Part of an archivist’s work is determining value in records to see if they are worthy of long-term preservation. Only a small percentage of an organization’s records are deemed as having that value, and are typically preserved over time to allow for continued access. Archivists gauge different values—historical, administrative, legal, evidential—to determine long-term significance of records. Such value is sometimes referred to as archival, enduring, or continuing value, and is determined by examining the content in the records.
Archivists often judge the intrinsic value of records as well, meaning the record is important because of its physical form; relationship or associations to people, places, or events; or the processes that went into its creation. Think of materials like the original Declaration of Independence, where the content has been repeated many times, but the original document has intrinsic value based on its affiliations and manner of creation.
Sometimes, records have additional values that we might consider, such as oddity or hilarity. One example we located recently in our campus archives: the Confidential Statement on Snoring.