3.1. The relevance of records and archives
The relevance, importance, usefulness and necessity for records and archives is universally recognised and accepted. Those whose duty is it to look after records and archives believe in the mission of their work and in the immense responsibility that they have to shoulder as they stand custodian over such a unique and irreplaceable heritage. Those who create the records and archives and use them for the conduct of their business also recognise the importance of records and archives. They recognise that records and archives carry information without which it would not be possible for them to continue with their operations.
The custodians of records and archives have the responsibility to meet the needs of those who would like to use the records and archives. They get to know which records and archives are needed more than others for they are the ones who process the requests for access. The custodians feel that they have a crucial role to play in deciding which records should be retained permanently and which ones should be disposed of. To facilitate access to the records and archives they have created elaborate procedures for accessioning, arranging, describing and preserving records and archives and for granting access. To assess the rate of usage they maintain statistics showing the numbers of people who come to consult the records and archives' and of the quantities and types of materials accessed. They also usually record information relating to the reasons for needing use of the records. If one asks them about their users they are able to tabulate the categories of records used and the purposes for this but when one prods deeper one suddenly realises that all that exists are generalities without much specification.
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