Archiving is the process of accumulation of historical records or materials or the physical facility in which they are located. The process of archiving contains primary source documents that have accumulated over a lifetime, and are kept to show the function of a person or organization. Professional historians and archivists understand archives to be records that have been necessarily and naturally generated as a product of regular commercial, administrative, legal, or social activities.
In general, archives consist of records selected for long-term or permanent preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value. Records of this archiving are normally unpublished and are almost always unique, unlike magazines or books of which many identical copies might exist. This means that archives are distinct from libraries with respect to their functions and organization, even though archival collections can often be found within library buildings.
A person working in archives is referred to as an archivist. The study and practice of preserving, providing, and organizing access to materials and information in archives is called archival science.
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