5.3 Appraisal, Destruction, and Scheduling Information (Added Value)

Purpose and Scope

This element provides information about the rationale for appraisal decisions, destruction actions, and disposition schedules that are relevant to the understanding and use of the materials being described.


Commentary: Not all materials offered to, or acquired by, a repository merit permanent retention. The process of determining the archival value of records (and thus the attendant disposition of unwanted records) is known as appraisal. A number of considerations go into appraisal decisions, including the current administrative, legal, and fiscal use of the records; their evidential, intrinsic, and informational value; their arrangement and condition; and their relationship to other records. In many cases, material is not selected for permanent retention or only a sample is retained. In other cases, material not normally selected may be retained for particular reasons. Documenting appraisal decisions and the rationale for retention or destruction of selected archival materials provides significant information relevant to the interpretation of the materials being described.

Organizations with a records management program transfer materials to archives in accordance with records schedules. A records schedule is a document that describes the records of an organization, establishes the length of time the records are required to carry out the organization’s business, and provides authorization for their disposition. Disposition can include destruction or retention in a repository. Thus, appraisal decisions and the justification for them are an inherent part of records schedules. Archives that receive regular transfers of records from their parent bodies may wish to include in their descriptions (or by means of links to the records management system) the rationale for the appraisal decisions documented in records schedules.


5.3.1 Record information about expected accruals in the Accruals Element (5.4).

5.3.2 Record information about gaps in the unit being described due to reasons other than appraisal/destruction actions in the Scope and Content Element (3.1).

Sources of Information

5.3.3 Take the information from repository documentation, such as retention schedules.

General Rules

5.3.4 Where the destruction or retention of archival materials has a bearing on the interpretation and use of the unit being described, provide information about the materials destroyed or retained and provide the reason(s) for the appraisal decision(s), where known.

Appraisal criteria for file retention included the presence of attorney’s handwritten notes, substantiating correspondence, depositions, and transcripts, which are seldom or never present in the Supreme Court’s files.


The State Archives will retain all pre-1920 patient case files in their entirety. The State Archives will retain a representative sample of post-1920 patient case files from the following facilities: Binghamton, Pilgrim,... The sample captures specific patient populations and treatments as defined in the detailed appraisal report, as well as providing geographic coverage. The sample is necessary because more than 110,000 cubic feet of patient case files currently exist and cannot be microfilmed or retained in paper form. Admission and discharge ledgers for all patients will be retained by the State Archives to ensure that core information survives on all patients for all facilities.


After they were microfilmed, the original letterpress copies were destroyed due to their illegibility.

5.3.5 Where appropriate, record the authority for the action.


All files in this series are appraised as “retain permanently” under disposal authorities RDS440/10.1, RDA458/8.1, and RDA1176/8.1.

5.3.6 Optionally, record the date(s) of the appraisal/destruction action(s).

Originals were destroyed by the National Archives in 1982 in accordance with the Department’s approved Appraisal and Disposition Schedule.

Originals destroyed after microfilming, 1981.

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