Un articol remarcabil al Angelikai Menne Hariz din 1994. Sunt lucruri care ar trebui sa fie considerate banale de orice arhivist. Si totusi…
Appraisal or Documentation: Can We Appraise Archives by Selecting Content?
in American Archivist, Vol. 57, Summer 1994.
Redau finalul (p. 541-542):
Records are not pure truth. They always are purposeful, even if they don’t state their purpose literally. No law can be strong enough to make people do something that has no meaning for their activities. They create records because they need them, not because someone ordered their creation. Nothing in the human community happens accidentally. Working power is not used for purposes without benefit, either direct or indirect. The benefit may be that of the community or of the society, and it may be legitimated politically. Accountability is one such social benefit that is generally accepted in democratic societies. But the steering and controlling of cooperative decision-making processes is a very direct benefit. It is the reason for the creation of records, because with their help all individual efforts can effectively be oriented to a common goal or purpose. That is the proper reason for the historical appearance of records, developed out of the preparatory records for medieval registers or charters and acquiring with time a more important role than those, finally replacing charters and registers with the growth of governments and the higher degree of division of labor.
Records are not made for posterity. Records are created because they are needed by those who create them, not as information collection but as intellectual working tools for the steering and controlling of cooperative decision-making processes And, therefore, records are reliable. The better they have served the primary purposes in initiating and controlling cooperative purposeful intellectual work, the more they are authentic and trustworthy in making clear those processes for secondary purposes, be they evidential or informational. Yet the evidence is not accessible without special processing of the records. It has to be worked out and made obvious by professional specialists, the archivists who are trained for this purpose. Ballast and redundancy must be disposed of to make the remaining records eloquent and lucid.
The informational content in records is never objective. It cannot be so. But it is always purposeful. So the role of evidence can be described as the insight into the primary purposes as a necessary supplement for informational values, without which the latter are meaningless or could be interpreted in the wrong way or are simply trivial. That is why redundancies must be weeded out. That is why evidence is an aim, not a tool, for archival appraisal. Archivists are the only specialists who have the theoretical and methodological tools to make evidence accessible and thus to reveal the explanatory context of information. Archivists are responsible for preserving the context as well as the information.
Archivists can be described as the only specialists for secondary purposes of administrative records, for juridical, economic, or political accountability in the sense that they enable the evidence to be laid open and that they give all users the chance to interpret the evidence in their own way, giving others the chance to follow their own arguments or to interpret the sources differently. Transparency or lucidity of decision-making processes in administration is one basis of modern representative democracies. Archives can guarantee direct insight after certain, politically defined time periods, while their actual publication and accessibility depends on necessary protection of governments against direct influences from the outside.
If archival work aims at making evidence accessible, then content-oriented evaluation can supplement appraisal. But selection for documentation can never replace it.