Archival Science

Authored by: Elizabeth Shepherd

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Archival science is the academic and professional discipline concerned with the theory, methodology, and practice of the creation, preservation, and use of records and archives. It encompasses the creation, preservation, and use of records in their functional context, whether organizational or personal, and the wider social, legal, and cultural environment within which records are created and used. In the United Kingdom the discipline is known as archives and records management, although in other cultural contexts, archives management and records management are sometimes separated, and sometimes bound more closely together, for example, by proponents of the records continuum. Organizations and individuals create records in the conduct of their current business, to support administration, to ensure accountability, and for cultural purposes, to meet the needs of society for collective memory and the preservation of individual and community identity and history. This entry serves as an introduction to the field of archival science. The first section gives a broad overview of the nature of archives and records. The main section provides some definitions and an introduction to the core concepts and principles which are central to the discipline, including records, archives, and activities; attributes of records; the records lifecycle; the records continuum; provenance and original order; postmodernist ideas around archive fever. The entry concludes with a discussion of the professional discipline of archives and records management, an overview of the key functions of archives and records services, and a brief history of archival science in the Western world.

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