North Yorkshire county record office - appraisal policy
The page below shows the appraisal policy for North Yorkshire County Record Office.
This policy is divided into the following sections:
- Context of the appraisal policy
- Aims of the appraisal policy
- Scope of the appraisal policy
- General principles of the appraisal policy
- Procedures for appraisal
- Disposal of records
- Review of the appraisal policy
1. Context of the appraisal policy
The function of North Yorkshire County Record Office is the acquisition, preservation and provision of public access to archive material for the whole of the county of North Yorkshire. We care for millions of documents of all shapes, sizes and ages which are housed in one purpose-adapted repository in Northallerton.
It is essential that this growing archive can be maintained in accordance with available resources. It is not possible to retain all records permanently. Appraisal plays a vital role in ensuring that only records which justify permanent preservation are added to North Yorkshire County Record Office holdings. The unnecessary retention of records may jeopardise the future acquisition of important collections.
For the purposes of this policy, appraisal is defined as the process of assessing whether records justify permanent preservation. It applies to all records irrespective of medium.
Records are defined as manuscripts; typescripts; maps; plans; drawings; photographs; electronic records; sound and video tapes; printed works; and any other formats that form an archive, or an integral part of an archive, of an organisation or individual.
This appraisal policy should be read in conjunction with the County Record Office acquisition policy and collections development policy.
2. Aims of the appraisal policy
The aims of this policy are:
- To ensure that appraisal practice selects records of the highest value in terms of their evidential, administrative or historical importance;
- To ensure that appraisal practice supports the County Record Office commitment to reflect as fully as possible in its holdings all aspects of the life and work of the people of North Yorkshire, past and present and the strategic objectives and collection themes of its acquisition and collections development policies; and
- To ensure that appraisal practice is in line with current legislation relating to record keeping.
3. Scope of the appraisal policy
This policy applies to all collections stored and maintained by North Yorkshire County Record Office. It applies to collections owned by the County Record Office and those on long term loan.
This policy applies to newly deposited material and to the re-appraisal of existing collections.
4. General principles of the appraisal policy
Appraisal will be carried out with regard to:
- Public records and archive legislation
- Freedom of Information Act
- Financial regulations
- Data protection
Items will be selected for retention under the following criteria:
- They fall within the remit of the County Record Office acquisition and collections policies;
- They are unique amongst the holdings of the County Record Office;
- They include information that is not available elsewhere;
- They are likely to be of administrative importance to the creating body or its successors;
- They give significant information about the creating organisation or individual;
- They are deemed to be of possible interest to researchers visiting the County Record Office;
- They give significant information about major local events;
- They give significant information about local political, social, cultural or economic history; and
- They are of special intrinsic or historical value to the area and its diverse communities.
All routine or duplicate material will be removed from the collections.
5. Procedures for appraisal
The appraisal procedures are:
- Appraisal will be carried out by qualified archive professionals or by para-professionals under their supervision;
- Where practicable, an initial appraisal exercise will be carried out prior to collections being deposited. This initial appraisal will aim to identify series of records not worthy of long-term preservation and avoid the necessity of removing this material from the archive at a later stage;
- Newly deposited material will generally be appraised as part of the cataloguing process. For smaller collections this will usually be on a file by file basis but for larger collections the decision to retain, destroy or sample records will be taken at series level;
- Re-appraisal of existing collections will sometimes be necessary and will be carried out on the same basis as above;
- Records of the North Yorkshire County Council will be appraised in accordance with the corporate records retention and disposal schedule, supplemented by the guidelines within this policy;
- Appraisal decisions will be documented to leave an audit trail;
- Further appraisal guidelines will be developed for particular classes of records in order to assist archive staff with this work. In the case of large classes of records a defined sampling process is one option.
6. Disposal of records
In the case of loaned material, any records appraised and not selected for permanent preservation, will be offered for return to the depositor before being disposed of.
If appropriate, records may be offered for transfer to a relevant repository.
All unwanted material will be disposed of confidentially.
7. Review of the appraisal policy
This policy document was issued in May 2010. It will be reviewed and updated as necessary and at least every five years.