Appraisal: Part 1

Certificate Eligibility: 
90 minutes

Appraisal has been called the most difficult intellectual challenge of an archivist’s work. However, appraisal suffers from the perception that it is also the most talked about but least understood aspect of archives administration. Often when “appraisal” is discussed in the context of arrangement and description, what is meant instead is “weeding.” Weeding is for gardeners, not for archivists. Attending this webinar, you’ll discover, in broad strokes, the history of appraisal theory and practice from an instructor broadly respected for his writing on both the abstract concepts and their daily implications for appraisal.


While not omitting appraisal theory, the webinar emphasizes practical issues, problems, and solutions.

Learning Outcomes: 
Understand the who, what, where, when, why, and how of appraisal
Describe the most important underlying concepts of archival appraisal theory and how best to relate theory to appraisal practice
Recognize the difference between weeding and appraisal and why the former must always give way to the latter
Comprehend important concepts, both theoretical and practical, to consider when approaching an appraisal decision or defining a collecting policy
Understand and identify significant pitfalls to be avoided in thinking about and in applying appraisal concepts
Distinguish the extent to which appraisal of analog materials is or is not mirrored in the appraisal of electronic records
Who Should Attend?: 

Anyone tasked with arrangement and description who either needs a refresher or didn’t hear much about appraisal when it was touched on briefly in graduate school, as well as archival professionals who are responsible for appraisal of archives and manuscripts, whether analog or electronic, at any level of aggregation

What You Should Already Know: 

No prior experience is necessary

A&D Core Competency: 
2. Description: Analyze and describe details about the attributes of a record or collection of records to facilitate identification, management, and understanding of the work.
4. Management: Demonstrate ability to manage physical and intellectual control over archival materials.
7. Risk Management: Analyze threats and implement measures to minimize ethical and institutional risks.