Course:1: Archives and Archivists
Lesson:Lesson One: Introduction to Archives and Archivists
Topic:Lesson One Summary


Lesson One Summary

Records are valued and used by their creators and others because they provide for accountability and continuity. Historical records are used for a wide variety of reasons by a diverse group of people and organizations. The historical records programs that care for these records are a vital part of the network that exists to protect and preserve the heritage of individuals, communities, organizations, citizens, and government.

Personal Exercise

Think about ("mind walk" through) all the activities you were involved in during the past 24 hours. List as many of these activities as you can remember.

For each activity on your list, write down what evidence, if any, your activities might have left behind.

Review your entire list, and what you wrote about evidence your activities left behind. Then answer these questions:

  • Which of your daily activities were most likely to leave trace evidence behind?
  • What, if any, of that evidence might be preserved for the future? Why?
  • What might be left out of an historical record of your activities? Why?
  • What would a future historian be able to tell about your life and your society based on evidence of your daily activities that might be preserved for the future? 

Exercise icon

We've provided an exercise designed by the Library of Congress's "Mindwalk" program. Instructions are in the left column of this page. 

Historical Evidence in Your Daily Life 

1. Did you create any records of your activities?
Click here for examples.

2. Would traces of your activities appear in records someone else created?
Click here for examples. 

3. Would traces of your activities appear in school or business records? in community records? in government records?
Click here for examples.