most those records which attest to their financial integrity, and many of our businessmen should be reminded from time to time of the value of their files and books. It is quite evident that large numbers of our citizens have little appreciation of the value of records until they have need of them to inform or protect themselves.Culbert 1975, 535One of the questions which archivists should consider is the historical value of such materials. It is one thing to praise their value as a teaching device—who can be against something which interests students and causes them to do a little work? But will such projects be used by professional historians?Dowling 1976, 243He emphasized the importance of securing the best expert or panel of experts in the field to testify in court cases regarding the value of a gift.Brichford 1977, 3Where large quantities of records are involved, the archivist must evaluate them at the record group, record series, or collection level. He does not have time to inspect each cubic foot of records to arrive at a judgment of its value. In evaluating large volumes of records, records managers and systems analysts may exercise important roles in records appraisal.Raymond and O’Toole 1978, 30The belief that archives are a mere luxury, provided for the benefit of scholarly researchers, divorced from the central concerns of the government and the public, will no longer be supportable. The value of archives beyond the interests of the academic world will be demonstrated. The importance of archives in the management of the public business will be made clear.Jones 1980, 43Archivists describe records as having two types of basic values: primary (or administrative or operational) value and secondary (or archival, research, or informational) value.Rapport 1981, 144We have to keep this in mind because, in addition to our obligation as archivists to do our best, as servants of the people, to preserve for them records of value, we have, as Bauer implied, an obligation not to make the nation pay for preserving what isn’t worth the cost of preserving.Quinn 1982, 19However, records and papers of a value comparable to those initially accessioned may be rejected as the repository matures and its shelves become crowded. Appraisal criteria are never static.Sigmond 1991, 147The problem of appraisal is primarily a problem of value or values, figuring out what should be retained or destroyed. The determination of value here should be based on value for the organization that created the records, first to ensure its continuity (juridical value) and secondly to be understood by future generations (evidential value).Ricks, Swafford, and Kay 1992, 80A records appraisal is an examination of the data gathered through the records inventory to determine the value of each records series to the organization.Maher 1992, 36One of the most fundamental elements of archival practice is appraisal—the process by which the archivist assesses the value of documents and decides which should be kept and which should be destroyed.Ham 1993, 58Without the resources to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the records, the archivist cannot know their value. If archivists do not know the value of the records they cannot determine if an exhaustive appraisal is necessary.Schellenberg 1994, 6The cultural impetus to establish the Public Record Office came from the historians. From the 17th century onward they had attempted to develop a public recognition of the value of records. Their efforts, however, met with little immediate public or official response.Livelton 1996, 87, fn. 23Second, it would be best to avoid the possible assumption that only records useful for both reference and research would qualify as archives. Schellenberg—to anticipate what follows—is trying to insinuate into his definition of archives the value of records for scholarly research above all else.Mims 1996, 19Records have administrative, fiscal, legal, or historical value. Perceiving these types of value in an individual record helps us to manage it properly.Stephens and Wallace 2001, 6The records appraisal concept holds that the retention value of business records must be established based on identifying the primary and secondary values the records possess, and then making judgments as to when, if ever, these values expire or decline to the point where disposal of the information can be contemplated. Primary values are those reflecting the basic business purpose(s) served by the records, the reason they were created. Secondary values reflect other uses to which the information may be put during the course of their life cycle, uses that may justify continuing retention after the expiration of primary values. Administrative or operational values are usually identified as primary values. Research or historical values are generally designated as secondary values. Legal value can be either a primary or a secondary value, depending on the purpose and function of a record. A records series can (and usually does) possess several of these values simultaneously, and they may change during a record’s life cycle.Hyry, Kaplan, and Weideman 2002, 64Regarding teaching, they generally agreed that there is little of value in lecture notes, since they are mostly surveys and summaries of information from secondary sources.Bingo 2011, 516Typical appraisal criteria might identify value associated with the records creator’s role as a faculty member and an active member in the local literary community, as well as the activities and relationships associated with those roles.Stanford and Meyer 2011, 3One criterion for judging the value of records lies in their potential use.Caron and Brown 2013, 138More significantly, there are very few recognized socioeconomic or other determinants generally in place to permit content differentiation for the purposes of deciding its continuing persistence, preservation, accessibility, or disposal based on criteria of value.Millar 2014, 120Archivists must also change our perception of the nature and relative value of records. Rather than conceiving of archives as “goods” to be managed in different “stores” – church archives, business archives, government archives, literary archives, and so on, like meat from the butcher and bread from the baker – we need to look at records and archives from the perspective of risk. We need to discriminate between records with high, enduring public accountability and enduring value, those with high but time-limited accountability and enduring value, and those with lower accountability but continuing value.Denk 2016, 1The Gregory Peck papers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences serve as a prime example in demonstrating the value of a collection beyond its expected scope. This collection takes us far beyond the confines of Hollywood in both a geographical and topical sense and helps us recognize the value of collections that offer something not immediately obvious.Thomas 2016, 1Articles in Chapters 2 and 3, for example, lay a multi-disciplinary theoretical foundation that should inform any archivist’s thinking as they are developing preservation programs, defining collection development policies and considering what is and is not of value and importance to preserve.Appraisalthe amount of money something might bring if offered for saleScobey 1976, 22What is required in the way of surveillance depends less on the class of people using the facilities than on the value of the holdings. Even sedate and elegant institutions patronized in the main by serious researchers become vulnerable as they accumulate rare items which attract the attention of a professional documents or museum thief, or the value of which proves tempting to someone who heretofore has proved to be a trustworthy employee.Berkeley 1977, 52All donors of private papers should be advised routinely that there is the possibility of a tax deduction of the value of the donated property provided the donation did not consist of private papers created by the donor.Rendell 1983, 307Those for insurance, which are undertaken almost exclusively for private collectors, need not contain the supporting information as to the methods of arriving at the stated values.Overbeck 1993, 63Literary manuscripts curators and researchers encounter private collectors far more frequently than do archivists and archival users in most other fields. The collector acquires literary manuscripts to see them preserved and for exclusivity of ownership. The more popular or significant the work and the rarer the document, the greater the value of the collection.Computingthe information found within a record, field, or variableGeda 1979, 162–163Adequate documentation for the data is required. The documentation must include a complete description of each variable. (This may be the question text if the documentation is for a sample survey.) Descriptions for each of the code values used to represent the responses or numeric values are also required along with the location of each variable on the tape or punched card.Wheaton 1982, 462At this point the cursor enters the field of year-interval lines. The standard intervals are given as default values, and we try not to deviate from them. The dates may be changed if necessary by rewriting them.Moore 2006, 147A checksum is generated by an algorithm that combines all of the bits in the record to provide a reduced representation. A checksum can be evaluated and compared with the value stored in the logical attributes. If the record becomes corrupted, for example by damage to a tape on which it was stored, the data grid can replace it with a copy that has been previously verified as correct.Digital RecordsPhotographythe level of brightness or color in an imageSpuck, Blackwell, and Soha 1976, 135The problem here is that the noise cannot be separated from the inscription solely on the basis of perimeter. A large perimeter value (Figure 15) removes most noise, but it also results in an unacceptable loss of inscription data. A smaller perimeter value (Figure 16) preserves more of the inscription, but also admits more noise.Marchand 1992The problem with photographs is that they are often poorly done, particularly given the conditions under which they often must be made, and the process of improving them in the darkroom is long and arduous. The digital computer has changed all that. Note that I have said “the digital computer.” A normal photograph is not digital, but analog in nature, that is to say, is continuous rather than discrete in its registration of light values.McCann, Southworth, and Buchman 2010, 62After image capture the master files are viewed in Adobe Photoshop to verify that the target values are colormetrically correct.
“Value” is a heavy-laden word in archivy. Besides meaning the importance of the record in cultural and societal terms, it means the worth of a record in cash, not to mention its specialized uses in digital archives and photography. Beyond these basic, single-word senses, our field uses dozens of additional multi-word terms for different kinds of value, which include gradations of meaning so fine as to rarely be observed in the archivist’s actual practice of communicating with words. Permanent and enduring value may have no difference in meaning. Legal and evidentiary value may cover essentially the same concept. Some of these “values” we share with the rest of the world, and some we have made only for ourselves. This plethora of terms underlines the deep need in archivists to identify records that are truly worth keeping. Value is a difficult concept to corral and tame, thus we use many terms so we might have many additional lenses through which to appraise and select records for a period of time we designate as “permanent.”