Glossary search

evidential value

Broader Term: 

n. ~ 1. The quality of records that provides information about the origins, functions, and activities of their creator. - 2. Law · The importance or usefulness of something to prove or disprove a fact.


Evidential value1 relates to the process of creation rather than the content (informational value) of the records.

(Dollar 1991, p. 45) A growing number of archivists are now urging that archival appraisal return to basics and pay more attention to the documentation of program accountability, which suggests that the informational value of information application systems may be eclipsed by their evidential value.
(Schellenberg 1984, p. 58) The secondary value of records can be ascertained most easily if they are considered in relation to two kinds of matters: 1) the evidence they contain of the organization and functions of the Government body that produced them, and 2) the information they contain on persons, corporate bodies, things, problems, conditions, and the like, with which the Government body dealt. ¶ The value that attaches to records because of the evidence they contain of organization and function will be called 'evidential values.' By this term I do not refer to the value that inhere in public records because of any special quality of merit they have a documentary evidence. I do not refer, in the sense of English archivists Sir Hilary Jenkinson, to the sanctity of the evidence in archives that is derived from 'unbroken custody,' or from the way they came into the hands of the archivist. I refer rather, and quite arbitrarily, to the value that depends on the character and importance of the matter evidenced, i.e., the origin and the substantive programs of the agency that produced the records. The quality of the evidence per se is thus not the issue here, but the character of the matter evidenced.