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A study of the theory of appraisal for selection Turner, Jane 1992

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A STUDY OF THE THEORY OF APPRAISAL FOR SELECTIONByJANE TURNERB.A. Carleton University, 1983M.A. Carleton University, 1985A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARCHIVAL STUDIESinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(School of Library, Archival and Information Studies)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA24 January 1992© Jane Turner, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of School of Library Archival and Information StudiesThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate 28 January 1992DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTAppraisal for selection is a vital archival function thatdemarcates knowledge of our past and influences our ability toform our future. Present archival theory, however, includes aprofusion of conflicting and ambiguous criteria and terminologythat correspond to the imprecise conceptualization of theAppraisal issues involved. The central problem of appraisal ishow to mitigate the distortion in the documentary heritage ofsociety that is caused by the subjective process of apportioningvalue to records. This thesis evaluates international appraisaltheory in western continental Europe, Britain, United States andCanada through a study of existing literature that explainsappraisal ideas and discusses their practical application. Itidentifies areas of contradiction and generally acceptedprinciples of appraisal. The study then builds on the strengthsof international traditions of appraisal by focussing on threetheoretically coherent principles that can guide appraisal forselection: the principle of impartiality, the principle ofprovenance, and the principle of contemporary value.iiTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^Acknowledgement^Table of ContentsiiIi,Introduction^ p. 1Chapter 1: The Probative Nature of DocumentaryEvidence^ p. 10Chapter 2: European Traditions of Appraisal^ p. 29Chapter 3: British Traditions of Appraisal^ p. 57Chapter 4: North American Traditions of Appraisal^ p. 90Conclusion p. 116Bibliography^ p. 128Appendix: Glossary of Archival Terms^ p. 136ACKNOWLEDGEMENTI gratefully acknowledge the contribution of my thesiscommittee to the development of my ideas on appraisal. My thesissupervisor, Luciana Duranti, willingly gave of her time, talentand knowledge; Norman Prelypchan shared his knowledge of Canadianlaw; and David Breen provided an historical perspective ofappraisal issues and offered encouragement and support. Thecontributions of each one helped to refine the final product.ivINTRODUCTIONYou and I by our involvement are eitherdestroying or agreeing to the destruction ofthat very evidence which, in an almostHippocratic oath sense, we are professionallybound to defend and preserve. That, withoutany question, is our first pitfall--aschizophrenic dilemma which we feel would notface us in an ideal world.Felix Hull, 1980.1Appraisal is a vital archival function in which records thathave exhausted their usefulness are destroyed, and records ofvalue are identified and preserved as the documentary heritage ofsociety. Appraisal decisions demarcate our knowledge of our pastand, therefore, influence our ability to form our future. In avery real way, archivists mediate society's knowledge of itself.In the light of this heavy burden, present appraisal practicesometimes appears to be inadequate. Some archivists, such asFelix Hull, go so far as to argue that appraisal poses an ethicalproblem to the archival community.Since the mid-nineteenth century, archivists throughout thewestern world have struggled to come to terms with the modernexplosion of recorded information in a proliferation of forms andmedia, which has exacerbated since World War I. Three factorscomplicate the issue of appraisal: the mass of records involved,the increased demand of the research community for access, and1 Felix Hull, "The Appraisal of Documents--Problems andPitfalls," Journal of the Society of Archivists 5 (April 1980):287.1the troublesome question of the relativity of value.Examples of the exponential expansion of records can beseen in a 1976 statistical report which notes that the UnitedStates held 930,000 cubic metres of archives with an annualgrowth rate of 165,000 cubic metres, and France held 1,370,000shelf metres with an annual growth rate of 51,000 metres.2 Manyhave traced the cause of the hypertrophy of records to the rapidexpansion of government that now influences and documents manyaspects of modern life, and to society's technological capabilityof copying documents with ease. Both trends have resulted in theproliferation of files that no longer are limited to recordedtransactions, but also include copies of peripheral records andmaterial that can be used for general information and reference.The pressure to destroy records in order to control the mass ofinformation, while maintaining fiscal and legal responsibility,is on a collision course with an increasing pressure fromresearchers for broader public access to information. Appraisalliterature regularly cites disturbed or outraged researchers whocharge archivists with the irresponsible destruction ofinformation. The problems posed by the quantity of records andpublic demands for access are, in essence, practical problemsthat need to be addressed through the development of publicpolicy and careful management of resources.Unlike the preceding practical issues, the notion of value2 Felix Hull, The Use of Sampling Techniques in theRetention of Records: A RAPW Study with Guidelines (Paris:UNESCO, 1981), 2.2is central to the theoretical problem of appraisal. Value is arelative concept, rather than an absolute or permanent one. Itis not inherent in records, but is relative to the perspective ofthe one ascribing value, whether it be the records creator, theresearcher or the archivist. The intervention of the archivistinto the formation of the documentary heritage of society,through the process of appraisal, creates a twofold danger inwhich the historical record could be distorted, and its archivaland probative nature could be damaged or destroyed.In response to the massive growth of modern records, thearchival community has developed several methods for selectingrecords for permanent preservation. For the most part,archivists have attempted to identify values that they understandto be inherent in the records themselves. They have variouslytermed these values administrative value, financial value, legalvalue, historical value, research value, evidential value andinformational value. To identify value, archivists have adaptedprinciples governing archival arrangement to the appraisalfunction.The principle of pertinence, now rejected as a method ofarrangement, uses a content analysis of records to identifyimportant subject areas dealt with. Appraisal decisions derivedfrom content analysis are understood to be based on theinterpretive methodology of historical study, because theimportance of the subject can vary according to the interest andperspective of the creator, researcher or archivist. The3principle of pertinence is commonly understood to identifyrecords containing informational value.The principle of provenance, on the other hand, uses astructural analysis of records to identify the relationship thatexists between the records and the records' creator. Structuralanalysis assumes that the content and organization of the recordsmirror the functions and activities of the creator. Theprinciple of provenance is commonly understood to identifyrecords containing evidential value. The principles ofpertinence and provenance are generally used in conjunction withone another.The modern explosion of recorded information has exposedtraditional appraisal procedures as bereft of intellectualclarity. Archivists such as Helen Samuels question the abilityof present archival practices to identify and preserve thedocumentary heritage of our society, and have sought toameliorate the situation by advocating the development ofcoherent national plans.3 Such integrated planning, oftenreferred to as documentation strategy, offers the benefit ofconsistency and rigour to the planning process. However, many ofthe procedures that are advocated in the application ofdocumentation strategy reflect the conflicting and ambiguouscriteria, practices and terminology that correspond to the3 Helen Samuels, "Who Controls the Past," American Archivist49 (Spring, 1986): 109-124. This article is Samuels'introductory analysis of the current theoretical and practicalshortcomings of appraisal, and her proposed solution ofdocumentation strategy.4Imprecise conceptualization of the appraisal issues involved.A study of the literature of appraisal reveals that there islittle agreement even on elementary questions, such as: What isthe purpose of appraisal? Who should appraise? When shouldrecords be appraised? What values are being appraised? How arethose values identified? As one probes deeper, the intellectualproblems become more complex. What is our documentary heritageand how can we identify it? What is the role of impartiality inthe evaluation process? How can we impartially appraise recordswhen the criteria of selection are inevitably derived from asubjective notion of value?Given the importance of appraisal to archivists and tosociety, and the intellectual confusion that is apparent in muchof the literature, the theory of appraisal requires reevaluation.Stich a reevaluation will be attempted in this thesis by a studyof existing literature that theoretically explains andpractically applies appraisal ideas. The responsibility ofdemocratic governments to be publicly accountable for theiractions has resulted in well developed ideas and practice ofappraisal among government archivists. For this reason, theanalysis will focus on the theoretical framework that has beenestablished for the appraisal of public records. However, thereis no logical barrier to extending conclusions in an informalmanner to the appraisal of private records as well.In order to keep the following inquiry clearly focussed,three issues must be clarified. First, practical preservation5problems such as the availability of staff, equipment, storageand finances will not be dealt with. Although these factors arecentral to a repository's ability to preserve records, they areconceptually separate from the intellectual process by whichrecords are selected for preservation. Given limited financialresources, an archivist may decide to override theoreticalconcerns by practical ones. But, mingling the two very differenttypes of concerns further muddies the already murky waters.Second, the thesis will focus only on appraisal for selection,and will not investigate appraisal for acquisition. Because ofthe breadth of the topic of appraisal, and the confusion anddebate that exists within the archival community surrounding itsbasic concepts, this study will lay the groundwork for furtherstudy on the entire subject. Third, the meaning of the termvalue will be circumscribed. Because value is a relative termthat is ascribed to records, the term will only be used when aperspective is involved, such as the perspective of analdministrator, researcher or archivist. The term archival valueis often used in appraisal literature to refer to the organic,authentic and impartial nature of records. In order to clarifythe discussion, the use of the term in this sense will beavoided; for, the nature of archives is not relative to anyperspective, but is inherent in the records themselves, and islogically derived from the creation process. It is the creationprocess within an administratively accountable context thatresults in the probative use of archival records for legal or6research purposes.^Therefore, the terms archival nature andprobative nature will be used when referring to this concept.This study will attempt to identify generally accepted andtheoretically coherent appraisal principles that can guidearchivists in the appraisal process. It will be directed by thefollowing research questions: What are the criteria that guidethe appraisal process in the identification of permanent value?Can the archival principles of impartiality, contemporary valueand provenance provide a conceptual framework in which appraisaldecisions can be made?Chapter one will analyze the perspectives of law and historyon the probative nature of documentary evidence. Bothdisciplines use documents to reconstruct the past for theirvarious purposes of judicial judgement and culturalinterpretation. To reach their objectives, they requirereliable, accurate records. The probative nature of records isdirectly related to the circumstantial guarantee oftrustworthiness the creation process provides. The preservationof the probative nature of records must, therefore, be paramountin the archival implementation of the appraisal process.Chapter two to four will analyze the writings of archivaltheorists in order the establish the general consensus onappraisal theory and procedures. This analysis will include adiscussion of the notion of value and the role of the principleof provenance in the appraisal process. Its intent is toidentify areas of coherence and contradiction within the general7theoretical framework.^In this manner, the areas that needreevaluation will become apparent.Chapter two focuses on traditions of appraisal in western,continental Europe. It will analyze the few available publishedquotations and translations of the writings of archivaltheorists, including Friedrich Meinecke, Hans Meissner, MarcelBaudot, Johannes Papritz, Elio Lodolini and Hans Booms. Thediscussion will concentrate on the theoretical division betweencontent analysis and structural analysis in the identification ofvalue. Several of these theorists also expose two importantissues that require clarification if a coherent theory ofAppraisal is to be developed: the impartial perspective of thearchivist, and the relativity of value.Chapter three focuses on British traditions of appraisal asseen in the writings of Sir Hilary Jenkinson and Sir James Grigg.The discussion will analyze Jenkinson's thoery of the nature ofarchives, and will relate it to Grigg's attempt to combinehistorical and administrative value in such a way as to preservethe archival and probative nature of archives.Chapter four will focus on the North American traditions ofappraisal as seen primarily in the writings of Philip Brooks andTheodore Schellenberg. Their influential concepts of evidentialvalue and informational value reflect a practical strategy thatequates use with value, and deflect the intellectual resolutionof theoretical problems.The conclusion will summarize accepted notions about the8theoretical foundation of the appraisal process. Then, it willattempt to build on the strengths of international traditions ofappraisal by identifying three fundamental principles to guideAppraisal for selection: the principle of impartiality, theprinciple of contemporary value, and the principle of provenance.9CHAPTER 1:THE PROBATIVE NATURE OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCEProof is a word often loosely used almost asa synonym for evidence. A more accurate useindicates the amount and quality of evidencewhich brings home conviction to the mind.When the result of evidence is assent to theproposition or event which is the subject-matter of inquiry, such proposition or eventis said to be proved.Sir Richard Eggleston, 1983.1Archival documents created by individuals and organizationswithin the juridical system of a particular society provideevidence of the functions, activities and transactions of theircreators. The study of such evidence is the primary method bywhich we gain an understanding of the immediate and historicalpast for both administrative and cultural purposes. The natureof documentary evidence is of prime importance and concern to lawand history, which rule and explain the conduct of our society.Both disciplines recognize the central problem inherent in usingdocuments to establish truth: the probative nature of documentsis directly dependent on the reliability of the creation process.The preservation of the nature of archival documents must,therefore, remain a guiding principle of the appraisal process.1 Sir Richard Eggleston, Evidence, Proof and Probability(Landon: Widenteld and Nicolson, 1983), 6.10Given the importance of truth and self-knowledge to historyand law, each discipline has developed a methodology that governsthe use of documents. The methodology attempts to understand thenature of documentary evidence so as to circumvent its weaknessesand buttress its strengths. Because of their reliance ondocuments as evidence, it is not surprising that there are manysimilarities between the purpose and method of law and history.The similarities and variances between the two will be exploredin order to understand better how each uses documentary evidenceto establish truth. The resulting knowledge about the nature ofdocumentary evidence should lay the groundwork necessary for anunderstanding of the archival function of appraisal.The law constitutes the body of rules that is accepted bysociety, adjudicated by the courts, and enforced by the state.2The body of rules governs the conduct of society in general, andresolves disputes in particular. Its prime purpose is to renderjudicial judgements in disputes or violations of the rights andduties of citizens, which are then implemented by and with theforce of the state. In a concrete and powerful way, the broadpurpose of the law defines and reflects the dominant ethos of thesocial, political and cultural features of a particular society.Although the law has a distinctly contemporary perspectivethrough its involvement in present events, it also integrates anhistorical perspective into judicial proceedings through the2 The following discussion of the law reflects the commonlaw tradition. It must be noted that many of its features arealso codified in the civil law.11doctrine of stare decisis.3 The hierarchical system of thecommon law tradition uses historical precedents to drawconclusions and pass judgements in the present. Such a practiceassumes an important link between past and present that existswithin the conservative tradition of the law, in which the courtsattempt to provide stability to society through time. In thismanner, a legal perspective has the dual function of temperingjudicial judgeMent with the experience of the past, and ofgoverning the conduct of society from the perspective of thepresent.Judicial judgements are rarely based on certainty; rather,they are circumscribed by natural and logical limitations. Thelegal process attempts to identify the truth of a contentiousissue in an imperfect setting. The court examines "therecollections of untrained observers, often emotionally affectedby the events they are being asked to describe."4 To counteractthese natural limitations, the courts rely on cross-examination,3 Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed., s.v. "Stare decisis."The concept of precedents is based on the doctrine of staredecisis, which is grounded on the theory that security andcertainty require that accepted and established legal principles,under which rights may accrue, be recognized and followed. Whena point of law has been settled by decision, it forms a precedentwhich cannot ordinarily be departed from.^In unusualcircumstances, a precedent can be set aside, when it is necessaryto vindicate plain, obvious principles of law and remedy acontinued injustice.^Within Canadian federal and provincialjurisdictions, lower courts must abide by the judgements ofhigher courts and have a discretionary power of using precedentsof collateral courts. All are bound by decisions of the SupremeCourt.4 Eggleston, Proof, 6.12testimony under oath and strict admissibility standards.There are several other factors that place severelimitations on the legal establishment of proof. Rarely is thecourt in command of all relevant facts. Witnesses can beunavailable, refuse to become involved, or be unaware that theycan assist. If they do participate, they, or their superiors,can intentionally censor their testimony. As well, lawyers canlack diligence and clients can lack alertness. The overridinglimitation on the entire process is the essential imperfection ofhuman recollection and the unintentional censorship imposed bythe subconscious.5Documentary evidence succumbs to most of these short-comings, and is clearly susceptible to the intentional andunintentional censorship of records creators. Since documentaryevidence cannot submit to the normal checks of oath-taking andcross-examination, the court must rely solely on rulesdelineating exceptions to hearsay and admissibility standards inits attempt to guarantee proof of facts.The establishment of proof is rarely accomplished withcertainty. Most often it is established by degrees of persuasionwhich bring conviction to the mind: "when the result of evidenceis assent to the proposition or event which is the subject matterof inquiry, such proposition or event is said to be proved."65 Ibid, 32-33.6 Ibid, 6.13The courts thus enter the realm of probabilities and theapportioning of probative value. Because of the limitationssurrounding the evidence of past events, the conclusion of thecourt "is much more likely to be a conclusion as to what probablyhappened than a conclusion as to what actually did happen."7Courts, therefore, must rely on degrees of persuasion, on"somebody's evaluation of the likelihood of a future eventhappening, or of a past event having happened. . . ."8 Thedetermination of degrees of probabilities, which range fromcertainty to improbability, is dependent on the concept of the"reasonable" person. Its central failing is that reason cannotbe precisely or consistently identified or evaluated within thecontext of probabilities. In this manner, the identification ofsubjective probabilities becomes inexorably tied to the seeminglycontradictory notion of subjective reason.As several judgements demonstrate, "reasonableness" israrely self-evident, particularly within the framework of themore stringent requirements of criminal law for proof beyond areasonable doubt. The concept of a rational conclusion in thecontext of a court setting is a fluid one because the jury setsthe logical parameters in which reason is established:A rational conclusion and a rationalexplanation cannot be equated in theadministration of the criminal law with areasonable conclusion and a reasonableexplanation. The jury set for themselves the7 Eggleston, Proof, 33.8 Ibid, 10.14perimeters of what is, in these contexts,reasonable.9An earlier attempt to define reasonableness in the courts arguedthatIf the evidence is so strong against a man asto leave only a remote possibility in hisfavour, which can be dismissed with thesentence "of course it is possible, but notin the least probable," the case is provedbeyond reasonable doubt, but nothing short ofthat will suffice.10The standard of proof for civil law cases is based, not onsatisfaction beyond a reasonable doubt, but on a balance ofprobabilities. One judgement attempted to explain it by arguingthat if, "the evidence is such that the tribunal can say 'wethink it more probable than not' the burden is discharged, but ifthe probabilities are equal, it is not."11 Another judgementstated that if "the evidence shows a balance in favour of ithaving happened then it is proved that it did in fact happen."12In contrast to the purpose of the law, which participatesdirectly in society, the writing of history is a cultural act ofinterpretation that stands apart from the political powerstructure of society. The historical perspective is inherentlyexpansive and retrospective. History is written, not to govern9 La Fontaine v. R. (1976) 136 C.L.F. 72; quoted inEggleston, Proof, 115.10 Miller v. Minister of Pensions (1947) 63 T.L.R. 474;quoted in Eggleston, Proof, 116.11 Ibid; quoted in Eggleston, Proof, 132.12 Davies v. Taylor (1974) A.C. 207; quoted in Eggleston,Proof, 132.15the conduct of society, but to explain its meaning. It relatespast events to the social, political and cultural context inwhich those events existed in order to provide meaning to themembers of present day society. Its focus can be on the dominantethos of society, or the powerless fringe. In either case, theresponsibility of the historian's emphasis on context results inan explicit attempt to relate the event studied to issues in thebroader society.During the nineteenth century, the increasingly acceptedstandard for the writing of history was the German model of arigorously objective scientific study, which intended to producean accurate representation of the past events of the world.Reflecting the positivist attitudes of the confident age ofprogress, history was written during this time in an attempt toidentify large scale laws of nature that could be applied tosociety. Historians in the first half of the twentieth centuryresponded to resulting charges of historicism by retreating fromgrand purposes to understand and influence society. Instead,history was seen to have no relevance to modern society, and wasstudied in its own terms and for its own sake.The modern understanding of the purpose of history writinghas been transformed with the rise of our awareness of thesubjective interaction between the observer and the observed,which renders the entire process value-charged.13 The logic of13 Classic discussions of the value-laden process of historywriting can be found in the following publications: E.H. Carr,What is History? (New York: Vintage Books, 1961); Robin G.16relativity has rendered the meaning of humanist inquiry to be anessentially subjective study of human society in which theinquirer is relative to the subject being studied:The Subjective elements of all the knowers,makers and players with cultural forms, aswell as his own subjective aspects as knower,are forever entwined with his knowledge . . .All his subjects are time bound andculture bound and so is his own consciousnessas knower.14The modern understanding of the role of subjectivity inhistorical inquiry "has marked the turning of the tide away fromthe positivist view of the historian as the detached observertreating historical events as the scientist observed theoperations of nature."15Most modern historians would agree that the purpose ofhistory is not to render present judgement on the past, but toprovide society with a coherent memory that has the potential tocontribute to the development of future action. Such a purposeacknowledges the dynamic interaction between past events andpresent understanding. The attempt to interpret the meaning ofpast experience in the light of present knowledge "is subtly andunpredictably coloured by the milieu in which the historianCollingwood, The Idea of History (London: Oxford UniversityPress, 1946); G.R. Elton, The Practice of History (New York:Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1967); and Gordon Leff, History and SocialTheory (London: Merlin Press, 1971).14 Karl J. Weintraub, "The Humanistic Scholar and theLibrary," Library Quarterly 50 1 (1980): 30.15 Gordon Leff, History and Social Theory (London: MerlinPress, 1969), 28.17lives."16 Because the present inescapably provides the vantagepoint from which the past is viewed, some have argued thathistory "consists essentially in seeing the past through the eyesof the present and in the light of its problems."17 For thisreason, history can be understood to be "a continuous process ofinteraction between the historian and his facts, an unendingdialogue between the present and the past."18The historical perspective offers a unique vantage point ofknowing the result of an event, which is not apparent to theparticipants. Our understanding of the past is formed by theknown results of that event. The starting point for any analysisis the discrepancy between what people believed they were doingand what they actually did. The dual aim of the historian is toderive the meaning the event had for the participants, and thenderive the meaning the event has for posterity in light of theoutcome.19 The essence of historical thinking does notexclusively belong to the historian's craft, but is also part ofthe realm of everyday experience:It is only by historical thinking that I can16 Carl Berger, The Writing of Canadian History: Aspects ofEnglish-Canadian Historical Writing Since 1900, 2nd ed.,(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), ix. Berger'sentire book demonstrates how the writing of history is, itself,an historical act, for it inevitably reflects the cultural andintellectual context in which it is written.17 E.H. Carr, What Is History?, (New York: Vintage Books,1961), 22.18 Ibid, 35.19 Leff, History, 50-51.18discover what I thought ten years ago, byreading what I then wrote, or what I thoughtfive minutes ago, by reflecting on an actionthat I then did, which surprised me when Irealized what I had done. In this sense, allknowledge of mind is historical. . . . Allthese inquiries are historical. They proceedby studying accomplished facts, ideas that Ihave thought out and expressed, acts that Ihave done. On what I have only begun and amstill doing, no judgement can as yet bepassed.20In this manner, the historical perspective informs and enrichesevery aspect of knowledge and human society.Both law and history rely on a mental reconstruction of thepast for their various purposes of judgement and interpretation.Such a reconstruction is unlike a scientific experiment. Becausepast events cannot be repeatedly experienced and observed, thepast is essentially unverifiable and can be discovered onlyinferentially. For the most part, both disciplines must rely onlogical probabilities rather than certainty to fulfil theirpurposes. In both cases, certainty is circumscribed by naturaland logical limitations inherent in the process of mentallyreconstructing human activity.In order to control the inherent limitations of documentaryevidence, law and history have developed similar means toevaluate it and ensure its reliability. Both attempt to providean objective evaluation of sources from which logical conclusionscan be drawn. Because of the exacting social consequences thatresult from the implementation of the judicial process, the20 Robin G. Collingwood, The Idea of History, (London:Oxford University Press, 1946), 219.19judiciary has developed a complex system of common and positivelaw to guide the process. History, on the other hand, isdeveloped in an informal way, with a less rigorously definedsetting, more subtle social consequences, and, because of thedestruction or loss of records inevitable with the passage oftime, less available evidence. Because of these factors, itsstandard of proof is rarely higher than a balance ofprobabilities. In order to establish historical proof, however,history has the same need for accurate and authentic evidence asthe law. For this reason, the standards set by the legalprofession can be flexibly applied to historical inquiry as well.Primarily, legal rules provide exceptions to the use of hearsayevidence, and delineate an acceptable authentication process ofevidence by establishing admissibility criteria. While the rulesprimarily apply to government and business records, the variousCanadian evidence acts have defined the concept of business sobroadly that it includes all forms of organized activity. Byextension, then, the rules also apply to private records as well.The common law has established that hearsay evidence isinadmissible because it fails to guarantee accuracy of facts. Itdoes not proceed from personal knowledge of the witness, but fromrepetition of what the witness has heard from others. The valueof hearsay evidence thus derives, not from the credibility of thewitness, but from the veracity and competence of other people.Such testimony inhibits the establishment of truth because of thecourt's20inability to observe the demeanour,credibility, and personality of the declarantwhose statement is in issue, the inability toqualify, clarify or cast doubt upon thestatement by cross-examination, and the factthat ordinarily the declaration, unlike therest of the evidence before the court, willnot have been given under oath.21Documents are categorized by the courts as hearsay because"they can only 'tell' the court that which someone else 'told'them."22 Documents, therefore, "inevitably make in-courtassertions about statements made by someone else outside of thecourtroom."23 Because such evidence is indirect, it is unable tocomply with two essential features of the judicial system thatensure accuracy of evidence: cross-examination and witnessingunder oath.The primary exception of documents to the hearsay rule isprovided by a circumstantial guarantee of trustworthiness in thecreation process:a court can feel relatively comfortable inbreaking new ground if it has been satisfiedthat the circumstances of the document'screation provide an adequate substitute forthe traditional safeguard of cross-examination. The proponent of a documentshould seek to persuade the court that thedocument, because of the circumstances of its21 J. Douglas Ewart, Documentary Evidence in Canada,(Carswell Legal Publications, 1984), 12.22 J.^Douglas^Ewart,^"Documentary Evidence: TheAdmissibility of Documents Under Section 30 of the CanadaEvidence Act," in Criminal Law Quarterly 22 (1980): 195. Seenote 16a.23 Ewart, Evidence, 12.21creation, is inherently reliable. 24If counsel can show that the creation and custody of a documentare trustworthy, then cross-examination becomes superfluous.25The probative nature of documents is directly linked to andlimited by notions of authenticity. An authentic document is onethat is duly vested with all necessary formalities, and islegally attested. These formal attributes allow the evidence tobe considered by the court as competent, credible and reliable.26The definition implicitly acknowledges the reliability of formand legal attestation that is guaranteed by accountableprocedures.The process of authentication is one in which an attestationis made by a duly appointed official who certifies that a recordis in due form of law. When the court is satisfied that thedocument is authentic, it draws a logical conclusion that thedocument in question is, in fact, what it purports to be.27 Thecourt thus relies on the reliability of an organization'sinternal prycedures of creation, receipt and control ofdocuments.Proper custody is intrinsic to the probative nature ofauthentic documents because it contributes to the proceduralguarantee of authenticity. The keeping, guarding, preservation24 Ibid, 14.25 Evart, "Documentary," p. 190. See note 4.26 Black's, s.v. "Authentic."27 Ibid, s.v. "Authentication."22and security of a document carries with it the idea of thedocument being within the immediate personal care and control ofthe person to whose custody it is subjected.28 Custody is thuslinked to authenticity. That is,, proper custody guarantees thesecurity and preservation of the original integrity of thedocument, and implies its genuineness.The "Canada Evidence Act", which governs all judicialproceedings that enforce rights created by federal statutes,establishes a direct link between the probative value of records,and the authentication process and proper custody of therecords.29 The main principles of the act can be seen in itsadmissibility rules for public, government, and business records.In each case, as the circumstantial guarantee of trustworthinessdecreases, the stringency of admissibility rules increases.Public records are generally understood to be those recordswhich a government unit is required by law to keep to dischargeduties established by law.30 The aborted "Uniform Evidence Act"defined public records in precise diplomatic terms: "'publicrecords' means any Act, ordinance, regulation, order in council,proclamation, official gazette, journal, treaty or other recordissued by or under duly constituted legislative or executive28 Ibid, s.v. "Custody."29 Revised Statutes of Canada, "Canada Evidence Act," 1985,c. C-5. The same principles can be found in the provincialevidence acts as well.30 Black's, s.v. "Public record."23authority. "31^Public records can thus be understood to beprobative and dispositive documents that are officially issued orreceived by the government to guarantee the rights andobligations of Canadian citizens.32Because of the guarantees of authenticity inherent in theprocedures of issuance, these documents constitute the highestlevel of admissible documentary evidence. In each case, thelanguage delineating their acceptance is clear. The productionof the published document is accepted as evidence of thetruthfulness of its contents. The wording of the sectionregarding Acts of Parliaments is an example: "every copypurporting to be printed by the Queen's Printer shall be deemedto be so printed, unless the contrary is shown."33In contrast to public records, the Canadian act establishesa higher degree of control over admissibility of governmentrecords that are not officially issued or received. They includerecords produced in the usual and ordinary course of business byany government, department, ministry, branch, board, commission31 The "Uniform Evidence Act" was a bill that was submittedto Parliament in the early 1980s, but never passed into law.While it is not part of the statutory law of Canada, it doesrepresent a codification of existing expert opinion on evidenceissues in Canada. The definition does not contradict in any waythe one that is assumed in the sections regulating public recordsin the Canada Evidence Act (s. 19-25). Reproduced in Ewart,Evidence, 321.32 This precise definition of public records is inaccordance with the "Canada Evidence Act". Elsewhere in thisthesis the term is used in its broadest sense, as defined in theGlossary.33 "Canada Evidence Act," s. 19.24or agency performing a function of government.34 Because theircreation and custody is less stringently controlled than publicrecords, there are three conditions attached to theiradmissibility. First, the 'book' in which the entry was mademust have been one of the ordinary books kept in the creatingoffice. Second, the entry in question must have been made in theusual and ordinary course of business. Third, the copy must beauthentic. Proof of the existence of these three conditions mustbe established by oath or affidavit of an officer of the creatingoffice.35 The acceptance of these conditions for theadmissibility of documentary evidence assumes that the ordinarycontrol of procedures and forms required in the normaltransactions of the business of government is sufficient toguarantee the reliability of the resulting documents.Authenticity is guaranteed by proof of the proper custody ofrecords.Business records have the most extensive regulationsgoverning their admissibility because they are outside thecontrol of government procedures that help to ensure a highdegree of accountability to the public. The term 'record' asdefined by the evidence act indicates Parliament's intention toallow for broad admissibility of evidence. It includes "the34 Derived from definitions of "business" and "businessrecord" in the "Uniform Evidence Act" s. 152; reprinted in Ewart,Evidence, 322-323. This definition is also assumed in theregulations governing government records in s. 26 of the CanadaEvidence Act.35 "Canada Evidence Act", s. 26 (1).25whole or any part of any book, document, paper, card, tape orother thing on or in which information is written, recorded,stored or reproduced."36The law establishes only one requirement for admissibility,that the evidence be a record "made in the usual and ordinarycourse of business."37 The term 'business,' as defined in theact, is so broad that it logically includes all organizedactivity: it "means any business, profession, trade, calling,manufacture or undertaking of any kind carried on in Canada orelsewhere whether for profit or otherwise. . . ."38 The actliberalizes common law understanding of procedural guarantees ofreliability in an attempt to recognize the complexity of modernrecord-keeping methods.The act offers a balance to the liberalized admissibilitycriteria by providing the means of excluding or minimizing theevidentiary weight of a particular document under discussion incourt. Under its provisions, the court may determine theprobative nature of a particular document by considering"evidence as to the circumstances in which the informationcontained in the record was written, recorded, stored orreproduced. . . ."39 In each case, the degree of trustworthinessof the record must be established. Arguing from subsection 6,36 Ibid, s. 30 (12).37 Ibid, s. 30 (1).38 Ibid, s. 30 (12).39 Ibid, s. 30 (6).26computer records could be admissible if reliability of creationand maintenance was established. As well, expert testimony canbe included to explain the form of electronic records ifaccompanied by a sworn affidavit, or if submitted to cross-examination.40The "Canada Evidence Act" establishes two principles thatare used by the courts to identify a circumstantial guarantee oftrustworthiness in the creation process of documents: recordsmust be created systematically in the ordinary course ofbusiness, and must be kept in the custody of the officiallyappointed custodian to be considered reliable. Records withthese requisites are an authentic and reliable source that can beconsidered by the courts, and from which historical accuracy canbe assessed. It is evident that these same kinds of guaranteescan offer informal guidance in their application to the pursuitof historical meaning.The probative nature of documentary evidence is directlyrelated to the circumstantial guarantee of trustworthiness thecreation process provides. Thus, the nature of documentaryevidence is derived from the creation process in whichauthentication and custody are granted or denied. Theseprocedural guarantees of reliability permit archival documents tobe used to establish degrees of logical probabilities. Thelogical requirements for proof parallel classical archival theoryregarding the inherent characteristics of archives. Archives40 Ibid, s. 30 (4) and (9).27consist of all documentary records made or received by a body inthe course of its practical activities, and preserved as evidenceof its mandate, functions and activities. Archival documentsprovide evidence of their creator because they are interrelatedas to meaning, authentic as to procedure, and impartial as tocreation. From this guarantee of reliability, intentions andactions can be compared, the accuracy of the evidence can bedetermined, and its historical meaning can be derived.Because documents are inherently unreliable and prone tocharges of hearsay, the most pressing need for all interpretiveuses of archival documents is the preservation of the probativenature of documentary evidence from the genesis of records totheir permanent preservation. Appraisal literature must bereviewed in order to establish whether or not the theoreticalframework of appraisal adequately provides for the researchrequirement of the preservation of the probative value ofdocumentary evidence.28CHAPTER 2:EUROPEAN TRADITIONS OF APPRAISALIt might seem plausible . . . that it is notonly more meaningful, but actually essential,to view the activity of the archivist inrelationship to the societal order, since itseems clear that there exists an indissolubleconnection between values held by society andthose held by the individual.Hans Booms, 1972.1Modern traditions of appraisal in western continental Europehad an explosive beginning during the period of the FrenchRevolution, and have slowly evolved to the present day.Appraisal has been increasingly driven by the proliferation ofrecords in the burgeoning information age. European archivistshave grappled with the problems of appraisal in the context ofthe selection of public records by government repositories withclearly defined mandates of responsibility for records producedwithin carefully demarcated territorial jurisdictions. For themost part, the current practice of appraisal is limited toweeding duplicate documents or ephemera, and to samplingparticular instance and case files.In spite of the common practice of and evident need forappraisal, conflict permeates theoretical discussions of the1 Hans Booms, "Society and the Formation of a DocumentaryHeritage: Issues in the appraisal of Archival Sources," trans.Bernina Joldersam and Richard Klumpenhouwer, Archivaria 24(Summer 1987): 75.29issue. German archivists have been the primary participants inthe theoretical debate, but several French and Italian theoristshave also contributed. The most fundamental conflict is aboutthe validity of the practice, and the question of whetherappraisal destroys the inherent organic integrity of a fonds.Some call for the development of theory to guide the process,while others argue that there are no theoretical grounds for anydestruction of records.Another area of conflict is the methodology used toappraise. Two basic approaches have been developed, derived fromaccepted principles of arrangement: the principle of pertinence,which assigns value on the basis of a content analysis of therecords; and the principle of provenance, which assigns value onthe basis of a structural analysis of the organization andfunctions of the records creator. Both approaches have beenunder the constant scrutiny of the archival profession, and thevalidity of each has garnered both challenge and support. Mostarchivists advocate a hybrid of the two approaches, withparticular emphasis on one, but there has been no authoritativeresolution of the debate. Throughout appraisal literature thereoften appears to be a general confluence of apparentlyconflicting ideas, none exclusive to any time period. Since themid-twentieth century, the literature includes a growingawareness of the need for an objective framework to guide andcontrol the subjective process of apportioning value to records.As well, there has been a shift from discarding 'useless'30records to selecting records in which value is positivelyidentified.In order to understand the origins of appraisal, thefollowing discussion will begin with the French Revolution, withbrief references to practices preceding and following it. Itwill then focus on twentieth century attempts to identifycriteria for the selection of records judged to have permanentvalue through the formulation of the methodologies of content andstructural analysis. The purpose of the discussion will be toestablish whether or not the two approaches are mutuallyexclusive or complementary. As well, each methodology will beevaluated with regard to its ability to preserve the archival andprobative nature of records for administrative, legal andhistorical research use.From our knowledge of medieval times, it is clear that somesort of appraisal did exist prior to the French Revolution, andrecords were destroyed within an administrative context. Forexample, in the twelfth century, the creation of papal registriessubsumed the appraisal function by limiting the accumulation ofrecords held in registries to those that documented precedentstypical of each organizational activity. Later, with the rise ofdemocratic Italian city states in the thirteenth century, thedestruction of records was circumscribed by the states'commitment to the principle of citizens' right to obtain31information.2 It is, however, the French Revolution that usheredin the modern concept of appraisal.Ernst Posner has argued that the main currents underlyingthe archival development of the nineteenth and twentiethcenturies are derived from the democratic forces that wereunleashed in France with the revolution. The developments are areflection of the government's acknowledgement of its democraticaccountability to its citizens.^The currents include theestablishment of a national public archives administration, anacknowledgement of government responsibility to care for thedocumentary heritage of the past, and the government's commitmentto the principle of public accessibility.3^The forces ofcentralization of control and state responsibility for archivesseem to have introduced the modern practice of appraisal, whichin turn propelled a theoretical discussion about methodology andjustification that is still with us today.On June 25, 1794 (7 Messidor II), the Agence temporaire destitres was founded to appraise pre-revolutionary records.Appraisal was done by segregating the records into four broadsubject categories that were defined by the state: useful,historical, feudal titles and useless.^Useful papers, whichestablished the right of the state to confiscate property, were2 Luciana Duranti, "The Odyssey of Records Managers Part II:From the Middle Ages to Modern Times," ARMA Quarterly (October1989): 5.3 Ernst Posner, Archives and the Public Interest: SelectedEssays by Ernst Posner, ed. Ken Munden (Washington, D.C.: PublicAffairs Press, 1967), 25-26.32preserved in the newly created Archives nationales. Historicalpapers were transferred to the National Library for research use,and feudal titles and useless papers were destroyed.4 Thecriterion for appraisal was usefulness to the political interestsof the state, not only for carrying out its practical activities,but also for controlling future political events and historicalunderstanding. Early appraisal practices were, thus, explicitlydirected by political ideology. Selection was accomplished inthe midst of revolutionary fervour to guarantee the permanentdemise of illegitimate privilege, without regard for theprobative nature of the records. On October 26, 1796 (5 BrumaireV), reason prevailed with the founding of the Bureau du triagedes titres to reassess the thinking that had allowed the massdestruction of feudal titles.5 The reassessment was the firsthint of an awareness of the central problem that has plaguedAppraisal ever since: how to control and limit the subjectivityinherent in the concept of value. The destruction of feudaltitles is an example of the worst abuse of such subjectivity.In the early nineteenth century, the Napoleonic wars and theresulting rise of nationalism swept through Europe. Concomitantwith these events was the rise of historical study as a source ofencouragement to nations in the midst of the devastation ofconquest and war. The result was a growing comprehension of the4 Adolf Brenneke, Archivistica, ed. Wolfgang Leesch, Italiantranslation by Renato Perrella (Milano: Giuffre, 1968), 214.5 Posner, Archives, 26.33Importance of historical value as an appraisal criterion. Withthe entry of historical scholars into the archival profession,the methodology of appraisal was the identification of historicalvalue through a primarily intuitive analysis of the content ofrecords, coupled with a consideration of the needs of futurehistorical researchers.By the mid-nineteenth century, the concept of historical useas an arbiter of value was firmly entrenched in the appraisalprocess in France. In 1839, the government established anadvisory commission to the minister for the determination of theusefulness of documents. In later years, the commission includedarchivists, administrators and historians. In 1844, the conceptof usefulness as an appraisal criterion was tied directly toadministrative and research interest. Permanent value wasidentified by the administrative interest of the state,departments, communes, churches or charitable institutions; or bythe research interest of the disciplines of history, science,art, paleography, topography or statistics. All records relatingto these interests were to be indefinitely preserved.6In 1921, in response to concerns of indiscriminatedestruction of valuable records, the French governmentestablished rigid regulations that decreed that the greater partof public records would be preserved, and elimination would be6 Marcel Baudot, "Les triages at eliminations," Manueld'Archivistique: Thitorie at Pratique des Archives Publiques(Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N., 1970), 163-64.34considered exceptional.7 In this manner, the government affirmedits commitment to historical value and promoted the concept thatthe basic import of appraisal was to be preservation.During the same period in Germany, the approach ofarchivists to appraisal reflected their understanding ofhistorical study. Such study focused on an empirical analysis ofdocumentary sources, and was combined with practical experienceand intuitive insights that resulted in knowledge andunderstanding of society and past events. Theoreticalconstructions were seen to intrude upon the authenticity andclarity of analysis and understanding provided by the historicalperspective. For this reason, there was an inherent tensionbetween theory and practice that naturally affected appraisaldecisions. Many archivists intuitively related the concept ofpermanent value to records that were pertinent to historicalresearch. Historical value was thus linked directly to presentand potential research use, and was identified by contentanalysis of the sources. In effect, the implicit guidingstandard of appraisal was the principle of pertinence.This traditional approach to appraisal was publiclysupported at the Second German Archives Congress held in Dresdenin 1900. At the conference, Friedrich Meinecke argued thathistorian-archivists possessed a "feeling for historical life"through education and experience that equipped them with an7 Theodore Schellenberg, Modern Archives: Principles andTechniques, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), 134.35intuitive ability to appraise records for historical value.8 Ayear later, Waldemar Lippert supported Meinecke's position byarguing that the "historical expertise" acquired in the course ofthe practical experience of records disposal qualified archiviststo appraise archives.9 In L ippert's intuitive approach toappraising value, "theory is worthless or inferior—only actualpractice is decisive."10The intuitive approach to appraisal was soon challenged bythe widespread acceptance of the principle of provenance,notwithstanding the fact that many continued to support theprimacy of content analysis throughout the twentieth century. By1957, structural analysis dominated appraisal methodology inGermany. In this year, at the 35th German Archival Conference inKoblenz, Fritz Zimmerman rejected this prevalent trend, andsupported the older tradition of content analysis. He understoodthe problem of subjectivity inherent in this approach, andattempted to address the problem by providing an objectivestandard to control the concept of value.Without clearly explaining why, Zimmerman argues that anunderstanding of administrative functions and activities did notprovide an impartial criterion for identifying value. Instead,he claims that objectivity could be established by comparing the8 Booms, "Society," 84.9 Booms, "Society," 84.10 Woldemar Lippert, "Das Varfahren bei Aktenkassationen inSachsen," Deutsche Geschichtsblatter 2 (1901): 257; quoted inBooms, "Society," 85.36informational content of records to the needs and values ofsociety: "The value of a document depends upon the principle ofwhether it possesses an enduring significance for us."11 Thearchivist determines value by asking which "significant areas oflife within the pertinent records will continue to provideanswers to future inquiries."12 Zimmerman concludes that theprinciple of provenance is not the key determinant of value,because it serves only the interests of traditional political andmilitary history. Instead of using structural analysis toidentify value, documents should be judged according to theimportance of the information they carry.13 As Klumpenhouwernotes, Zimmermanshifted the source for determining archivalvalue away from the relatively formal andstable environment of administrativestructures towards the complex and ever-changing forum of societal activity ingeneral, with the research community servingas a kind of interpreter.14Zimmerman's attempt to provide an objective standard is a futileone. By using fluctuating research interest to identifypermanent value, he creates a paradigm of relativity in which11 Fritz Zimmerman, "Wesen and Ermittiung des Archivwertes:Zur Theorie einer archivalischen Wertlehres," ArchivalischeZietschrift 54 (1959): 104-107; quoted in Richard Klumpenhouwer,"Concepts of Value in the Archival Appraisal Literature: AnHistorical and Critical Analysis," (MAS thesis, University ofBritish Columbia, 1988), 137.12 Ibid, 110; quoted in Klumpenhouwer, "Value," 138.13 Klumpenhouwer, "Value," 141.14 Ibid, 142.37objectivity is irrelevant.Content analysis as an appraisal tool continues to beadvocated in the contemporary appraisal literature of otherEuropean countries, although German attempts to provide anobjective framework are notably absent from the discussion. Itsguiding principle is the preservation of records judged to bevaluable according to the standard of the needs of futureresearchers. Within this tradition, a typical example of thekind of guidance that is offered by one archivist to another isto proceed in a responsible and imaginative manner.15 In France,Marcel Baudot rightly argues that "Archivists must not lose sightof their duty to preserve the largest possible documentary recordof contemporary society, which in the future will become thesource of historical research."16 The danger of such thinking,however, resides in making future research needs the primaryfocus of appraisal.Baudot explains that historical value reveals itself in thelight of knowledge about the administrative structure in which itwas created, and in comparison to gaps in knowledge provided bythe repository's holdings, and gaps of knowledge about thepolitical, economic and social character of the regionaljurisdiction of the repository.17 While such analysis includes15 Antonia Heredia Herrera, Archivistica General: Teoria yPractice^Deputacion Provincial de Sevilla, 1987), 123.16 Baudot, "Triages," 170.17 Baudot, "Triages," 178-181.38an understanding of social and administrative structure andcontext, its focus remains on the archivist's instinctiverecognition of the historical value of the records.Booms' critique of the use of the principle of pertinencenotes the futility of archivists predicting future research useor interest:But their efforts to form the archivaldocumentary heritage of the present fromevidence of the past using value standards ofthe future necessarily ended in speculation,especially since the basic conditions ofhuman existence fog our perception of thefuture.18Many would agree that the prediction of future research interestis difficult, if not impossible and futile. Historical value isnot intrinsic to records, but is an attribute that is ascribedsubjectively to them by someone from a distinct perspectivewithin a particular historical context. Because content analysisis subject oriented, Booms links it to the principle ofpertinence that dominated the practice of archival arrangementuntil the turn of the twentieth century. He notes that contentanalysis exposed the subjective relativity of the concept ofvalue. When using this approach, "archivists were abruptly andthreateningly confronted with a staggering variety of individualsubjects, all of which lacked any prescribed value priority. "19The argument that the identification of historical value isan invalid criterion upon which appraisal decisions can be made18 Booms, "Society," 92.19 Booms, "Society," 87.39is supported by the many examples of records that have beendestroyed by one generation of archivists and mourned by anotherbecause of changing research trends. One example can be found inthe 1840 instance in which the Belgian Archivist-General orderedall sixteenth century commercial records of the Antwerp merchantsdestroyed as historically valueless.20 None could predict, atthat time, the development of economic history in which suchrecords could provide extensive knowledge about the relationshipbetween commercial activity and the broader development ofsociety.With the widespread international acceptance of theprinciple of provenance as the theoretical basis of archivalarrangement practices, the concept of structural analysis as ameans to guide appraisal entered the discussion. If meaning isderived from context, then an understanding of the administrativestructure of a records creator should be able to guide, not onlyarrangement, but also appraisal. To many German archivists, thedestruction of copies of originals or transitory records in aregistry was acceptable practice because they were regarded asextraneous to understanding context or structure: "the processgives a registry vitality, making apparent its essentialcharacteristics--its arrangement and content--and making it moreusable."21 During this same time period, British archivists were20 Renee Doehaerd,^"Remarks on Contemporary Archives,"American Archivist 14 (1950), 325.21 Schellenberg, Modern, 135.40developing the theoretical framework that would identify andexplain how the impartiality and authenticity of archivesconstitute the nature of archives.In 1939, Hans O. Meissner, former head of the Prussian PrivyState Archives re-issued and developed the systematic appraisalstandards formulated in 1901 by Georg Hille.22 In the standards,Meissner insisted that "the old conception of appraisal as amatter of intuitive or fingertip feeling was completelydiscredited."23 But his own standards could not shake completelyintuitive analysis. Archivists, he argues, should use threeindependent criteria for identifying valuable records: age,contents and function.Meissner's primary contribution to the theory and practiceof appraisal was the use of structural analysis. From a study ofprovenance, administrative and judicial records that documentedthe actual activities and functions of the creating unit withinits administrative hierarchy were to be preserved. Withoutexplaining why, he identified these records as having permanentvalue. Meissner, however, seemed to think that structuralanalysis was not sufficient to identify value. He combined itwith the study of subject content by identifying as valuabledocuments that record substantial matters that affected propertyrights, notable persons, typical administrative processes andtypical rights. He also advocated the preservation of records22 Klumpenhouwer, "Value," 52.23 Schellenberg, Modern, 137.41that documented important historical episodes, or customs andmores of past ages.24 While Meissner's approach attempts toidentify all possible subject areas of interest to futurehistorical research, the identification of "important" historicalepisodes cannot help but reflect the particular interests thatdominated historical study in Meissner's time. Even whileattempting to provide for future research needs, it wasinevitable that such an approach would fail.In 1940, Hermann Meinert participated in a specialcommission to formulate appraisal standards for the PrussianPrivy State Archives. Meinert endorsed Meissner's standards,especially the evaluation of the administrative source of therecords. He argued that the significance of a records creatorto an administrative hierarchy can be determined through ananalysis of "the position of each administrative unit in thegovernment structure, the nature of its activities, and therelations of its activities to those of superior and subordinateadministrative units."25 In this manner, Meinert firstarticulated the now well accepted theory that records must beappraised in their administrative context. The theory was latersupported and expanded until it became the foundation for themethodology of appraisal.Meinert accepted the importance of evaluating thesubject content of records.^He also sought an objective24 Schellenberg, Modern, 135-137.25 Schellenberg, Modern, 137.42standard, for he thought that the value of the content could onlybe identified if it was measured according to fixed standards.He thought he could find those standards in the theoreticalsocial structures of people, state and culture.26 Boomsattributed to Meinert the role of engineering "a virtualCopernican revolution in archival appraisal" for he "shifted theemphasis away from the negative results of appraisal, from thedestruction of the valueless, to the positive goal, to theselection of the permanently valuable. "27 By 1956, however,Meinert concluded that it was not logically possible to develop adefinitive and satisfying theory for the positive identificationof value in records. Instead, he resigned himself to traditionalforms of intuitive analysis in which "the archivist must be anhistorian" and "a good archivist must be something of an artist,"equipped with "experience, practice, passion and an intuitiveconfidence. "28Not everyone accepted Meinert's intellectual resignation tothe difficulties in providing an objective standard for theappraisal process. In 1957, at the previously mentioned 35thGerman Archives Conference in Koblenz, Georg Wilhelm Sante andWilhelm Rohr promoted the selection of permanently valuable26 Brenneke, Archivistica, 42; also in Booms, "Society," 93.27 Wilhelm Rohr, "Zur Problematik des modern Aktenwesens,"Archivalische Z:;411-schrift 54 (1988): 77; quoted in Booms, Ibid.28 Hermann Meinert,^"Zur Problematik^des modernenArchivwesens au6 der Sicht eines Stadtarchivars," ArchivalischeZeitschrift 54 (1958): 100; quoted in Booms, Ibid.43records through a structural analysis of the creating unit.Sante suggested that archivists chooseonly those agencies of greater significancewhich form the supporting framework of theadministration, so to speak, and not just themere stuffing, and which set themselves apartby their creative activity. Only suchagencies are valuable for archival purposesand shall be called upon to submit theirrecords.29Sante adds that the process of appraisal must begin with afunctional analysis of an organization, and then logicallyproceed to an assessment of the significance of the function ofan agency, or an administrative division within an agency.30Rohr attempts to construct a more exact measure by imposing ahierarchical standard of value on an administrative structure.He cites a central state archives as an example, in which themost valuable records would bethose of the constitutional bodies at thehighest levels of government . . ., then theoffice of foreign affairs, for which ofcourse all documents that do not relate tohigher politics would have to be severelyextracted from the whole. Next follow,through a number of stages of decliningimportance, the registries of the otherministries, and within these, the central ofministerial offices are the most important. .. . Subordinate agencies . . . will usuallynot survive the filter of selection.3129 Georg Wilhelm Sante, "Behorden--Aktn—Archive.^AlteTaktik and neue Strategle," Archivalische Zeitschrift  54 (1958):93; quoted in Rlumpenhouwer, "Value," 134.30 Mid, 95.31 Wilhelm Rohr, "Zur Problematik," 79; quoted in Booms,"Society," 90.44Sante also argued that archival institutions must expand theiracquisition strategies to preserve, not only government records,but also records of important private institutions. For, itcould no longer be asserted that the records of stateinstitutions are sufficient to document society as a whole.32Booms categorically rejects the "Sante-Rohr Model" ofappraisal for failing to produce a positive value selection ofrecords. He concludes that confidence in a rigid, formalstructural analysis derives from an implicit and "excessively"ideological assumption of the ultimate value of the public realmover the private:The idea that organizational activity isinherently of archival value was anchored inprevailing societal opinion; even up to the1950s, it continued to reflect the excessiveideological significance which was attachedto the institutional or formal public realmat the expense of the informal, and thedegree to which the state, as only a part ofsociety, has traditionally beenabsolutized.33Booms' rejection of structural analysis as merely ideological isnot convincing. His argument seems to have less to do withappraisal than with his desire to promote the acquisition ofprivate records by public institutions. Undoubtedly influencedby the annales school of historiography, his goal is to preservea record that will provide an understanding of the totality ofpublic and private past experience. However valuable his goal32 'bid, 94-95; quoted in Klumpenhouwer, "Value," 135.33 Booms, "Society," 90.45is, the political issue of extent and mix of public and privaterecords within a repository is better dealt with by developing aacceptable acquisition policies, rather than clouding the alreadymurky picture of appraisal.In 1964, Johannes Papritz echoed earlier attempts to developobjective standards. Scientific principles should guideappraisal and culling, he argued, and knowledge of the structuralform of the record body would serve as a precondition to suchscientific appraisal.34 He went on to insist that appraisal must"never be made dependent upon the availability of existing spacein the repository."35 His words imply that, in his assessment,appraisal is a theoretical problem that requires an intellectualresolution. Practical problems are extraneous to the centralissue of deciding how archivists choose for society which recordsshould be saved and which can be destroyed.Papritz, thus, attempts to revitalize the principle ofprovenance for the appraisal process. The principle is derivedfrom the understanding that the records of an organization arearranged together because the record body, by creation andmeaning, constitutes a logical unit in which each document existsin relationship to the entire body of records. Papritz arguesthat an understanding of the structural form of a fonds, which34 Johannes Papritz, "Zum Massenproblem der Archive," DerArchivar 17 (1964): col. 220; quoted in Booms, "Society," 94.35 Ibid; quoted in Booms, "Society," 77, footnote 24. Asnoted in the footnote, Booms considers Papritz's statement to be"ideologically rigid."46mirrors the creating administrative unit, can provide animpartial standard for the appraisal of value of its constituentparts.Booms dismisses the validity of Papritz's approach byarguing that, logically, there is no "direct path leading fromPapritz's theories about the structural form of the record bodyto a 'theory of archival value' (Papritz)."36 Alumpenhouwer alsorejects Papritz's theory by arguing that he "could offer only amethodology for studying the form and structure of records withthe implication that selection criteria would naturally flow fromthis process."37 But, neither critique offers valid reasoning toconvince readers that value cannot logically flow from thestructural form of the record body. On the contrary, ourknowledge of the probative nature of archives, which resides inthe process of creation within an accountable structure, clearlyidentifies a direct link between structure and value that isrelied upon by the judicial system and the research community.In Italy, Elio Lodolini's approach to appraisal confrontsthe logic of Papritz's attempts to develop a theoreticalframework for appraisal. While Papritz calls for the developmentof scientific theory, Lodolini expunges any logical justificationof the practice. Because the destruction of part of a fondsdamages the archival bond that exists between all of thedocuments, he concludes that there is no theoretical grounds for36 Booms, "Society," 94.37 Elumpenhouwer, "Concepts," 143.47appraisal. But, instead of rejecting the practice, Lodoliniaccepts the inevitable and notes that, if appraisal must be done,the criteria used are necessarily empirical rather thantheoretical. The empirical criteria include preservation of olddocuments, the elimination of whole series rather than individualdocuments, and preservation on basis of provenance, rather thanpertinence.38 Lodolini's emphasis on maintaining the integrityof series, and the importance of structural analysis reflects histheoretical understanding of the organic nature of archives inwhich meaning is rooted in context. Be then adds that if ninety-nine per cent of records are destroyed, as in the United States,damage cannot be avoided.39Lodolini offers hollow comfort to those attempting toconstruct an objective theoretical framework that will allowarchivists to escape from the subjective limitations inherent incontent analysis. If there are no theoretical grounds forappraisal, and yet records must be destroyed, archivists becomecaught in an intolerable quandary in which they are forced toparticipate in the destruction of meaning. Lodolini acknowledgesthat understanding the structural context and preserving theintegrity of series provide standards of appraisal that can limitdamage to a fonds. Such reasoning indicates that, in spite ofprotestations to the contrary, he is arguing from a theoretical38 Elio Lodolini, Archivistica: Principi e Problemi, 4th ed.(Milano: Franco Angell, 1987), 214.39 Ibid, 216.48standpoint, and is not simply presenting 'empirical' criteria forthe sake of expedience.Hans Booms stands apart from his contemporaries with hisrigorous exploration of the intellectual weaknesses of theprinciples of pertinence and provenance when used as appraisalmethodologies. In 1971, at the German Archives Conference,Booms advocated the principle of contemporary value as adefinitive and objective standard of appraisal. His argumentshifts the focus of Zimmerman's analysis from the significancerecords have to the appraising society, to their significance tothe creating society. Noting that a state of absoluteobjectivity is an impossible goal, Booms' methodology is anattempt to "help archivists to distance themselves from theirsubjectivity to the greatest possible extent."40 He intended hismodel to provide "a concrete orienting principle for ascribingvalue through an appraisal process of positive valueselection."41The principle of contemporary value identifies value fromthe perspective of the creating society. Because the concept ofvalue is not imposed on the records, Booms' principle has theability to provide an objective point of reference that canresolve the tautological dilemma of appraising value in contentanalysis. Booms argues that "only the society from which thematerial originated and for whose sake it is to be preserved can40 Booms, "Society," 106.41 Ibid.49provide archivists with the necessary tools to assess theconceptions by which they bring the past into the present."42Public opinion from a particular historical era expresses thedominant political culture of society, and provides a fixed pointof reference from which value decisions can be made: "Such aconstant can only be derived from socio-political values thatwere dominant at the time the documentary material was createdand actively used."43Booms also advocated the formation of documentation plans tobe developed by subject category or historical phenomenon, withinspecific time periods, as they relate to a particularrepository's sphere of responsibility. An advisory council couldanalyze contemporary opinion, and develop an historical grid ofsignificant events that occurred in the broader contemporarysociety of the records' creator. From this analysis, archivistscould "distill in concrete form the significant points from thetotal political and social events which occurred within thespecific archival jurisdiction."44 In this manner, thehistorical model could identify the essential events, actions,omissions, and developments that are characteristic of the timeand subject under consideration.After the significant events were identified, archivistscould then proceed to construct a scale of significance of the42 Ibid, 104.43 Ibid, 105.44 Ibid.50events. Booms argues thatThe more precisely archivists distinguishdegrees of historical relevance for thesehistorical phenomena according to howcharacteristic, typical or momentous theywere at the time, the more accurately willtheir documentation model reflect a scale ofsignificance for societal phenomena parallelto which a scale of value for groups ofrecords can be constructed.45Such a scale presents the significance of historical events andphenomena that relate to each archival jurisdiction, andidentifies how characteristic they were within the time periodunder consideration.Proceeding from the scale of significance, the archivist wasthen to proceed to the actual appraisal of records. Records thatdocument the "currents and cross-currents" of society were to beconsidered to have permanent value.46 The archivist could thendetermine "which documents, regardless of their provenance,possess the optimum concentration of desired information so thata maximum of documentation is achieved with a minimum ofdocuments. "47 The development of the scale of significance isthe focal point of each documentation plan, and the mosttreacherous, for it is most open to the vagaries of subjectivity.It will be objective only in so far as it recreates the climateof the creating society, according to published sources.Booms' analysis offers a remarkable contribution to the45 Ibid.46 Ibid.47 Ibid.51theory of appraisal, which, in his understanding, is supported bythe complementary methodologies of social science andhermeneutics.48 He forcefully presents the relativity problemsinherent in the process of ascribing value, and clearlyestablishes the need for an objective framework for appraisal.His most important contribution is his focus on the creatingsociety, and the formulation of the principle of contemporaryvalue.Throughout his first proposal, Booms argues that reliance onthe principle of provenance for the identification of value isderived from the romantic belief that accepts unquestionably thesignificance of public records. In his understanding, the"truth-value of the documentary material was, in principle, neverquestioned."49 His words indicate that he fails to see that"truth-value" is beside the archival point, for an analysis ofprovenance provides the key to the meaning and significance ofrecords in the context of their creation. He rejects any attemptto use the principle of provenance as a means of providing anobjective framework for appraisal. He argues that provenance isan ephemeral and unproductive value principle, for itobscured the need for the concrete, bindingvalue principles archivists seemed unable todefine, and offered surrogate appraisalmethods. In this way, Provenienzprinzip,indispensable as it was for archivalarrangement, also provided a formal,ideological basis for undertaking records48 Ibid, 103.49 Ibid, 87.52disposa1.50In 1991, however, at the annual meeting of the Associationof Canadian Archivists in Banff, Alberta, Booms modified hisconcept of documentation plans as being too complicated andtheoretical, and "not practical enough to be usable."51 His newproposal is noteworthy for the synthesis he achieves between theseemingly contradictory notions of pertinence and provenance:"The process of appraisal entails the immediate transition fromthe content of the historical events, of subject matter, toprovenance."52 Beginning with the idea of pertinence, theinitial concept of the historical grid is adapted to theformulation of a contemporary chronicle that notes, but does notinterpret, dates of important and essential events that occurredduring the time in which the records were created. From anunderstanding of the society contemporary to the records, thearchivist moves directly to provenance in a structural analysisof the records creator, which provides an administrativechronicle of record-creating functions. Booms statesunequivocally that in order to preserve the archival nature ofrecords,provenance must^remain the immutablefoundation of the appraisal process. . • •50 Booms, "Society," 87-88.51 Hans Booms, "Uberlieferungsbildung: Archives-Keeping as aSocial and Political Activity," paper presented at the annualmeeting of the Association of Canadian Archivists, Banff,Alberta, 23-25 May 1991, Lmanuscr.ipt], 18.52 Booms, "Archives-Keeping," 20.53For it is the task of archivists in advisingresearchers to transform their subject-basedinquiries into administrative jurisdictions,in order to determine those provenances inwhich the desired source material exists.53In this manner, preserving the archival nature of records ensurestheir future usefulness.The third step in Booms' plan is the formal process ofappraisal. The archivist identifies the primary responsibilityof the agency under investigation, judges the extent to which theresponsibility is documented in the records, and identifies theextent to which other agencies contributed to its implementation.Booms notes that the formal process of structural analysisrejects about 604. of records. As a secondary measure, theselection process can then be augmented with reference to thecontemporary chronicle by selecting for preservation series ofrecords that adequately document important events. Booms addsthat this step could lead to the rejection of another 254 - ofrecords.54Booms' clarification of the central role of provenance inthe appraisal process alludes to the possibility that, instead ofrelegating provenance to an evaluation of subject content, theprinciple of provenance can be adapted by using a structuralanalysis of an archival fonds to evaluate the accuracy of itsdocumentation of the activities of a records creator. In thismanner, provenance becomes an empirically verifiable method53 Ibid.54 Ibid.54whereby records can be judged according to their ability toreflect accurately the functions and activities of the creatingbody within the context of its contemporary society.This brief overview of western European traditions ofappraisal reveals that almost all twentieth century archivistsacknowledge the problem of identifying value, and recognize theneed for an objective framework for appraisal in order to limitthe inevitable distortion of society's record that occurs withthe intervention of the archivist. Appraisal literature suggeststhat, because value is relative to the perspective of the viewer,archivists must clearly identify to whom the perspective belongs,and for what purpose it is being ascribed. The value of recordsto the creating society may differ from their value to thearchivist's society. In the same way, the value of the recordsto the creator may differ from their value to researchers. Thesediffering values must be carefully separated in order to insureclarity in archival judgements. At the same time, the discussionon perspectives has caused several archivists to appealvigorously for government repositories to acknowledge and acceptresponsibility for the important contribution of private recordscreators to the documentary heritage of society.Archivists, however, disagree on the means to achieve theircommon objective. Sometimes they understand content andstructural analysis to be contradictory, but most often theypromote a poorly constructed hybrid of both approaches in atheoretical vacuum. However, if the discussion is re-directed to55the European understanding of the nature of archives as being anorganic and impartial mirror of the creating body, theapplication of the principle of provenance offers the primarymethod by which the archival and probative nature of records canbe identified and preserved. At the same time, the applicationof the principle of pertinence seems to offer a method by whichcarefully constructed acquisition policies may be developed in away that will accurately reflect the functions and activities ofsociety as a whole. Both approaches can play a role inidentifying value within a clearly defined theoretical framework.The goal of such a framework should be to preserve the archivaland probative nature of the documentary heritage of society.56CHAPTER 3:BRITISH TRADITIONS OF APPRAISALThe public records of England and Wales . . .. are vitally important for the knowledge andunderstanding of British society, itsorganisation and functioning.The Wilson Report, 1981.1Traditions of appraisal in England have developed from themid-nineteenth century to the present, and are remarkablycohesive, unlike traditions in continental Europe. Central toappraisal theory is the concept of the preservation of thearchival nature of records, the use of administrative value toidentify historical value, and an abiding concern for theresearch interests of the user community. As in the traditionsin continental Europe, questions are raised about the relativityof value, and calls are made for the need to maintain theimpartial perspective of the archivist. While the principle ofprovenance is never referred to, the use of structural analysisis evident in the British insistence on defining "administrativevalue" as the key to select records for permanent preservation.The following discussion will focus on the two most importanttheorists who developed these ideas, Sir Hilary Jenkinson and SirJames Grigg. Because of the significance of their contribution1 U.K. Modern Public Records: Selection and Access, SirDuncan Wilson, Chair, Qnnd. 8531 (1981), 3, paragraph 1.Hereafter referred to as Wilson Report.57to appraisal theory, the following textual analysis of theirwriting will be developed in a careful and detailed manner.The analysis will trace the development of ideas about theappraisal of government records in order to understand thehistorical context in which the theories of Jenkinson and Griggoriginated. The discussion will then focus on Jenkinson'sarticulation of the nature of archives and his resultingtheoretical framework for appraisal. Building upon Jenkinson'sideas, Sir James Grigg presents a carefully prescribedmethodology that identifies the administrative and historicalvalue of records through a structural analysis of the recordscreator. The purpose of the discussion will be to evaluatetheories of appraisal in the British tradition with regard totheir ability to preserve the archival and probative nature ofrecords for administrative and historical research use.Two historical events reflect the evolution of contemporaryBritish ideas: the passage of the 1838 Public Record Office Act,2which established the legal authority for the permanentpreservation of government legal records, and the 1958 PublicRecords Act,3 which implemented the recommendations of Sir JamesGrigg presented in his 1954 report.42 U.K. Laws, Statutes, etc., Public Record Office Act, 1838,1 & 2 Victoria, c. 94.3 U.K. Laws, Statutes, etc., Public Records Act, 1958, 6 & 7Eliz. 2, c. 51.4 U.K. Committee on Departmental Records Report, Sir JamesGrigg, Chair, Ciond. 9163 (1954). Hereafter referred to as GriggReport.58The historical development of the archival practice ofrecords destruction, and the emerging concept of appraisal werepresented in the Grigg Report, and the identified inadequacy ofthe practice was used as evidence to argue for change. TheReport's analysis of the development of appraisal practice isinstructive, and provides an understanding of the historicalcontext in which the ideas of Jenkinson and Grigg evolved. In1838, the Public Records Office Act was passed to provide unifiedcontrol and better public access to the legal records of thegovernment, under "the charge and superintendence" of the Masterof the Rolls.5 The act also allowed for periodic transfer to thenewly created Public Record Office (PRO) of legal records, aswell as other "Records belonging to Her Mijesty."6 Departmentalrecords began to be informally transferred, but some raisedquestions regarding the legality of the practice. In 1845, aninformal agreement was reached between the Master of the Rollsand the various government departments that the PRO would act asan agency or extension of the departments, but that thedepartments accepted ultimate responsibility to ensure that theirrecords were properly maintained and preserved. 7 The status ofdepartmental records was clarified in an 1852 Order in Councilthat explicitly brought them under the control of the Master ofthe Rolls. The Grigg Report notes that, "Since 1852 the Master5 Grigg Report, 10, paragraph 5.6 Ibid, 11, paragraph 8.7 Ibid, 25, paragraph 46.59of the Rolls has been required 'from time to time' to order thatDepartmental records be delivered in his 'custody'; in fact hehas never done so, and the practice remains as it was settled in1845-6."8The need to appraise the value of records was identified inan 1836 report to the Record Commission. The criterion used toidentify value was "usefulness". The report stated that inalmost every office "there are large masses of documents utterlyuseless to anybody for any purpose. . The keeping of thesetakes up valuable room, and imposes useless trouble. Underproper precautions, the Record Commission would do great serviceby destroying them."9 In spite of questions regarding thelegality of the practice, an informal routine emerged in whichthe Treasury began to destroy records after seeking the advice ofthe Master of the Rolls regarding what records were not worthretaining.10 The practice continued for many years, as did theconcern of the Master of the Rolls that the destruction of legalrecords was contrary to law.In 1875, the Deputy Keeper published a parliamentary paperin which he reiterated the earlier call for destruction ofuseless records:There are extant in the Public RecordDepartment large masses of legal andGovernment documents which are wholly useless8 Ibid, 15, paragraph 19.9 Ibid, paragraph 20.10 Ibid, 15-16, paragraph 21.60for legal, historical, military, statistical,economical or official purposes, and of nopossible interest to any one. . . . It maybe safely asserted that if such papers anddocuments had been preserved from the NormanConquest to the present time . . . reallyvaluable materials for history in all itsbranches would be swamped and crushed bytheir surroundings of useless rubbish.11The paper implicitly accepted the criterion of usefulness for abroad range of research with its reference to legal, historical,military, statistical, economical or official purposes. As well,it unequivocally accepted the need for destruction and requestedthe proper authority to do so.Parliament responded to the call for legal authority todestroy records in its 1877 Public Records Act. It empowered theMaster of the Rolls, with the approval of the Treasury, and thehead of the concerned government department to make rules"respecting the disposal by destruction or otherwise of documentswhich are deposited in or can be removed to the Public RecordsOffice, and which are not of sufficient public value to justifytheir preservation in the Public Records Office."12 Thecriterion to be used in the selection process for preservation ordestruction was broadened from research interests to "sufficientpublic value," although the later concept was never clarified.The 1877 Act also instituted the practice of controlling theentire process through preparation of the "Destruction11 Ibid, 16, paragraph 22.12 Ibid, 17, paragraph 23.61Schedule."13In 1889, rules regarding destruction of records held by thePRO and government departments were codified. The appraisalguidelines were presented to the department officer responsiblefor scheduling. The rules maintained the ascendancy of researchinterests. The officer was required to "take every precautionagainst the inclusion therein of any documents which canreasonably be considered as of legal, historical, genealogical orantiquarian use or interest, or which give any importantinformation not to be obtained elsewhere."14 This is theclearest articulation of the evolving consensus that theidentification of historical value was central to the appraisalprocess. The Grigg Report adds that since their establishmentthe 1889 rules had been subscribed to by virtually all governmentdepartments, and remained in force in Grigg's time.15By 1889, government archivists had identified the pressingneed for legal authority to select and destroy useless recordsfrom their holdings. Their arguments clearly indicate that theyconsidered the records in their holdings as a valuable nationalresource, which, because of the value of records to a democraticsociety, required legal authority before destruction could beaccomplished. The criterion used for the selection process wasreferred to as "public value", or "usefulness" to research and13 Ibid, 17, paragraph 24.14 Ibid.15 Ibid.62history. Their arguments also reveal that, to them, the processof identifying value was a self-evident and straightforwardexercise.In 1937, Hilary Jenkinson responded to the British practiceof the destruction of useless records in the second edition ofhis manual. In this work, he raises disturbing questionsregarding the possible consequences of destruction to thepreservation of documents with historical value. He identifies atheoretical crisis to which he applies his mind. His resultingtheoretical construct has influenced the theory and practice ofarchives to this day. Jenkinson argues that the modern explosionof records has forced the archivist into the untenable positionof "the modern Destroyer."16 If we are not careful, Jenkinsonwrites, the indiscriminate destruction of records will destroytheir archival nature.Jenkinson's argument about appraisal is rigorously developedfrom a traditional understanding of the nature of archives. Thetheoretical framework he constructs carefully preserves theprobative nature of documentary evidence. In his words,A document which maybe said to belong to theclass of Archives is one which was drawn upor used in the course of an administrative orexecutive transaction (whether public orprivate) of which itself formed a part; andsubsequently preserved in their own custodyfor their own information by the person orpersons responsible for that transaction and16 Hilary Jenkinson, A Manual of Archive Administration, 2nded., (1937; reprint, London: Percy Lund, Humphries & Co. Ltd.,1965), 140.63their legitimate successors.17His definition includes reference to two primary aspects of thecreation process of archives, in which impartial and authenticdocuments are created within an administrative structure.Jenkinson begins his argument with the creation process.Archives are documents that are created or used in the course ofan administrative transaction, of which they form a part. Suchdocuments, he notes, are material survivals of the creator'stransactions, and the activities that contribute to them.Archives do not merely refer to transactions, but are materialparts of them, and directly connected to them.18Archives stand in contradistinction to occasional, isolateddocuments that are created, not in the course of a practicalactivity, but for the purpose of analyzing and reflecting on apast event. Because archives are an intrinsic part of thecreation process of a transaction, they provide "first-handevidence because they form an actual part of the corpus, of thefacts of the case."19 In other words, the probative nature ofarchives is strengthened because their inherent circumstantialand procedural guarantee of trustworthiness is a logical productof an administrative structure that must rely on accurate,reliable documentation of its transactions for its continuedexistence.17 Ibid, 11. Jenkinson's emphasis.18 Ibid, 3.19 Ibid, 4.64Jenkinson concludes that "Impartiality is a gift whichresults from the first part of our definition of Archives. "20That is, the production of unbiased records is a logicalconsequence of the creation process, by which the creator isguaranteed credible and reliable documents, and from whichtransactions can be implemented, regulated and proved. If,therefore, the archival nature of records is preserved, therecords will logically have the capacity to provide impartialinformation to all potential users on a wide variety of subjectsregardless of the purpose for which the archives were created orthe purpose of the research. Jenkinson adds the common senseproviso that meaning, of course, is bound to the significance ofthe administrative context in which the documents were created:"Provided, then, that the student understands [the documents']administrative significance they cannot tell him anything but thetruth."21Jenkinson proceeds in his definition of archives from thecreation process to preservation and custody. Archival documentsmust not only have been created or used in the course of anadministrative transaction, but also have been preserved in thecustody of those responsible for the transaction, for their owninformation. That is, documents become archival during thecreation process at the point at which "they are definitely setaside for preservation, tacitly adjudged worthy of being kept" by20 Ibid, 12.21 Ibid.65the administrator.22 Their meaning is derived from the fact thatarchives constitute an "artificial memory" of theadministrator,23 by providing "written memorials of itsactivities in the past. . . ."24 Archives thus provide to theadministrator proof of past transactions, and information to planfuture ones. Jenkinson's insistence on administrativepreservation a9 essential to the formation of archives assumes anexplicit, organized, ongoing process of administrative reviewthat is not always practically achieved by a wide variety oforganizations and persons.Jenkinson argues that the administrator's need of accurateinformation guarantees the custody and safekeeping of authenticdocuments. He concludes that not only are archives "by theirorigin free from the suspicion of prejudice in regard to theinterests in which we now use them: they are also by reason oftheir subsequent history equally free from the suspicion ofhaving been tampered with in those interests."25 He notes that,while forgeries do exist, they are a rare occurrence inarchives.26 His words implicitly acknowledge the strength ofinternal checks on accuracy exercised through forms control, aswell as the external checks of accountability procedures that22 Ibid, 8-9.23 Ibid, 23.24 Ibid, 39.25 Ibid, 12-13.26 Ibid, 15.66govern the course of transactions. These checks can provide acontext for the historical criticism of sources in theidentification of forgeries or administrative attempts todeceive.Jenkinson's definition of archives convincingly establishestheir two "distinguishing qualities" of impartiality andauthenticity.27 These qualities, which offer a procedural andcircumstantial guarantee of trustworthiness, constitute thetheoretical understanding of the nature of archives. As alogical consequence, archival documents can be used as evidenceto furnish, establish or contribute to legal and historicalproof.Jenkinson's argument proceeds from the essential qualitiesof archives to the duty of archivists. The primary duty ofarchivists is to safeguard the essential qualities of archives byensuring their "physical and moral conservation."28 That is, theprimary duty of archivists is to preserve the archival andprobative nature of the archives under their care. He notes twoways of destroying the essential qualities of archives, both ofwhich entail the intervention of the archivist: archivalarrangement and the archival disposal of records.Archivists must guard against the destruction of theimpartiality and authenticity of archives that can occur duringthe process of arrangement if documents are "violently torn from27 Mid, 12.28 'bid, 15, 146.67the connexion in which they were originally preserved, aconnexion which in nine cases out of ten is important, if notvital, for the full understanding of their significance."29According to Jenkinson, the archivist's "moral defence ofarchives" is primarily accomplished through careful arrangementand description practices, in which provenance and original orderare identified and preserved.30 Proper arrangement mustilluminate the archival significance of every document, andprovide an "exposition of the Administrative objects which theArchives originally served. . . ."31 In this manner, thearchival integrity of documents can be preserved.Jenkinson's argument establishes that the essentialqualities of archives are impartiality and authenticity, and theprimary duty of the archivist is to safeguard those qualities.He then turns to his primary concern of discussing the legitimacyof the archival function of the destruction of useless records.Immediately, questions of value and subjectivity enter thediscussion, questions that to his mind raise "insuperable"29 Ibid, 42.30 Jenkinson, Manual, 97.^Jenkinson uses the term"provenance" to refer to the place of custody from which thearchival repository receives the archives, and rejects this as ameans of determining arrangement. His following discussion aboutadministrative history and organization, and the correctidentification of fonds clearly indicates his understanding andacceptance of the modern archival principle of provenance thatguides the arrangement process. Jenkinson's principles ofarrangement, which attempt to preserve archival integrity, can befound on pages 97-115.31 Ibid.68difficulties. 32Jenkinson goes straight to the heart of the problem inherentin appraisal with his question, "what is the standard? what isthe criterion of Destruction?"33 Acknowledging the consensus ofthe practice of his day, he notes that the only possible standardof choice for destruction that can be exercised in the present isthat of "Historical Uselessness."34 For the choice is based,"not on the ground of what is useful for the practical purposesof Administration but of what is worth preserving in theinterests of History."35 Jenkinson recognizes that there isgreat doubt "as to whether any one is competent to pronounce uponthe probable needs of the future."36 At the same time, he alsoqUestions the advisability of preserving the historical recordfor future society on the basis of a consideration of thearchivist's own interests and those of the time in which thearchivist lives.37 Whether an archivist or historianparticipates in the appraisal process, the danger remains thatthe natural integrity of archives can be destroyed, therebydestroying their future use as impartial sources. Instead ofsafeguarding the essential qualities of archives, Jenkinson32 Ibid, 149.33 Ibid, 140.34 Ibid, 144.35 Ibid, 140.36 Ibid, 146.37 Ibid, 144.69fears, archivists and historians who engage in appraisal "aregiven what amounts to a share in the creation of those Archiveswhich it is their true business only to keep and to userespectively. . . ."38 It is a share that, to Jenkinson's mind,inevitably and inexorably distorts the impartiality of thehistorical record.Jenkinson then turns his attention to the best method tosafeguard the essential qualities of archives. To his mind, thecreator of the records is the only legitimate appraiser:for an Administrative body to destroy what itno longer needs is a matter entirely withinits competence and an action which futureages (even though they may find reason todeplore it) cannot possibly criticize asillegitimate or as affecting the status ofthe remaining Archives. . . .39In this manner, destruction is accomplished as impartially ascreation, in the daily course of business, on the basis ofadministrative need, without self-conscious concerns forposterity. Jenkinson raises a caveat that predates Hans Booms'principle of contemporary value: "we can criticize the Past onlyif it failed to keep up to its own standard of values."40Jenkinson concludes his argument with "The Golden Rule ofArchive Making" for the "Archive Mker."41 In effect, Jenkinsonis arguing for an efficient records management program. Records38 Ibid, 149.39 Ibid.40 Ibid, 140.41 Ibid, 152.70necessary to maintain a corporate Memory must include recordsthat establish authority for action, as well as a record of pastand present action. His golden rule requires the identificationof vital records:It appears then that the golden rule for theAdministrator, so far as concerns his papers,must be to have them always in such a stateof completeness and order that, supposinghimself and his staff to be by some accidentobliterated, a successor totally ignorant ofthe work of the office would be able to takeit up and carry it on with the least possibleinconvenience and delay simply on thestrength of a study of the Office Files.42Jenkinson's important contribution to the problem ofappraisal is his "golden rule" of the identification of vitalrecords by which the permanent value of documents can bedetermined. He entrusts the function of appraisal to the recordcreator in order to ensure that the essential qualities ofarchives will be preserved, not only for the judicial system, butalso for posterity.A later assessment of Jenkinson's concepts of impartialityand authenticity adds that "There is, indeed, something of thesupreme confidence of the last century about both theseconcepts."43 With our increased awareness of the possibility oftampering with the genesis of records by records creatorsthemselves, and the destruction of knowledge inherent in theappraisal process, our understanding of archival truth must be42 Ibid, 153.43 Felix Hull, "The Archivist and Society," Journal of theSociety of Archivists 6 (April 1979): 125.71diminished from its previous absolute affirmation. In the end,we can affirm only that archives "do and should embody anessential element of truth," and that the record we hold "must beas complete, impartial and truthful as it is possible for us toensure."44 In spite of our increased awareness of the relativityof truth, however, society's practical reliance on and need forthe preservation of the probative nature of documentary evidence,as seen in the proceedings of the judicial system, remainsparamount.Jenkinson's careful articulation of the integrity ofarchives clearly established the theoretical framework forappraisal. He convincingly argued that in order to maintain theusefulness of archives to those who rule and explain the conductof society, any theory of appraisal must identify ways topreserve the impartiality and authenticity of records. Inessence, his "golden rule of archive making" applies thestructural analysis inherent in the principle of provenance tothe identification of records that document the creator'sfunctions and activities. His emphasis on the judgement of thecreator ensures that no outside perspective can distort thehistorical value and the future research use of the records.In spite of Jenkinson's arguments for administrative valueas the sole arbiter of preservation, the supremacy of historicalvalue has remained intact, as enunciated in the 1889 appraisalrules, and reaffirmed in the Grigg Report of 1952. The Report44 'bid, 130.72contributes to the archival awareness of appraisal issues inimportant ways. In particular, it transforms the notion ofhistorical value by subsuming it within Jenkinson's concept ofadministrative value.In 1952, Sir James Grigg, former Permanent Under-Secretaryof State, was asked by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and theMaster of the Rolls to chair the Committee on DepartmentalRecords. The purpose of the committee was to investigate andreport on the problems surrounding the preservation of theenormous bulk of departmental non-current records, and torecommend any changes in law and practice that might appear to benecessary.45 The Report was published in 1954, and a year laterthe government accepted all its recommendations. The result wasthe passage of the Public Records Act of 1958. The Grigg Report,therefore, has had enormous influence on the theory and practiceof appraisal in Britain.The introduction to the Report notes that the result ofinadequate appraisal^practice produced an increasinglyunmanageable situation in which "useless material has beenunnecessarily retained, and papers which ought to have been inthe Public Record Office long ago and available for the 'freeuse' of the public are still in the hands of Departments."46Throughout the Report there is constant reference to the criteria45 PRO, A Guide for Departmental Record Officers (Revised),(London: PRO, 1962), 3.46 Ibid, 6.73that had been used since the mid-nineteenth century to identifyrecords worthy of permanent preservation: the administrativecriterion and the historical criterion. An understanding of theReport's terms of reference is key to understanding its proposalsfor change. The administrative criterion, echoing Jenkinson'snotion, attempts to identify the value of the records to thecreating department for its own purposes. The Report quotes aPRO memorandum that offers guidance to departments by statingthat the work must be done "before the meaning of thetransactions in question has faded from memory. . . by personshaving a first-hand knowledge and experience of the executivework of the Department. . . ."47 The Report, thus, identifiesknowledge, experience and timeliness as crucial to theidentification of the administrative value of records.Crucial to an understanding of the Report is its view thatadministrative value must be interpreted broadly. For example,it notes that the concept of administrative value should includethe likelihood of the paper being required asa precedent or as a guide to possible actionshould a similar set of circumstances arisein the future. This would entail thepreservation, inter alia, of papers showingthe authority under which a Departmentexercises, or has exercised, any particularfunction; together with papers showing theorganisation it has developed, the policiesit has adopted, and the procedures it hasfollowed, in order to carry out thatfunction.4847 Grigg Report, 20, paragraph 29.48 Mid, 29-30, paragraph 60.74This definition of administrative value echoes Jenkinson's"Golden Rule of Archive Making" in the preservation of anorganization's vital records, which document an organizationsmandate, functions, procedures and activities.The Grigg Report repeatedly equates historical value with abroad spectrum of research interests including, "historical,economic, sociological, and other non-administrative needs of thefuture (which for convenience we shall refer to as the'historical' criterion)."49 The 1889 rules for preparingdestruction schedules enunciate the rationale of the historicalcriterion by stating that "any documents which can reasonably beconsidered as of legal, historical, genealogical or antiquarianuse or interest, or which give any important information not tobe obtained elsewhere" should be permanently preserved.50 By1950, the preamble to the schedule stated that the departmentalofficer responsible for the procedure should examine recordsscheduled for destruction, and "withdraw for preservation thosecontaining matter likely to be of historical or legal importanceor to be useful for social or economic research."51 The GriggReport adds that the most practical method of identifyinghistorical value would be "to select documents in the light ofexperience of the use made of earlier documents which have been49 Ibid, 20, paragraph 31.50 Ibid, 17, paragraph 24.51 Ibid, 24-25, paragraph 44.75preserved."52 Thus, the Report maintains that the traditionallyaccepted criterion of usefulness, in the context of research, isthe primary method of selection. In its focus on historicalvalue and future research use, the Report seems entirelyoblivious of the debate that raged in Europe over the futility ofpredicting future research use, or of the concerns raised byJenkinson regarding the intrusion of archivists in the creationprocess that can endanger the integrity of archives.The research and analysis of the Grigg Report is guided byits understanding of the greatest problem of the appraisalprocess: the lack of a method that can guide the selection ofvaluable records. A methodology of appraisal could be consideredsatisfactory only if it could overcome the problem of determining"in advance the potential value of documents to posterity forhistorical or other non-administrative purposes."53 The Reportstudied the three-step procedure used by departments for theselection of records for preservation and destruction in anattempt "to assess the efficacy" of the implementation of thehistorical criterion.54 The procedure included the preparationof the destruction schedule, an examination of the schedule byInspecting Officers, and the execution of the schedule.55 Ineach phase of the procedure, the primary criterion for selection52 Ibid, 22-23, paragraph 37.53 Ibid, 20, paragraph 29.54 Ibid, paragraph 31.55 Ibid, 20-25, paragraphs 32-45.76was historical value. The destruction schedule was prepared by adepartmental officer who identified the period of time duringwhich each series of records needed to be retained. The officerwas to exclude from the schedule all documents of historicalinterest, as noted in the schedule's preamble. As the reportnotes, this responsibility "is a very considerable requirement tomake of an officer . . whose main experience may therefore beexpected to have been in duties connected with the executivebusiness of the Department."56 The resulting practice was thatthe officer entrusted with the preparation of the schedule usedas a criterion for selection the administrative needs of thedepartment, and placed the onus for implementing the historicalcriterion on the inspecting officers.57The second phase of the procedure was the examination of thedocuments listed in the schedule by the Committee of InspectingOfficers. The committee consisted of the Deputy Keeper of theRecords, an Assistant Keeper, and one barrister of seven years'standing.58 It examined all the series of documents listed inthe schedules to make sure that the historical criterionspecified in the schedule's preamble was being implemented. TheGrigg Report notes that the identification of historical valuewas directly dependent on the clarity of the classification of56 Ibid, 20, paragraph 32.57 Ibid, 20-21, paragraph 32.58 Ibid, 21, paragraph 33.77series.59 The Report also notes that while archivists gain awide knowledge of research practices in the normal course oftheir work, "There is no established machinery in existencewhereby the Inspecting Officers, in exercising the historicalcriterion, may take the advice of historians, economists, orother persons with experience in research."60 Because of theheavy load of work for the inspecting officers, and the broadcategories used in the records' classification system, theReport's main criticism of the procedure was that the applicationof the historical criterion is "unavoidably transferred back, inits most difficult form, to the Departments themselves."61 Inother words, lack of expertise and time combined to prevent theApplication of the historical criterion to the selection process.The final phase of the procedure was the execution of theschedule. Once the schedule received parliamentary approval, theschedule was implemented by the department. Most often, the workof reviewing non-current records, many of which had no furtherinterest to the department, was often entrusted to junior staffmembers.62 The execution of the schedule was accomplished inthree informal steps, which are often referred to as "weeding": areview of departmental records to identify those to be retainedor destroyed; destruction of files consisting wholly of documents59 Ibid, 23,60 Ibid, 22,61 Ibid, 23,62 Ibid, 27,paragraph 38.paragraph 36.paragraph 39.paragraph 51.78authorized by the schedule; and, stripping of useless documentswithin files to be preserved.63 The Grigg Report notes that theexecution of the schedule, which was implemented as a means ofpreserving valuable records, was ineffective because of one majorfactor: "The effect of these arrangements is to place the majoronus for exercising the historical criterion on those leastqualified to bear it, namely the comparatively junior officers bywhom reviewing work is done."64The Grigg Report identifies the historical roots of theundesirable results of appraisal practices in the agreement of1845-46 between the Master of the Rolls and the departments. intheir informal agreement, the departments agreed to acceptresponsibility to ensure that their records were properlymaintained and preserved, and the Public Records Departmentagreed to act as an agency of the departments in the fulfillmentof those duties. In this manner, the "obligation that is thusplaced on Departments to have regard to the possible needs offuture research workers is an onerous one, and in meeting itDepartments gain little advantage for themselves."65 Becausedepartments had no direct interest in preserving historicallyvaluable records, reviewing was done by junior staff members in apiecemeal manner, and often simply postponed.6663 Ibid, 23-24, paragraph 41.64 Ibid, 25, paragraph 45.65 Ibid, paragraph 46.66 Ibid, 26-27, paragraphs 48-49, 51.79The Grigg Report concludes its assessment of currentpractices with a critique of the complicated methodology forappraisal that had been imposed on archivists by legislative actsof parliament:The present arrangements for thepreservation of the records of GovernmentDepartments are governed by an Act of 1838which we believe was not meant to apply tothem, an Act of 1877 which makes theselection of records for preservation aboutas complicated as it can be, and an agreementof 1845-6 which removes from thoseresponsible for the ultimate preservation ofthe records a proper oversight of them.67The Report then proceeds with its proposals to remedy theproblems encountered in using the historical criterion as amethod of selecting valuable records. It first insists thatnothing can be remedied in the appraisal process unless seniorstaff is allocated to make the necessary "decisions of greatcomplexity."68 Then, it assures its readers that thepreservation of archival value, as found in the 'unselfconscious'and 'impartial' nature of records, is of paramount concern:the Departmental records to be preserved inthe Public Record Office would consistentirely of papers that accrued in the courseof normal administration and not any thatwere created, or whose form had beenmodified, for the historian's specialbenefit.69The Grigg Committee clearly acknowledges the theoretical67 Ibid, 28, paragraph 55.68 Ibid, 29, paragraph 58.69 Ibid, 44, paragraph 111.80Importance of preserving intact the archival and probative natureof the archives. It recognizes the imperative that the integrityof the records must not be altered for anyone's 'benefit', forsuch alteration would, in fact, destroy the potential value thatderives from their inherent nature. The Committee's commitmentto the preservation of an impartial record, however, does notresult in the creation of a paradigm of conflict with theinterest of researchers. Clearly, the focus of the appraisalexercise remains the selection of historically valuable recordsfor the research community.The major proposal of the Grigg Report is the institution ofa two-tiered review process that combines a first review of therecords at five years from the closure of the files, and a secondreview at twenty-five years for the purpose of implementing thehistorical criterion. The first review is to be done by eachdepartment's record officer. Its purpose is to destroy thoserecords "which they do not need to retain further for their ownDepartmental purposes."70 While maintaining the primacy of thehistorical criterion, the Report concludes that because theidentification of historical value is in no way related to thegeneral work of the reviewing officers, "the solution to theproblem must lie in the application of this criterion by indirectmeans."71The indirect means of identifying historical value is found70 Ibid, 80, paragraph 240.71 Ibid, 29, paragraph 58-59.81in the equation of historical value and administrative value. Thereviewing work is to be guided by the following question, whichis immediately intelligible to the reviewer in terms of theexperience gained in the normal course of work: "Is thisDepartment likely to require this paper any longer for its ownDepartmental purposes?"72 Administrative value is to beunderstood in its broadest sense, which preserves evidence of adepartment's organization, authority, functions, policies andprocedures as a precedent or guide to future action.73 Referringto the Grigg Report, Jenkinson later reiterates his "golden rule"by insisting that selecting records in the first review "shouldbe of such an order that even if a piece of business or a sectionof organisation had been discontinued for some considerable timesurviving files would enable it to be taken up again withoutdifficulty or delay."74The indirect application of the historical criterion isadvocated in the Grigg Report because the Committee equates abroad interpretation of administrative value with historicalvalue:within the margin of error inevitable underany system, the papers which a historian ofthe future may wish to have preserved will inpractice automatically be included amongthose which Departments find it necessary tokeep for more than a short period for their72 Ibid, paragraph 59.73 Ibid, paragraph 60.74 Hilary Jenkinson, "Roots," Journal of the Society ofArchivists 2 (1961): 136. See note 7.82own Departmental purposes. The adoption ofsuch a system would ensure that thehistorical criterion was in effect exercised. . . in a form which Departments would findit practicable to apply.75The equation builds upon Jenkinson's "golden rule of archivemaking" that preserves the integrity of archives by preventingdistortion of meaning from any outside perspective, whether it bethat of an archivist or of an historian.The Grigg Report accepts the basic concept of the need forthe preservation of the archival nature of the records, butextends it from a limited view in which only the creator mayselect records for preservation to a broader view in which astructural analysis of the records using the functions andactivities of the creating body is considered the impartialguiding method. In this manner, the appraiser maintains anobjective stance and does not intervene in the creation process.Reflecting the approach of many archivists of the time, theReport does not extend the notion of objectivity to absurdity.Experience, judgement and historical sensitivity are central to ajudicious and discerning application of structural analysis.With the development of experience, "we should expect that theInspecting Officers would become a useful repository ofknowledge" regarding registration procedures and reviewing workin genera1.76 The startling simplicity of the recommendation isstriking in the manner in which it resolves the conflicting75 Grigg Report, 30, paragraph 60.76 Ibid, 51, paragraph 133.83paradigms created by European theorists. The theoreticalframework preserves the archival nature of the records, maintainsthe objective perspective of the appraisal, and preserves recordswith historical value for the research community.The second review proposed by the Grigg Report acts as afinal check to ensure the preservation of historically valuablerecords. In effect, it is also a final check for the researchcommunity. It is to be done by each department's record officerin conjunction with the Inspecting Officer, who acts as arepresentative of the Public Records Department.77 Its purposeis to review all the records that survived the first review, anddestroy "those considered to be of no further administrative orhistorical importance. . ."78 Because of the reduced bulk of therecords and the expertise of the staff of the Public RecordsDepartment, "it should be possible for the historical criterionto be exercised directly in relation to these papers. Thus thecriteria for preservation at the Second Review will be bothadministrative and historical. . ."79 In 1961, Jenkinsoncommented, with a note of resignation, "I incline myself to think(for what my opinion is worth) that . . . this ultimate intrusionof selection based on the interests of research is inevitable."80Ensuring government commitment to the needs of the research77 Ibid, 38, paragraph 87.78 Ibid, 80, paragraph 240.79 Ibid, 38, paragraph 87.80 Jenkinson, "Roots," 136-37.84community for preservation of and access to the documentaryheritage of society, the Grigg Report also recommends theformation of a panel of advisors to enrich the quality of theapplication of the historical criterion.81 Such an AdvisoryCouncil would be composed of members from the judiciary, thelegal profession, and the universities. Its purpose would be "toadvise the Minister on those aspects of the Department's workwhich affect the interests of those who make use of itsservices."82 Presumably, the application of the historicalcriterion would be of paramount concern to the researchcommunity.The Grigg system advocates the delegation of appraisal torecord creators, even if this would provide them with theopportunity to hide the truth in awkward cases. In 1986, MichaelCook comments that this essentially English principle hastheoretical roots in Jenkinson: "The point is that appraisalshould be impartial: the historical record should reflect thebiases and idiosyncracies of the administration of the day, andnot those of the academic researchers of that time, or of a latertime."83 The validity of the principle rests on the assumptionthat there is a broad correspondence between administrativevalues and research values. Cook notes this view has never been81 Grigg Report, 52, paragraph 136.82 Ibid, 54, paragraph 144.83 Michael Cook, The Management of Information FromArchives, (Hants, England: Gower Publishing Co., 1986), 70.85seriously challenged since it was advocated.84The major challenge to the Grigg proposal came in the late1970s, with a public furor which broke out in the press whenseveral academics charged the PRO with a large scale andindiscriminate destruction of public records.85 In 1981, theWilson Report acknowledged that public records are "a mostprecious part of the national heritage. .^. These records arevitally important for the knowledge and understanding of Britishsociety, its organisation and function."86 It identified severalchanges in government record-keeping practices that exacerbatedthe current crisis in confidence. These changes included the oldproblem of the increasingly unmanageable bulk of modern records,and the newer problems of widespread use of electronic records,wider interests of researchers, and a greater public demand foraccess.87 The Wilson report noted that 'the keystone' to theGrigg proposals was the use of experienced, knowledgeable seniorstaff.88 It upheld the efficacy of the proposals, and concludedthat the goal of preserving historically valuable records wasundermined by the "administrative erosion" in the application of84 Ibid, 52.85 Wilson Report, 18, paragraph 53. See also, M.S. Moss,"Public Record Office: Good or Bad?" Journal of the Society ofArchivists 7 (April 1983): 156-57.86 Ibid, 3, paragraph I.87 Ibid, 8-14, paragraphs 21-50.88 Ibid, 6, paragraph 14.86the Report's methodology and principles.89During the 1980s, British archival literature began toinclude an occasional but growing sense of the need for theformulation of some overall national planning in appraisal.Principles that applied to appraisal for selection needed to beextended to systematic acquisition policies in order to guaranteean authentic documentation of society:You are the custodians of the evidence of thepast and present for the future: in that liesyour responsibility and your challenge.Appraisal is only one element in the exerciseof this function, intensely difficult and ofenormous responsibility; it neverthelessrests with you essentially to determine whatshall survive and whether that survival willpresent a worthy picture of society as youexperienced it in your day and age.90Cook notes that local and specialized archives, libraries andmuseums were beginning to join with the PRO in their attempts "tobuild up banks of information which will cover their chosen fieldof operation, and ideally that field will have some sort of linkwith a national plan."91 The national approach to coordinatedappraisal for acquisition was essentially "information-directed."92 Cook argues that such planning would be bestimplemented within a framework of coordination which maximizes89 _Mid, 18-19, paragraphs 55-56.90 Felix Hull, "The Appraisal of Documents--Problems andPitfalls," Journal of the Society of Archivists 5 (April 1980):291.91 Cook, Management, 66.92 Ibid.87the usefulness of existing resources, and minimizes wastefulcompetition. He suggests the formation of a central agency,"such as a national register of archives, armed with executivepowers but working with the trust and co-operation of archivistswithin the country."93 He insists that the aim of an archivalrepository, within the framework of its own particular mandate,"would be to build up holdings which contain a balanceddocumentation of the chosen subject area."94 The call for anational documentation plan is an interesting concept that isechoed throughout the European and American literature onappraisal.British traditions of appraisal establish a generalconsensus that appraisal must be an impartial exercise. Theappraisal function requires someone "who can represent theinterests of research to the world of administration; and who canrepresent the needs of administration to the world of research.This is the definition of an archivist."95 The archivist'simpartial perspective must be combined with expert knowledge ofthe archival repository, the records, the records creator, andthe creating society. In the final analysis, the "judgementsinvolved can only be made by those who have an overview of thenature of the records, the various uses they serve, the demandsof research and reference, the resources available for servicing93 Ibid, 67.94 Ibid.95 Ibid, 70.88records and the demands on those resources."96British archivists make an important contribution toappraisal theory. They resolve the conflict between theprinciple of pertinence and provenance that is central toEuropean thinking. The resolution is done by the formulation ofa logical equation in which administrative value is synonymouswith historical value. They denote structural analysis as themeans by which archivists can impartially identify records ofhistorical value. Their analysis suggests that the use of theprinciple of provenance not only preserves the archival andprobative nature of records, but automatically subsumes thecontent analysis inherent in the principle of pertinence. Theiruse of the Advisory Council mirrors the European tradition ofbeing attentive to the interests and needs of the researchcommunity in a way that can act as a check on archival practices.The British tradition also offers a precise methodology in theform of a two-tiered appraisal process, in which timing is animportant factor in establishing the historical perspectiverequired to evaluate the meaning of records. This methodologyhas the ability to streamline the appraisal process and to act asa final check for identifying historically valuable records.96 Michael Cook, Archives Administration: A Manual forIntermediate and Smaller Organizations and for Local Government,(London: William Dawson & Sons Ltd., 1977), 77.89CHAPTER 4:NORTH AMERICAN TRADITIONS OF APPRAISALResearch values are use values. Past,present, and future demand must justifyretention. A long run of unique,understandable, and accessible records thatwill never be consulted by researchers is abad investment of precious archivalresources.Maynard Brichford, 1977.1Canadian and American archivists have developed an insularand symbiotic relationship in which they have ignored, untilrecently, the intense European debate surrounding appraisal.Instead of spending their time grappling directly with theintellectual problems of structural and content analysis, theyhave focused their energy on the construction of practicalmethodologies to solve the problem of bulk. In particular, theyhave responded by developing records management procedures,disposition schedules and various types of sampling.2 Allmethods of appraisal have relied on the basic assumption that useand value are synonymous. Structural analysis and content1 Maynard J. Brichford, Archives and Manuscripts: Appraisaland Accessioning (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1977):9.2 This process has been well documentedKlumpenhouwer, "Chapter 3: Archival Appraisal asFunction, 1930-1980: The United States" in "Conceptsthe Archival Appraisal Literature: An HistoricalAnalysis": 64-109.in, Richarda Managementof Value inand Critical90analysis are used in tandem to identify records useful toadministrators and researchers, and therefore, worthy ofpreservation. The North American focus on use reflects a lack ofawareness of the importance of preserving the probative andarchival nature of archives in the context of their provenance.The recent proliferation of electronic records has been acatalyst for re-thinking the centrality of structural analysis tothe selection process.There have been several notable attempts by North Americanarchivists to provide a coherent theoretical approach to theentire appraisal process. The most extensive framework has beendeveloped by Philip Brooks and Theodore Schellenberg. Theirconcepts of evidential and informational value combine structuraland content analysis, and have been widely accepted by manyarchivists. The result has been well developed recordsmanagement strategies to cope with the modern reality ofinformation overload. However, the framework they have providedavoids issues of objectivity and value, as well as the underlyingintellectual problem of how to preserve the probative andarchival nature of records throughout the selection process. Inlight of the European discussion, their failure to adequatelyeXplore these issues renders their approach inadequate.In 1940, Philip Brooks, a senior archivist at the NationalArchives, published an article that argued for a coherentapproach to appraisal throughout the entire life history of91records, from creation to disposition.3 His major contributionto appraisal theory is his insistence on the development ofrecords management strategies that control the flow and creationof information at the source:The whole appraisal function is oneundertaking, and it can best be performedwith a complete understanding of the recordsof an agency in their relationships to eachother as they are created rather than afterthey have lain forgotten and deterioratingfor twenty years.4He insists that "the earlier in the life history of the documentsthe selection process begins, the better for all concerned."5Brooks also advocates an extensive two-fold analysis of theadministrative structure and functions of the records creator,and the relationship of the records to each other. Such a studywould provide evidence of the substantive functions andactivities of the creator. Unlike European archivists whoadvocate the use of the principle of provenance to identify thesignificance of the administrative structure, Brooks focuses onthe relationships that exist between records as written evidencesof functions and activities of the creating agency. Although hedoes not belabour the point, Brooks applies provenantialinformation in such a way as to create an objective framework inwhich value is related, not to perspective, but to the accuracy3 Philip Brooks,^"The Selection^of Records forPreservation," American Archivist (1940): 221-234.4 Ibid, 226.5 Ibid.92of the records representation of the records creator.Brooks then proceeds to suggest three general categories ofvalue that can assist in the selection process. He does notindicate how these values relate to the selection of records, butpossibly he is using the categories merely to indicate asensitivity to users. The values themselves are not precise orartificially imposed, but general and fluid groupings thatoverlap one another. Administrative value is the current valuethe records have for the creating agency to maintain an efficientadministration. On the basis of such value, records are selectedfor preservation by the agency itself, according to its ownneeds. A second value is the administrative value of inactiverecords that contain information that could be useful to lateradministrators seeking precedents, political scientists studyingadministrative organizations, and archivists analyzingorganizational functions.6Brooks' final category is "the broad and indefinable fieldof 'historical value'" that portrays the basic facts of theagency's creation, policies and operations, or incidentallydescribes interesting conditions or events about certainindividuals, periods or methods of doing business.7 UnlikeSchellenberg, Brooks insists that the value of records forhistorical study is derived from their archival nature:In fact, most records having historical value6 Ibid, 230-231.7 Ibid, 231-232.93possess it not as individual documents but asgroups which, considered together, reflectthe activities of some organization or personor portray everyday, rather than unique,events and conditions. 8Brooks' brief aside regarding the application of thesevalues indicates that he understands appraisal to be an objectiveanalysis that can be augmented by intuitive assessment. He notesthat archivists require four kinds of knowledge to identify thevalues of records:First, we must know the agency of origin, itshistory, its objectives, and its methods.Second, we must know the relationships ofrecords to each other, as shown incomparative studies within agencies and amongall of them. Third, we must know and bealert to changes in the scope and methods ofresearch--a staggering assignment in itself.And fourth, we must be acquainted with theuse actually made of the records we havepreserved.9Brooks' contribution to the theory of appraisal rests in hisinsistence that appraisal is a process which is appliedthroughout the life history of records, beginning at creation.He focuses on understanding the relationships that exist betweenthe records as evidence of the functions and activities of therecords creator. His sensitivity to the needs of users reflectsthe longstanding concerns of British archivists for the researchcommunity. Although he has received little credit from the NorthAmerican archival community, Brooks' concepts have been veryinfluential, filtered through the mind of Schellenberg.8 Ibid, 231.9 Ibid, 233-34.94The most influential archival theorist in North America hasbeen Theodore Schellenberg. in 1956, Schellenberg refinedBrooks' concepts of primary, secondary, evidential andinformational value. Since that time, Schellenberg's approach tothe selection process has gained wide acceptance and has becomethe standard methodology by which appraisal is practiced in manyparts of the western world. For this reason, it is necessary tounderstand his ideas and their implications for appraisal.Schellenberg was clearly aware that appraisal is a difficulttask, for he notes that his value standards were developed "tosteer the unwary through the treacherous shoals of appraisalwork."10 But because he fails to establish the intellectualcontent of the "treacherous shoals," it is difficult to judge hisnavigational success on his own terms. He derives his theoryfrom an analysis of European theorists and attempts to integratethe conflicting approaches of structural and content analysis.But his integration is accomplished arbitrarily, by evadingtheoretical concerns and by failing to address the inherentintellectual problems of each approach.For Schellenberg, value is not an esoteric concept mired inintellectual confusion. He attempts to extricate himself fromthe inherent problems of value in a practical manner, by equatingvalue with use. But extrication cannot be so easily10 T.R. Schellenberg, Modern Archives: Principles andTechniques (1956; reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1975): 133.95accomplished. As Hans Booms has clearly noted, use as an arbiterof value is riddled with difficulties. The concept of use asapplied to appraisal implies the concept of value. It isspeculative regarding the values of the future, includes thevalues of the present, and assumes the values of the past. Theentire approach submerges appraisal in the subjective relativityof the concept of value and the inevitable dangers of thedistortion of the documentary record. Schellenberg's theory thusfails to give preeminence to the need for an objective stance bythe archivist, and fails to protect adequately the probative andarchival nature of archives. What is lost in the process is themoral defence of the archival integrity of the documentaryheritage of society.Schellenberg identifies primary value as the usefulness ofthe records to the creating organization. The value of activerecords is temporary, and ends with the semi-active stage of thelife cycle. Primary value is synonymous with the British conceptof administrative value, which identifies records that arerequired to support the active administrative, legal andfinancial operations of an organization. But, contrary toBritish archival traditions, Schellenberg sharply differentiatesprimary value from secondary value.Schellenberg defines secondary value as the use of archivalrecords by agencies other than the creator, and individualresearchers. These values are lasting historical, researchvalues that remain long after the current administrative use of96records has exhausted itself. Schellenberg notes that recordswith secondary value are useful for two purposes:(1) the evidence public records contain ofthe functioning and organization of thegovernment body that produced them, and (2)the information they contain on persons,corporate bodies, problems, conditions, andthe like, with which the government bodydealt.11On the basis of these two uses, he severs secondary value intotwo parts: evidential value and informational value. To justifythe arbitrary nature of the division he adds that the distinctionis made only for purposes of discussion, for the two types ofvalues are not mutually exclusive.12 But Schellenberg'sdiscussion and ultimate failure to integrate his artificialdissection of archival information ultimately undermine hisrationalization.Schellenberg's concept of evidential value does not refer tothe probative and archival nature of records.13 Instead, hisdefinition is carefully, and by his own admission, arbitrarilyconstructed to identify the important aspects of the functions11 Ibid, 139.12 Theodore Schellenberg, "The Appraisal of Modern PublicRecords," National Archives Bulletin 8 (1956); reprint in AModern Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory andPractice, eds. Maygene F. Daniels and Timothy Balch ( Washington,D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1984), 59.13 Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed., s.v. "Evidentiary." Theterm is defined as "having the quality of evidence; constitutingevidence; evidencing. Pertaining to the rules of evidence or theevidence in a particular case." Perhaps Schellenberg chose notto use this legal terminology in order to distinguish hisparticular adaptation of the concept.97and activities of the creating organization:By evidential value I do not refer here tothe value that inheres in public recordsbecause of the merit of the evidence theycontain. I do not refer, in a Jenkinsoniansense, to the sanctity of the evidence inarchives that is derived from "unbrokencustody." I refer rather, and quitearbitrarily, to a value that depends on theimportance of the matter evidenced, i.e. theorganization and functioning of the agencythat produced the records.14Value is thus ascribed according to the archivist's subjectiveassessment of the relative importance of the organization andfunctions of the records' creator.Arguing from the precision of the German archival principleof provenance, Schellenberg presents a structural analysis of theadministrative context of creation as the central aspect of theidentification of evidential value. Value is directly related tothree factors: the hierarchical position of each office in theadministration, the functions performed by each office, and theactivities of each office in the execution of a given function.15Greater value is attributed to those records that most directlyand concisely reflect the above factors. The aim is to preserverecords that most effectively document the origins, developmentand effectiveness of the substantive functions of the entireorganization. In this manner, an accurate and representative"functional documentation" of the creating body is selected as14 Schellenberg, Modern, 139.15 Ibid, 142.98^having permanent value.16^An added advantage of using suchcriteria is the fact that the selected records represent only2.5* of all records created, which thus restricts the bulk ofrecords necessary to preserve.17 In contrast, only a small partof the housekeeping records of an organization is necessary topreserve in order "to illustrate the variations in suchprocesses" of the implementation of policy, and "to help in theinterpretation of other records representing its substantivefunctions."18Schellenberg remains oblivious to the theoreticaljustifications for structural analysis. Instead, he understandsit to be a practical approach to the identification of aparticular kind of value:The test . . . can be applied by allarchivists, for no archivist is likely toquestion that evidence of every agency'sorganization and functioning should bepreserved. Differences of judgement willarise only as to the completeness with whichsuch evidence should be preserved.19He clearly acknowledges the importance of evidential value, andprovides a clear methodology for deriving value from a thoroughand objective analysis of the administrative structure of thecreating organization. But, he fails to project his analysis to16 Ibid, 143. Schellenberg's approach to the identificationof evidential value is found on pp. 142-148.17 Ibid, 143.18 Ibid, 146-147.19 Ibid, 141.99the next logical step: the identification of the relationshipbetween an administrative structure and its documentation.Within Schellenberg's model, records with evidential valueare useful to a limited audience of public administrators,students of public administration and archivists. In spite of hisdivision of information according to its administrative andresearch use, Schellenberg does acknowledge the validity of theorthodox archival theory that meaning is rooted in context:The archivist must know how records came intobeing if he is to judge their value for anypurpose. Public records, or, for thatmatter, records of any organic body, are theproduct of activity, and much of theirmeaning is dependent on their relation to theactivity.20He even goes so far as to concede that "In applying the test ofevidential value the archivist is likely to preserve records thathave other values as well.^.also for the economist,sociologist, historian, and scholars generally. "21^GivenSchellenberg's basic understanding of knowledge, it is difficultto understand his insistence on the separation of archivalinformation into evidential and informational value, even for thepurposes of discussion. For, information generated in thepractical course of business cannot be segregated on the basis ofcurrent or potential use. All use depends on an understanding ofcontext for meaning and significance, regardless of the user'sstatus as administrator or researcher.20 Schellenberg, "Appraisal," 60.21 Schellenberg, Modern, 141.100Schellenberg then proceeds to define informational value asthe value that is derived from "information that is in publicrecords on persons, places, subjects and the like with whichpublic agencies deal; not from the information that is in suchrecords on the public agencies themselves."22 Such informationis primarily found in the large series of modern governmentrecords such as vital records, citizenship records, land recordsand case files. Schellenberg identifies these records as beinguseful in the research of broad social questions, which cancontribute to an understanding of historical causation andhistorical movements, such as the westward expansion of theUnited States.23The problem with the concept is that Schellenberg limitsinformational value to information that is incidental to thesubstantive functions of the organization. He does not considerthe nature of archives, in which the meaning of information inrecords is interrelated by the very act of creation and naturalaccumulation. At some level, however, Schellenberg understandsthe confluence of primary and secondary value. He notes thatrecords that contain evidence of the mandate, functions, andactivities of an organization have value for the creator "to theextent that they are needed for the current or future functioningof his agency; they have value for the archivist to the extent22 ibid, 148.23 'bid, 150-151.101that they are needed for an understanding of that functioning."24In the same way in which the identification of evidentialvalue is dependent on a precise analysis of administrativecontext, the identification of informational value relies on acontent analysis that is derived from an understanding ofresearch resources, needs and methods. Because the focus ofanalysis is on the use of incidental information, Schellenbergconcludes that "Informational values can therefore be appraisedpiecemeal, for the records are judged solely on the basis oftheir content and not on their relation to other records producedby an agency."25 Schellenberg thus advocates a piecemealappraisal of records that deracinates information from thecontext of creation. In so doing, he fails to recognize thelegal and historical need for the preservation of the probativeand archival nature of archives.Schellenberg advocates three tests by which informationalvalue may be judged. The first two tests are uniqueness andform, and are practical in nature: they identify records that arein the most complete, usable and concentrated form available.The third test is importance.26 With this final test, thearchivist enters "the realm of the imponderable" as found in thepresent and future research world.27 In this manner, the test of24 Ibid, 139-140.25 Ibid, 148.26 Schellenberg, "Appraisal," 63-67.27 Ibid," 66.102informational value is submerged unabashedly in the subjectivityof prediction. But, according to Schellenberg, such subjectivityis a strength rather than a weakness, for the resulting diversejudgements "may well assure a more adequate socialdocumentation."28As part of the content analysis of records, used to identifyinformational value, Schellenberg alludes to a form of analysisthat anticipated the present trend of documentation strategy:The appraisal of records from the point ofview of their historical interest becomesdifficult when the records relate to broadhistorical movements, historical causation,and the like. Here a discriminating choicemay have to be made among the records thatare available. A movement like the westwardexpansion of the United States, for example,can be traced in a number of record groups inthe National Archives. . . . In making thischoice, the archivist may need the help ofhistorical specialists.29Such an analysis undermines Schellenberg's own insistence on thearchivist as "independent arbiter" of the value of records, andintermediary between records creators and researchers inpreserving records useful for research in a variety ofsubjects.30 By advocating assessments of historical movementsand causation rather than assessments of records creators,Schellenberg endangers the power of the principle of provenance.This approach to appraisal weakens the contribution that28 Schellenberg, Modern, 149.29 Ibid, 150.30 Ibid, 31-32.103archivists bring to research by the careful delineation andpreservation of records in the context of their creation.Schellenberg's conceptual separation of informational valuefrom evidential value fails to consider the fact that informationabout specific events, things or phenomena achieves meaning andsignificance from its evidentiary context. Fact and contextcannot be separated arbitrarily. Informational value that isunderstood to be distinct and separate from evidential value isinformation deprived of meaning. Records are always generated inthe process of an activity, which is derived from a particularfunction of a creator. Schellenberg's concept of informationalvalue as a separate criterion for appraisal should, therefore, bereconsidered.Since the presentation of Schellenberg's ideas, the essenceof his theoretical framework for appraisal has remained virtuallyunchallenged. Various reports throughout the 1960s and 1970sperpetuated accepted ideas that the appraisal of records shouldbe determined by probable use. Some limited the concept of useeven further by advocating the examination of frequency of usestatistics.31 In 1977, Maynard Brichford produced a manual forappraisal that, again, related archival value to "continuing31 The two following Canadian reports are examples of thistrend. Wilfred I. Smith, "Archival Selection: A Canadian View,"Journal of the Society of Archivists 3 (October 1967): 276; BryanCorbett and Eldon Frost, "The Acquisition of Federal GovernmentRecords: A Report on Records Management and Archival Practices,"Archivaria 17 (Winter 1983-84): 208.104usefulness."32 His manual does not provide a re-assessment ofappraisal, but, instead, merely presents a synthesis of acceptedideas, augmented by practical suggestions, focusing onSchellenberg's uncritical amalgamation of structural and contentanalysis. Several have argued for the introduction of a newarchival function, referred to as re-appraisa1.33 But the notionmerely accentuates the failure of archivists in the NorthAmerican tradition to identify an appropriate timing for theselection of records for preservation.A major attempt to alter appraisal methods was presented in1985 by Frank Boles and Julia Young.34 But it, too, suffers fromthe fragmentation of knowledge into unconnected parts, and theentrapment of the selection process in a subjective assessment ofvalue from the perspective of present use. Boles and Youngconstruct a model that attempts to "incorporate in a logical formall the significant parts of appraisal, both those traditionallyacknowledged by archivists and those factors which are often32 Maynard J. Brichford, Archives and Manuscripts: Appraisaland Accessioning (Chicago: Society of American Archivists,1977): 1.33 The first to do so was Leonard Rapport, "No GrandfatherClause: Reappraising Accessioned Records," American Archivist 44(Spring 1981): 143-150. Rapport suggests reappraisal everytwenty to thirty years, which is similar to the timing forinitial and archival appraisal advocated in 1954 by Sir JamesGrigg in England.34 Frank Boles and Julia Marks Young, "Exploring the BlackBox: The Appraisal of University Administrative Records,"American Archivist 48 (Spring 1985): 121-140.105unarticulated."35^In the American tradition, the model'stheoretical framework is limited by practical concerns aboutcost, political pressure and access issues. The model's threegeneral categories include value of information, costs ofretention, and political and procedural implications of theappraisal recommendations. Theoretical concerns of appraisal,however, are found only in the first category.The suggested method by which the value of information isidentified is a reconstruction of Schellenberg's approach thatattempts to reduce the tension between evidential andinformational value. Its emphasis on "circumstances of creation"parallels traditional structural analysis that identifies theevidential value of the records under consideration. Appraisalis then balanced by a content analysis of information, which"takes place within a universe defined by the archivist'sexperience and knowledge. "36 In actual practice, however, thecomplex intellectual process of appraisal is unacceptably reducedto mathematical quantification.37Boles and Young maintain Schellenberg's primary focus onuse, but extend the equation of value and use to the extreme:Records may^contain information thatnecessitates the restriction of their use. .• •^Whatever the scope of the restrictions,35 Ibid, 137.36 Ibid, 129.37 The practical application of the Boles and Young model isanalyzed in, Robert Sink, "Appraisal: The Process of Choice,"American Archivist 53 (Summer 1990): 452-458.106access limitations affect the use of therecords and thus the worth of the informationthey contain. To cite the most extremeexample, the decision to retain permanentlyclosed records is suspect.38Boles and Young seem to forget that today's politicalrestrictions on access may well become tomorrow's freedom ofinformation.The North American tradition of insisting on the centralityof use as the ultimate arbiter of value has been recentlychallenged by several Canadian archivists, with the applicationof the principles of diplomatics to the appraisal process.39Terry Cook, for example, develops these ideas in a mannerreminiscent of Philip Brooks:Archivists must not get distracted initiallyby the physical form or schematicorganization of the record, but rather lookat the processes and functions behind recordscreation. In this first and most importantphase of appraisal, they must understand whyrecords were created rather than what theycontain, how they were created and used bytheir original users rather than how theymight be used in future, and what formalfunctions and mandates of the creator theysupported rather than what physicalcharacteristics they may or may not have.4038 Ibid, 130.39 The application of the theory of diplomatics to modernrecords has been developed in the following articles by LucianaDuranti: "Diplomatics: New Uses for an Old Science," Archivaria28 (Summer 1989): 7-27; "Diplomatics . . . (Part II)," Archivaria29 (Winter 1989-90): 4-17; "Diplomatics . . . (Part III),Archivaria 30 (Summer 1990): 4-20; "Diplomatics . . . (Part IV),Archivaria 31 (Winter 1990-91): 10-25.40 Terry Cook, The Archival Appraisal of Records ContainingPersonal Information: A RAMP Study with Guidelines (UNESCO:Paris, forthcoming), 38.107Cook's emphasis on relating the processes and functions ofadministrative structures to the circumstances of creationsupports the centrality of provenantial information in theselection process. Barbara Craig adds that appraisal must berooted in the factual reality of the records:The reality of the record base is anindispensable component of all acts ofappraisal. Without an understanding ofdocuments and records, of their forms and oftheir functions and of how they were createdand used, plans can easily be divorced fromreality.41Luciana Duranti adds,The relationship between the records and theactions from which they derive, as embeddedin the records intellectual forms and intheir forms of aggregation, which tend to bevery repetitive, will enable us to identifywhich functions and activities generatedthem, and their relative significance.Record forma will guide us to meaning,context and value, and so will the processesand procedures, the functions and activitiesof records creators.42Such thinking deflects archivists' perspective from the values oftheir own society to an understanding of the relativesignificance of the records in terms of the activities of therecords creator.Another challenge to traditional approaches to appraisal41 Barbara Craig, "The Acts of the Appraisers: The Plan, theContext and the Record: A Commentary on a Paper of Hans Booms,"paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association ofCanadian Archivists, Banff, Alberta, 23-25 May 1991,(manuscript], 11.42 Luciana Duranti, "ACA 1991 Conference Overview," ACABulletin (July 1991): 26.108recently have come from the new medium of electronic records.The proliferation of electronic information systems as anincreasingly normal method of recording information andtransactions has the potential to become a catalyst in the re-assessment of appraisal theory and methodology. The applicationof archival concepts of provenance and original order toelectronic records has demonstrated the importance of structuralanalysis. Automated systems create a startling ease oftransmission and communication of information, an increasedcapacity for the manipulation of data and a new integration ofthe functional use of data. The dynamic relational formulationof data structures inexorably clarifies traditional understandingof the importance of provenance. For only in understandingadministrative structure can one understand the functions ofcomplex records. While provenance becomes highly intricate, theconcept remains valid for electronic records if one extends it tothe highest administrative level of responsibility for creation.The careful linkage of various uses of the information systemmade by subordinate offices according to their particularfunctions can identify and track the vital information aboutcreation provided by the identification of provenance.Electronic systems are organized in such a way as to processinformation rather than simply transmit it. Each record existsonly within the system, and is dependent on it, not just formeaning, but also for processing and access. For this reason,electronic records must be identified, not by series, but by the109broader concept of information data systems. The organization ofeach data system into microdata related by software capabilitiesfor precise indexing allows for a high precision of retrievalthat is simply unattainable in paper records. At the same time,electronic records are highly unstable, and suffer from softwaredependency and rapid obsolescence. The traditional notion oforiginal order as corresponding to physical order is meaninglessin the context of the random storage of electronic data, andtherefore must be reexamined. Original order in paper records isa static phenomenon that must be preserved to provide context andmeaning. In electronic records, the concept of original order asan arbiter of meaning is found in the system's dynamic relationalcontext. This functionality is inherent in the design system ofthe software and must be preserved by the archivist to maintainmeaning and access.Electronic records began their history in the 1950s withnon-record status, and were gradually accorded partial status forcontaining unique information. In 1981, John McDonald and SueGavrel from the Public Archives of Canada challenged CharlesDollar's proposal to limit the evaluation of electronic recordsto technical and informational value. McDonald and Gavrel had noquibble with Dollar's insistence on technical analysis as centralto the appraisal of electronic records, but, for the first time,they insisted that electronic records also had evidential and110legal value.43In 1984, Harold Naugler proposed his now widely acceptedguidelines, which instituted a two-tiered approach that combinedstructural and content analysis with technical analysis.44Schellenberg's evidential and informational values were augmentedby electronic values such as manipulability and linkagepossibilities. The new addition of technical analysis assessedreadability of the data file, the availability of documentation,and cost factors. Catherine Bailey concludes that the appraisalof electronic records is not conceptually different from theappraisal of paper records: "Their apparent intricacy is merelya reflection of the increased complexity of the electronicmedium, not the nature of the information it holds."45Since 1984, there have been two notable attempts to developappraisal theory by Bailey, and the United Nations AdvisoryCommittee for the Co-ordination of Information Systems (ACCIS).46Both studies support the traditional North American emphasis oncontent analysis, but both also demonstrate the importance of43 The evolution of electronic records from non-record torecord status is surveyed in Thomas E. Brown, "The Evolution ofah Appraisal Theory for Automated Records," Archives & MuseumInformatics 1, 3 (Mall, 1987): 49-51.44 Harold Naugler, The Archival Appraisal of Machine-Readable Records: A RAMP Study with Guidelines (Paris: UNESCO,1984).45 Catherine Bailey, "Archival Theory and ElectronicRecords," Archivaria 29 (Winter 1989-90): 182.46 Advisory Committee for the Co-ordination of Informationsystems. Management of Electronic Records: Issues andGuidelines. New York: United Nations, 1990.111provenance. They also offer an integrated program of appraisalthat is developed throughout the life history of a datainformation system, and includes initial appraisal, archivalappraisal and re-appraisal.Initial appraisal begins in the design phase of informationsystems. Because of the ease with which deletions andalterations can be made, the early identification of valuablerecords can support the automatic execution of appraisaldecisions during a transaction.47 Design decisions can becarefully constructed to maximize record layout, the linkage ofrecords to each other and to those in other systems, and thefunction that each type of record fulfills. The preservation ofinformation about design decisions would contribute to theevidential value of electronic records and their contextualizedmeaning. As Bailey notes, such information parallels that whichis derived from the preservation of original order in paperrecords.48 She argues that this is the most vital stage ofappraisal, "because without an identification of the importanceof information soon after its creation, electronic records maynever even reach the second stage of a full archivalappraisal. "49Archival appraisal begins after administrative use iscomplete.^Accepted practice insists on the submission of47 ACCIS, Management, 41.48 Bailey, "Archival," 188.49 Ibid, 186.112electronic records in flat file format to dodge problems ofelectronic incompatibility and obsolescence. Bailey raises aninteresting problem that is inherent in such a practice: "Ifarchives insist on combatting problems of hardware and softwareincompatibility or obsolescence by accepting only flat files inASCII or EBCDIC format, are they not losing some valuableevidential information about the records?"50 The Jenkinsonianinsistence on the moral defence of the evidential nature ofarchives will propel archivists to eventually accept Bailey'ssuggestion to preserve, not only information, but also thedynamic structure of the entire information system. The UnitedNations report notes that technological obsolescence forcesarchivists to regularly move electronic information from oneformat to another. Because of the Costs involved, the reportmakes the practical recommendation that this point of migrationis the most logical time for the appraisal function to beperformed.51An understanding of the form of electronic records forces are-evaluation of several aspects of traditional appraisalpractice. As recent studies have indicated, appraisal must be anintegrated process that spans the life history of records fromcreation to final disposition. For this to occur, the entireprocess requires extensive cooperation with the records creator.What remains to be re -evaluated is the North American focus on50 Ibid, 188.51 ACCIS, Management, 40-41.113content analysis as the primary method of identifying value.With the identification of the record status of electronicrecords, the primary focus of appraisal must remain thepreservation of their archival nature. In order to be used asevidence for administrative, legal or historical purposes, theimpartiality and authenticity of the records and the creationprocess must be preserved.American traditions of appraisal centre on use as theprimary arbiter of value that traps selection in the inescapableand conflicting subjectivities of past, present and futureperspectives. Such an understanding is based on an incorrectpremise that the context of creation is peripheral to the subjectcontent of the records. But, the fact that records are used forother reasons than those for which they were created does notmean that the circumstances of creation are invalidated. For themeaning of records is inexorably connected to provenancethroughout their life history, regardless of use. Most NorthAmerican archivists maintain a broad acceptance of structuralanalysis, but they pay only lip service to the importance ofmaintaining the impartiality of records. Because lip service isnot supported by logic, it is inevitably subverted bymethodology. In the final analysis, the pervasive acceptance ofthe arbitrary bifurcation of knowledge into categories ofevidential value and informational value does not help archivistspreserve the probative and archival nature of archives.The Canadian contribution to appraisal theory is found in114the growing insistence on the importance of understanding recordsin the context of their creation, which flows naturally from thefunctions and mandates of the records creator. Such anunderstanding acknowledges that, in order to preserve adocumentary heritage that is usable by all researchers of allsubjects, the duty of the archivist must remain the moral defenceof archives.115CONCLUSIONAfter all is said and done, it is the recordwhich is our special area of knowledge; itwill be a sad day and a dangerous step whenfaith in planning replaces the study andknowledge of records.Barbara Craig, 1991.1While there is no monolithic consensus on appraisal issuesin each of the traditions surveyed, dominant national trends seemto emerge that can contribute to a synthesis of internationalopinion. The archivists of continental Europe acknowledge theproblem of identifying value, and recognize the need for anobjective framework in order to limit the distortion caused bythe intervention of the archivist. British archivists resolvethe conflict between pertinence and provenance by formulating alogical equation between a broad conception of administrativevalue and historical value. They also contribute a practicalapproach to timing that involves an initial appraisal at fiveyears from the closure of the files, and an archival appraisal attwenty-five years. Americans contribute a commitment to users,and a pragmatic insistence on efficiency. Canadians emphasizethe importance of understanding records in the context of their1 Barbara Craig, "The Acts of the Appraisers: The Plan, theContext and the Record: A Commentary on a Paper of Hans Booms",11.116creation.All of the archivists surveyed share a sensitivity to theneeds of users, although they argue about the significance of usein the appraisal process. The debate on use is profitable inthat it identifies an essential aspect of the nature of archives.Whatever use is made of archives, and whatever its role inappraisal, the primary need of researchers remains the same:access to reliable evidence. The impartial and authenticcreation and custody of records guarantees their probativenature. Archives provide a recorded memory of their creatorsthat can be used as evidence to understand the present, plan forthe future, and protect or challenge the past. The use of such amemory, whether it be for administrative, judicial or culturalpurposes, reflects the primacy of the cultural value of recordsto society.Archives are a national resource because they protect therights of citizens, they provide for the democraticaccountability of government, and they offer a source ofknowledge and culture. From the preceeding analysis ofinternational literature on appraisal, three principles emergethat have the ability to guide the appraisal process in such away as to protect the integrity of a nation's archival resource:the principle of the impartiality of archives, the principle ofprovenance, and the principle of contemporary value. Therational application of these principles will limit thedistortion of the historical record that inevitably occurs with117the intervention of archivists in the selection process. Tothose who argue for natural selection, one can only counter withthe logic that rational intervention cannot help but provide abetter quality of evidence than chance.The principle of impartiality recognizes that the impartialand authentic nature of archives, which is derived from theprocess of their creation and natural accumulation, must bepreserved. Because of the value of archival records to society,because of the vital connection between preservation andusefulness, the primary focus of the appraisal process must be toselect records for preservation in such as manner as to guard thearchival and probative nature of the records. The question is,how can this be accomplished when the probative nature ofarchives is endangered by the various subjective perspectivesbrought by archivists to the process of selection.As noted at the beginning of this study, the courts havecircumscribed the use of documents as evidence, because they areinherently unreliable. The courts recognize the probative valueof records only if two conditions are met. First, they must beauthentically and impartially created in the usual and ordinarycourse of business. Second, they must be kept in the custody ofa reliable custodian. The courts proceed on the assumption thatthe circumstances of creation offer a guarantee oftrustworthiness because of the normal checks of accountabilitythat exist within any organized setting. In other words, thecourts limit the use of documentary evidence to archival records.118The stringent requirements of the courts for proof are aninformal guide to society for the logical requirements for proofwhenever records are used as evidence.Given the importance to society of having access to reliabledocuments as administrative, legal and cultural evidence of itsfunctions and activities, the first responsibility of archivistsengaged in the appraisal process must be to ensure that theimpartiality of the records is preserved. The Jenkinsoniannotion of the moral defence of archives reflects the primacy ofthe probative nature of records, and directly links the notion ofimpartiality to use. The future usefulness of records asevidence is directly dependent on the preservation of theirarchival nature, through the application of principles such asrespect des fonds and original order, which respect the externaland internal integrity of each fonds. If archivists fail toperform this fundamental task, the records will be renderedvalueless as evidence, except as discrete historical artifacts.The principle of impartiality must, therefore, be the primaryprinciple that guides all archival functions, including theappraisal process.The principle of provenance provides an objective frameworkfor structural analysis, the purpose of which is to identify andpreserve the records series that most accurately document theprimary functions and activities of the records creator.Structural analysis is a comprehensive analysis of the contextualrelationships that exist between a records creator and its119records. The analysis seeks to identify and understand thefunctions, procedures and actions of the records creator, as theyare reflected in its administrative organization and in thedocumentary forms of its records. The analysis, therefore, needsto combine an administrative analysis with diplomatic analysis inorder to relate the functions and actions of the records creatorwith the functions and role of the records. Because records areessentially transactional and provide evidence of activities, theanalysis must focus on why and how records were created todocument those activities.By respecting the integrity of the original order of a fondsthroughout the process, the probative nature of the records issecured for all users. The unique relationship that is createdby the interaction between a researcher and the records of afonds defines the relativity of value. If the value of therecords, as defined by the particular perspective of oneresearcher, is arbitrarily extended and imposed on all, theresult will be a gross distortion of meaning. The structuralanalysis of provenance attempts to counteract this danger; forthe focus of the study is not the relationship betweenresearchers and records, but rather the relationship between theparts of a fonds and the whole. That is, the focus of the studyis the identification and explanation of the archival nature ofthe fonds.In this manner, the application of provenance to appraisaldoes not limit the use of the records to a particular subject120from a particular perspective.^The only limits to researchquestions would be the parameters of the functions and activitiesof the records creator in question. Users unfamiliar with howtheir research questions relate to these functions and activitiesneed to be provided with meaningful intellectual access throughthe construction of logically designed indexes that linkfunctions, forms, names, and subjects to the fonds of specificrecords creators.In the various traditions studied, many archivistsacknowledge the problem of identifying value, and recommend theformulation of an objective framework for appraisal in order tolimit the inevitable distortion that occurs in the appraisalprocess. Questions surrounding such an objective framework arecaptured in the troubling debate that pits pertinence againstprovenance as the primary tool of appraisal. The essence of thedebate is captured in the objections of Fritz Zimmerman. Heargues that the use of provenance to identify value results in askewed selection of records that serves primarily the interestsof traditional political and military history. To broaden thefocus of selection, Zimmerman advocates the use of contentanalysis of the records to identify significant subject areaswhich are able to provide answers to more comprehensive researchquestions.One problem with Zimmerman's argument is the fact that theApplication of provenance he objects to is, in effect, acamouflaged content analysis. Administrative units are evaluated121according to an ideological understanding of their "importance".If certain administrative structures are assumed by archivists tohave primary importance in society, the inevitable result of suchthinking would, in fact, support the interests of tradiitonalpolitical and military history, as Zimmerman charges. Thus thetautology of subjectivity is perpetuated.A second problem with Zimmerman's argument is his focus onresearch use. Hans Booms has articulated clearly that selectingrecords for preservation on the basis of their projected value tofuture researchers is speculative for two reasons. First,subjects have no prescribed priority, for the value of recordsnecessarily fluctuates with the perspective of the researchers.For example, what is valuable to a genealogist may not bevaluable to a lawyer attempting to establish the validity ofnative land claims. Second, research trends change. WhenZimmerman was attempting to broaden the focus of the selectionprocess, he was responding to the research needs of the newsocial historians. They were questioning the validity ofpolitical history, which from their new perspective, wasunderstood to exonerate the political structures of the elite atthe expense of the rest of society. While archivists need to besensitive to the needs of changing research trends, they cannotanticipate them.Zimmerman's concern for meeting the needs of changingresearch trends indicates a widespread responsiveness amongarchivists from many traditions to the needs of researchers that122must not be negated in the rejection of content analysis.Researchers are dependent on archivists to preserve the probativenature of records, and to provide meaningful intellectual access.The first need must be addressed by the application of soundarchival principles. The second can be addressed by theimplementation of descriptive standards, rationalizedintellectual access, and practical methods employed in the courseof reference service.The principle of contemporary value provides archivists witha mechanism by which they can distance themselves from the socialconditioning of their own society by evaluating the functions ofrecords creators in the context of their contemporary society.If meaning is rooted in context, then an understanding of contextmust be extended from the relationship between records and theircreator, to include also the relationship between the recordscreator and its contemporary society.An understanding of contemporary value primarily acts as anobjective point of reference to help archivists distancethemselves from their inevitable subjective allegiance to theideology of their own society. The contemporary chronicleproposed by Hans Booms is not the result of an interpretiveexercise, but is a straightforward record of dates and eventsthat were important to the society of the records creator duringthe time the records being appraised were created. The chronicleprovides an objective frame of reference in which the functionsof the creator can be judged in a broad social context. As noted123previously, Hans Booms projects that use of this principle as acorollary of provenance, can eliminate a further 25* of recordsbeing appraised.For example, native land claims in the 1990s would clearlyform part of the contemporary chronicle of our society. Usingthis model, future archivists who are appraising records willevaluate them primarily by a structural analysis of functions andactivities of the records creator. When this is done, a moreextensive selection of records for preservation can be done byreference to the relationship between the records creator andcontemporary events that relate the subject of land claims to thefunctions and jurisdiction of the records creator.Modern research questions relating to native land issues inrecords created before the current widespread interest in landclaims can still be answered by thoughtful provision ofintellectual access to the new trends in research. If, however,archivists re-appraise historical records on the basis of theirsignificance to current research trends, the dangers of thedistortions inherent in content analysis are re-invented.Several archivists have argued that the process of appraisalcan be assisted by three measures. The first measure is theJenkinsonian notion of vital records as the "The Golden Rule ofArchive Making". Because vital records enable an organization tocontinue to function, they are the core of records that provideevidence of the organization, authority, functions, and policiesand procedures of a records creator. These records can provide124evidence to establish administrative precedents for futureaction, as well as knowledge of the historical development of theagency and its functions. Such thinking assumes a logicalconnection between administrative and historical value which hasbeen accepted as self-evident in the British tradition, but whichclearly requires empirical verification.The second measure suggested is that appraisal can beenriched by the insights provided by modern diplomatics.Diplomatists argue convincingly that diplomatic analysis canassist archivists in explaining the relationships that existbetween the records of a fonds; and understanding why recordswere created, how they were used, and what functions theysupported. The practical application of diplomatics to theappraisal of specific fonds needs to be demonstrated.A third measure that can contribute to the rationalizationof the appraisal process is found in the recommendation of theGrigg Report for two distinct stages of appraisal. The Reportsuggests that the initial appraisal be done by the creatingdepartment to identify a broad understanding of administrativevalue, five years after the closure of the files. Theapplication of the British concept of initial appraisal using theprinciple of provenance as a guide could easily be adapted to thetiming of the implementation of retention schedules, when filesare moved from their semi-active stage to final disposition. TheReport proposes that archival appraisal be done by the archivistin conjunction with the creating department to identify both125administrative and historical value, twenty-five years after theclosure of the files. The time gap between creation, originaluse and archival appraisal provides an historical perspective tothe process that can assist the archivist in a re-assessment ofthe initial selection of series. In this final appraisal, theprinciple of provenance can be combined with the use of thecontemporary chronicle to further refine the selection of seriesfor preservation.Further study is required in order to provide empiricalverification of how these three measures can contribute toappraisal for selection. If they are proved valid, throughstudies of their effect on the appraisal of specific fonds, theyhave the potential to contribute immeasurably to the quality ofthe selection process. To round out the entire subject, theprinciples of appraisal for selection need to be further examinedto identify their application to the problems associated withappraisal for acquisition.The current constitutional crisis in Canada has exposed thefragility of the confluence of cultural identities that combineto form the Canadian experience. The national search for self-knowledge evocatively demonstrates society's continuing need forand reliance on our documentary heritage to preserve or alterCanada's political, judicial and cultural life. For, knowledgeof the past and present informs society in such a way as tocreate social stability and meaning in the midst of evolutionarychange. For this reason, archivists must remember Sir Hilary126Jenkinson's admonition that our primary duty in appraisal is themoral defence of archives. 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New York: Russell Sage Foundation,1970.135GLOSSARY OF ARCHIVAL TERMSACQUISITION:An addition to the holdings of an archival institution,whether received by transfer under an established andlegally based procedure, or by deposit, purchase, gift,or bequest.ACQUISITION POLICY:An official statement issued by an archival institutionidentifying the kinds of materials it will acquire andthe conditions or terms that will regulate theiracquisition.ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE:The value that accrues to records because of theirusefulness to an organization or person to fulfill anddocument its administrative mandate, function andactivities. It includes operational, legal andfinancial value.ARCHIVAL NATURE:The inherent characteristics of archives that arelogically derived from the circumstances of theircreation, in which records naturally accumulate in thecourse of a practical activity within an accountablestructure. The characteristics of naturalness,interrelatedness, uniqueness, impartiality andauthenticity guarantee the probative nature ofarchives.ARCHIVES:The documents created, received and used by anorganization or person in the course of its practicalactivities, and preserved as evidence of its mandate,functions and activities.APPRAISAL:The process by which archives are evaluated for theirfinal disposition, which includes either destruction orpreservation in an archival institution.AUTHENTICITY:The quality of documents of being duly vested with allnecessary and legal formalities acquired in the naturalprocess of their creation within an accountableadministrative structure. These formal attributesallow archival evidence to be considered by the courtas credible and reliable./36CONTENT ANALYSIS:The study of the subject content of an archival fonds.The resulting knowledge is used by the archivist in theappraisal process to determine the series of recordsthat most accurately reflect historical and modernsocial phenomena of society.HISTORICAL VALUE:The value that accrues to records because of theirusefulness to researchers. Synonymous with researchvalue.IMPARTIALITY:The quality of being unbiased, unprejudiced and notpartial to any party because of being in a position ofneutrality and objectivity. Because archives arecreated in the course of a practical activity, they areunderstood to provide impartial, reliable evidence ofthat activity to all researchers, regardless of theirpurpose or perspective.PROBATIVE NATURE:An inherent characteristic of archives that logicallyderives from the circumstantial guarantee oftrustworthiness of their creation process, therebyennabling them to be used as evidence to logicallyfurnish, establish or contribute to proof.PROVENANCE:The organization or person that created, accumulatedand maintained the records in the conduct of businessor personal affairs. The archival nature of a fonds ofa records creator is preserved by respecting itsexternal and internal integrity. The externalintegrity of a fonds is respected by not interminglingthe records of one records creator with those ofanother. The internal integrity of a fonds ispreserved by respecting original order.PRINCIPLE OF PERTINENCE:The principle that the value of records is identifiedon the basis of the relationship between their subjectcontent and important social phenomena.PRINCIPLE OF PROVENANCE:The principle that the records selected for permanentpreservation are identified on the basis of acomprehensive analysis of the contextual relationshipsthat exist between a records creator and its records.137PUBLIC RECORDS:Documents issued by a body having jurisdiction onmatters of a public nature, or related to mattersregulated by public law, or accessible to the public.RECORDS:Recorded information created, received and maintainedby an organization or person for use because of legalobligations or in the transaction of business.STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS:The study of the structure and functions of thecreating organization and the processes by which therecords were generated. The resulting knowledge isused by the archivist in the appraisal process toidentify series of records that most accurately reflectthe activities of the records creator.VALUE:The estimate in which a thing is held according to itsreal or supposed worth, usefulness or importancerelative to a particular perspective.138


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