What are Archives?

One of the great arguments for an archive, for a place, a repository, is to be certain that the accidents and vagaries of life don't affect the valuable things.

- Pete Hamill

An archives is a place where professionals collect, organize and make available historically significant documents in an environmentally-secure space. Inactive organizational records and personal papers with intrinsic value are also called archives.

An archival repository safeguards these records by monitoring their handling and use. More important, it provides research access to the information in the records, both to scholars and to the public. Placing records in an archival repository is an important step toward their preservation - and the survival of the documentary evidence that they contain.

Before records are transferred to an archival repository, an archivist conducts a survey to determine which materials have enduring use. Because the research potential of records may be diminished if items are removed or rearranged, records should not be sorted before an archivist can examine them.