business records

Identity in Flux: The Evolution of the Selection and Retention of Business Records

Abstract: Business records have existed since the settlement of North America, but they have struggled to carve out an identity, both in the sense of their primary uses and their appropriate custodians.  Each of these factors is inextricably intertwined with the appraisal of business records, for it is impossible to disentangle the selection of records from the professionals tasked with making these decisions and from their expected uses.  Whereas the Jenkinson model of a detached caretaker dominated the earlier years of collection, the explosion of business records post-World War II necessitated a reformulation of appraisal priorities and coincided with a shift toward in-house repositories of business records.  In the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century, the focus of acquisitions shifted from those records emphasizing the heritage and unique contributions of the company to those records merely fulfilling certain statutory or fiscal responsibilities, leaving a bleak outlook for business archives and their users.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. “The Pendulum Swings” | Courtney Bailey, MSLS
    Apr 05, 2015 @ 18:51:03

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