During the month of April the NCAR Archives will be offering a glimpse of what an archivist does behind the scenes with boxes of records. Check back often for new posts!
So you have a box of papers . . . Then the first order of business is to identify what they are. Detective skills are handy! Archives are the records of long-term value from a public office or private organization. Manuscripts are the personal letters, diaries, and other papers commonly kept by an individual or family.
Records are important because they tell the story of who we are as individuals, families, communities, and organizations. Taking the time to identify your to identify you box of papers ensures that the stories contained within are not forgotten.
Basic identification requires figuring out who created the papers, along with where and when. This information is called the paper's provenance and it is important to write it down and keep it with the papers. If it is decided that the papers are worth keeping for historic, legal, personal, or other reason, then they will be arranged, described, and preserved.