Archives 101: So You Have a Box of Papers

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.

Associated Divisions:

NCAR Archives Mission

The NCAR Archives preserves the institutional history of NCAR|UCAR. The Archives acquires, manages, makes accessible resources documenting the activities undertaken by NCAR|UCAR in the areas of Earth systems science research, technology, education, and community building.

Contact Us

NCAR Archives


Visit the NCAR Archives Twitter

Visit the Archives

Visits to the NCAR Archives are by appointment only. If you would like to come to the Archives, please contact us to schedule an appointment.

The Archives are located at the Mesa Lab in Boulder, CO. View directions and a map.