How does the Smithsonian Institution Archives determine which records to keep and which to discard?

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The process of determining which records to keep and which to discard is called appraisal. Records are appraised based upon their historical, legal, administrative, and financial value. These values assist Smithsonian archivists in deciding which records are of enduring value and should be retained permanently in the Archives, and which records are temporary and should be discarded on-site or at the Records Center. Several tools are used in appraising records, including the SIA Appraisal Methodology, records surveys, and records disposition schedules.

Read more about the Archives' Appraisal Methodology or access unit-specific records disposition schedules (staff only).

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