Course:2: Acquiring Your Collections
Lesson:Lesson 3: Appraisal--Deciding What Records to Acquire
Topic:Lesson Three Introduction

Lesson 3: Appraisal--Deciding What Records to  Acquire

Introduction

When records are offered to your historical records program, often your first inclination will be to say,  "Yes!" Instinctively, you see a value in the records and want to preserve them and make them accessible to your users. However, remember that before you can accept the records, you need to review them to make sure the records really belong in your program. This review process is called appraisal.

Appraisal involves analyzing the records to see if they are appropriate for your program. Appraisal is analyzing the historic, legal, administrative, fiscal, and intrinsic value of a group of records and their relationship with other records, based on an organization's collection policy.

The term does not, in this context, refer to placing a monetary value on records. The value being considered is historical worth, not monetary worth.

Making appraisal decisions about the ongoing historical importance of records is a complex process. You can usually find a reason to accept records; the appraisal process evaluates the necessity of accepting them.

You may find it helpful during the appraisal process to consult others who know about or have a particular interest in the records. These people could be colleagues, archivists, historians, specialists, or researchers. Whether you have this kind of assistance or not, you need to apply a systematic evaluation process to appraisal decisions.


Lesson Length icon

This lesson will take about one hour to complete.


Definition icon

Appraisal is analyzing the historic, legal, administrative, fiscal, and intrinsic value of a group of records and their relationship with other records, based on an organization's collection policy.

 Consulting about whether to acquire an item
You might want to consult others when you need to make appraisal decisions.