n. AppraisalRecords Managementthe usefulness, significance, or worth that determines a record’s retention Appraisalthe amount of money something might bring if offered for sale Computingthe information found within a record, field, or variable Digital RecordsPhotographythe level of brightness or color in an image


“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.”