Archivists, when they hear researchers say that they have “discovered” records in the archives–sometimes described as the “dusty archives” to our chagrin–are likely to respond by saying: “How do you think they got there in the first place!”
The truth is archivists and researchers often work collaboratively in understanding the research value of records. As archivists we seek out and appraise records based on our mandate and on appraisal criteria which include the content of the records and where and how they were created and used, the order and completeness of the records, their condition, as well as aspects relating to their authenticity, reliability and intrinsic value.
Researchers, however, bring their unique questions to the archives and the records they consult and, in working with researchers, archivists can learn a lot about the records we have acquired, organized and preserved and even how records relate to and add value to one another. Continue reading