UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The theory of reappraisal and deaccessioning of archival material Ledwell, Mary P.


A survey conducted by the National Archives of Canada in 1987 reported that out of 100 archival institutions surveyed, 65% of the respondents said that they regularly reappraise and deaccession collections. However, reappraisal constitutes a formal requirement for only 15% of those who do it. This thesis examines the theory, method and practice of reappraisal and deaccessioning. Prior to the publication of Leonard Rapport's article "No Grandfather Clause: Reappraising Accessioned Records" in 1981, mention of reappraisal appeared infrequently in archival literature. Rapport's article presented attractive arguments for the reappraisal and deaccessioning of material in archival custody, and, since its appearance, the idea of appraisal as a one time activity to select documents for permanent preservation in an archival repository is seriously being questioned. A growing number of archivists are advocating reappraisal and deaccessioning as legitimate and necessary functions of archival work. This thesis reviews the current literature regarding reappraisal and deaccessioning. It identifies and discusses the various arguments put forth for reappraisal and deaccessioning, and assesses whether they are valid in terms of archival theory, methods and practice. Finally, it outlines a procedure for reappraisal and deaccessioning with consideration given to the legal, financial and adrninistrative implications or reappraisal and deaccessioning. This thesis concludes that systematic reappraisal is not a valid and justifiable archival activity, however, reappraisal and deaccessioning is sometimes warranted and necessary on a case by case basis.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.