Archives Management is the study of the systematic acquisition, appraisal, authentication, and preservation of valuable records.
From file footage of controversial news that shocked the world, collection of every music album ever released, to compilations of the most iconic photographs that graced different printed publications, proper archiving techniques have allowed us to see how societies and cultures have evolved through the years.
Contracts, memos, e-mail and chat exchanges, video and audio recordings, and maintenance logs can contain data that can dictate the outcome of a lawsuit. For this reason, companies and organizations typically try their best to preserve such documents should they become necessary in the future.
Additionally, in some countries, there are actual laws that require companies to store all information that may be used for possible lawsuits and to make them readily available upon official request.
Governments around the world require public records like those related with taxation, court proceedings, government spending, appointments, and other matters of public interest to be preserved and made available upon formal request. Managed by their country’s respective national archives, these records can span anywhere from tens to hundreds to thousands of years.
Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that provides free access to an extensive collection of digitized materials including websites, computer programs, audio files, videos, and nearly three million public-domain books.
As of 2016, its collection houses 15 Petabytes (equivalent to 15,000,000 gigabytes) worth of information, including 150 billion web captures from one of its most popular programs — The Wayback Machine — which regularly saves copies of web pages for future reference in the event that a particular site was changed in some way or permanently shut down.
Library of Congress Law Library
The Law Library of the United States’ Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, housing approximately 2.65 million volumes of legal material spanning ages and covering around 260 legal jurisdictions all over the world including former nations and colonies.
Among its extensive collection are official gazettes, constitutions, codes, session laws, administrative rules and regulations, commentaries and indexes to laws, judicial court decisions and reports, administrative court decisions and reports, legal bibliographies, directories of the legal profession, and legal dictionaries and encyclopedias among other things.
The National Archives, United Kingdom
Based in the United Kingdom, The National Archives houses millions of documents stretched over 185 kilometers of shelves.
Its diverse and massive collection includes legal documents; service records; combat reports; war diaries; maps, last wills and testaments; passenger lists; birth, marriage, and death certificates; migration records; and employment records to cite some examples.
Resources for Further Reading
- What Do Archivists Do? Let A Professional Archivist Answer That For You
- Archive Acquisition: The Selection Process Behind Deciding What to Keep and What to Discard
- Six Million Records and Counting: Meet the Man Who Owns the World’s Largest Album Collection
- Taking Archiving to a New Level: Check Out the Photo Storage Facility Located 220 Feet Underground