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Archives

ARCHIVES

Research access to and knowledge about archives in the Russian Federation since 1991 have been key factors in the opening of historical and cultural inquiry in what had previously been a predominantly closed society. Yet the opening of archives would have had much less impact on society and history had in not been for the central attention given to archives under Soviet rule. And Russian archives would hardly be so rich in the early twenty-first century had it not been for the early manuscript repositories in the church and the long tradition of preserving the records of government and society in Russian lands. For example, the "Tsar's Archive" of the sixteenth century paralleled archives of the government boards (prikazy ) of the Muscovite state. Peter the Great's General Regulation of 1720 decreed systematic management of state records. During the late nineteenth century, the Moscow Archive of the Ministry of Justice became the most important historical archive. Before the revolutions of 1917, however, most recent and current records were maintained by state agencies themselves, such as the various ministries, paralleled, for example, by the archive of the Holy Synod, the governing body of the Orthodox Church. The Imperial Archeographic Commission, provincial archival commissions, the Academy of Sciences, major libraries, and museums likewise contributed to the growth of archives and rich manuscript collections.

The Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 had as revolutionary an impact on archives as it did on most other aspects of society and culture, and stands as the single most important turning point in the history of Russian archives. To be sure, the turmoil of the revolution and civil war years brought considerable disruption, and indeed destruction, to the archival and manuscript legacy. Yet it brought with it the most highly centralized state archival system and the most highly state-directed principles of preservation and management of documentary records that the world had ever seen. Deeply grounded in historical theory and committed to its own orthodoxy of historical interpretation, Marxism-Leninism as an ideology gave both extensive philosophical justification and crucial political importance to documentary control. As the highly centralized political system established firm rule over of state and society, the now famous archival decree of Vladimr Lenin (June 1, 1918) initiated total reorganization and state control of the entire archival legacy of the Russian Empire.

One of the most significant Soviet innovations was the formation of the so-called State Archival Fond (Gosudarstvennyi arkhivnyi fond GAF), a legal entity extending state proprietorship to all archival records regardless of their institutional or private origin. With nationalization, this theoretical and legal structure also extended state custody and control to all current records produced by current agencies of state and society. Subsequently a parallel Archival Fond of the Communist Party emerged with proprietorship and custody of Party records.

A second innovation was the establishment of a centralized state agency charged with the management of the State Archival Fond, enabling the centralization, standardization, and planning that characterized Soviet archival development. Indicative of the importance that Stalin attributed to control of archives and their utilization, from 1938 through 1960 the Main Archival Administration of the USSR (Glavarkhiv SSSR) was under the Commissariat and later (after 1946), Ministry of Internal Affairs (NKVD, MVD). Subsequently it was responsible directly to the Council of Ministers of the USSR.

A third innovation saw the organization of a network of archival repositories, although with substantial reorganizations during the decades of Soviet rule. A series of central state archives of the USSR paralleled central state archives for the union republics, with a hierarchical network of regional archives, all controlled and adopting standardized organizational and methodological guidelines dictated by Glavarkhiv in Moscow. Strict disposal and retention schedules regulated what went into the archives. A parallel network of Communist Party archives emerged. Records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remained separate, as did those of the security services and other specialized repositories ranging from geological data to Gosfilmofond for feature films. The Academy of Sciences maintained its own archival network, and archival materials in libraries and museums remained under their own controlling agencies.

Public research availability of the nation's documentary legacy was severely restricted during the Soviet era, although there was a brief thaw after 1956, and more significant research possibilities starting in the Gorbachev era of glasnost after the mid-1980s. But while limited public access to archives was a hallmark of the regime, so was the preservation and control of the nation's documentary legacy in all spheres.

In many ways, those three Soviet innovations continue to characterize the archival system in the Russian Federation, with the most notable innovation of more openness and public accessibility. Already in the summer of 1991, a presidential decree nationalized the archival legacy of the Communist Party, to the extent that the newly reorganized state archival system was actually broader than its Soviet predecessor. The Soviet-era Glavarkhiv was replaced by the Archival Service of the Russian Federation (Rosarkhiv, initially Roskomarkhiv). Russia's first archival law, the Basic Legislature of the Russian Federation on the Archival Fond of the Russian Federation and Archives, enacted in July 1993, extended the concept of a state "Archival Fond." Although it also provided for a "non-State" component to comprise records of non-governmental, commercial, religious, and other societal agencies, it did not permit re-privatization of holdings nationalized during the Soviet period. Nor did it provide for the apportionment of archival records and manuscript materials gathered in central Soviet repositories from the union republics that after 1991 emerged as independent countries. The latter all remained legally part of the new Russian "Archival Fond."

In most cases, the actual archival repositories that developed during the Soviet era continue to exist, although almost all of their names have changed, with some combined or reorganized. As heir to Soviet-period predecessors, fourteen central state archives constitute the main repositories for governmental (and former Communist Party) records in different historical, military, and economic categories, along with separate repositories for literature and art, sound recordings, documentary films, and photographs, as well as technical and engineering documentation. As a second category of central archives, a number of federal agencies still have the right to retain their own records, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Internal Affairs, and the security services. Municipal archives in Moscow and St. Peteresburg comprise a third category. As there were in the Soviet period, there are also many archival repositories in institutes and libraries under the Russian Academy of Sciences, and libraries and museums under the Ministry of Culture and other agencies. The extensive network of regional state (including former Communist Party) archives for each and every subject administrative-territorial unit of the Russian Federation, all of which have considerable more autonomy from Moscow than had been the case before 1991.

The most important distinction between Russian archives in the early twenty-first century and those under Soviet rule is the principle of openness and general public accessibility. Significantly, such openness extends to the information sphere, whereby published directories now identify all major repositories and their reference systems. New archival guides and specialized finding aids reveal the holdings of many important archives (many with foreign subsidies). And since 1997, information about an increasing number of archives is publicly available in both Russian and English-language versions on the Internet.

Complaints abound about continued restrictions in sensitive areas, such as the contemporary archives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and the security services. Declassification has been all to slow in many areas, including more recent Communist Party records, and new laws governing state secrets often limit the otherwise proclaimed openness. Yet often the most serious research complaints stem from economic causes closures due to leaking roofs or lack of heat, slow delivery time, and high copying fees. While Russia has opened its archives to the world, there have been more dangers of loss due to inadequate support for physical facilities and professional staff, leading to commercialization and higher service charges, because the new federal government has had less ideological and political cause than its Soviet predecessors to subsidize new buildings, physical preservation, and information resources adequately for the archival heritage of the nation.

See also: censorship; national library of russia; russian state library; smolensk archive

bibliography

Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (1989). A Handbook for Archival Research in the USSR. Washington, DC,: Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and the International Research & Exchanges Board.

Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (1998). Archives of Russia Seven Years After: "Purveyors of Sensations" or "Shadows Cast out to the Past." Washington, DC: Cold War International History Project, Working Paper, no. 20, parts 1 and 2. Electronic version: <http://cwihp.si.edu/topics/pubs>.

Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy, ed. (2000). Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 2 vols. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. (2003). "Archives of RussiaArcheoBiblioBase on Line." <http://www.iisg.nl/~abb>.

Patricia Kennedy Grimsted

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Archives

ARCHIVES

ARCHIVES are the records of an institution or organization that are no longer current but are preserved because they contain information of permanent value. They are the recorded memory, preserved for those who might find them useful in the future. Those who handle archival materials carry out several functions to preserve materials and make them accessible to potential users: appraisal, arrangement, description, and reference.

The beginnings of archives in the United States can be attributed to the Massachusetts Historical Society, the first of its kind, formed in 1791 "to preserve the manuscripts of the present day to the remotest ages of posterity." Similar local and national organizations soon followed, many of which collected the private papers and memorabilia of famous individuals in addition to official documents.

Systematic archival practice began in the United States in 1899, when the American Historical Association created the Public Archives Commission to investigate and report upon the historical character, contents, and functions of public repositories of manuscript records. This commission worked with thirty advisers across the United States to determine the character of the historical archives of the federal government and the individual states, as well as to report on the provisions made for their maintenance and accessibility. The purview of this commission did not include private and semipublic archives. The commission completed surveys for almost every state, resulting in Claude H. Van Tyne and Waldo G. Leland's Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (1904), a compilation of archival resources.

As more historical societies and archival repositories arose, there began to be even more concern about the most efficient ways of preserving historical materials. By the early 1800s, an Ohio historical society developed a method of protecting its holdings in airtight metallic cases that were numbered and indexed so that the holdings of each case could be identified without opening it. The various archives across the country had their own systems of organization and storage, with varying degrees of success. By the end of the nineteenth century, archival theories and practices were shared among many societies and associations. This collaboration led to the formation of a distinct archival profession in the United States and the founding of the American Historical Association (AHA) in 1884. The AHA began with the development of standardized systems of archival organization. Various subgroups sprang from the AHA, including the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Public Archives Commission, and, in 1909, the Conference of Archivists, which met annually to create new archives and to promote and improve archives already in existence. During the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration created the Historical Records Survey and the Survey of Federal Archives. In 1934, Congress established the National Archives as an independent federal agency.

In 1936, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) was founded "to promote sound principles of archival economy and to facilitate cooperation among archivists and archival agencies." The Conference of Archivists founded the SAA to differentiate between historians and scholars who use archival materials and archivists, who are responsible for the care, organization, and management of historical materials. A more democratic body than its predecessor, the SAA opened membership not just to directors of large archival institutions, but to all "who are or have been engaged in the custody or administration of archives or historical manuscripts," including archives of all sizes and orientation, from small private and business archives to large historical collections. The SAA was founded with 124 individual and four institutional members and doubled in size during its first year. A. R. New-some was elected to serve as the SAA's first president; a board of directors was also elected. The newly formed SAA proposed an annual convention at which professional papers would be delivered, information exchanged, and philosophies of archival organization discussed. At the first annual convention in June 1937, Newsome outlined a course for the SAA that has continued to be its policy into the twenty-first century. The SAA was "to become the practical self-help agency of archivists for the solution of their complex problems" and "to strive to nationalize archival information and technique."

The evolving information society challenges archivists to reexamine what it is they do and how they do it. The mechanisms for preserving information are changing as new technologies are developed, and others are rendered obsolete. Most archivists proceed with caution in adapting various technologies for archiving. With issues such as access versus ownership, digital storage, in particular, presents challenges to archivists' preservation efforts. The U.S. legal system has also been drawn into the issue of digital preservation, as archival organizations dispute the mandate that federal agencies maintain electronic versions of word processing and E-mail documents, even after electronic, paper, or microform records have been made.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Duranti, Luciana. "The Impact of Digital Technology on Archival Science." Archival Science 1, no. 1 (2001): 39–55.

Gracy, David B., II. An Introduction to Archives and Manuscripts. New York: Special Libraries Association, 1981.

Hodson, John Howard. The Administration of Archives. New York: Pergamon Press, 1972.

Menne-Haritz, Angelika. "Access—the Reformulation of an Archival Paradigm." Archival Science 1, no. 1 (2001): 57–82.

Posner, Ernst. Archives and the Public Interest: Selected Essays. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1967.

Riberiro, Fernanda. "Archival Science and Changes in the Paradigm." Archival Science 1, no. 3 (2001): 295–310.

Van Tyne, Claude H., and Waldo G. Leland. "Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington." Papers of the Bureau of Historical Research. No. 14. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1904.

Mary AnneHansen

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archive

archive A repository for information that the user wishes to retain, but without requiring immediate access. (The word is also used as a verb: to transfer into the archive system.) There are three quite different activities that must be distinguished: (a) the routine taking of backup copies, initiated by the system manager, to protect users and system managers against corruption of stored information;(b) the autonomous transferring of information from a higher-performance to a lower-performance storage system, initiated by the operating system, to achieve economies in the total cost to the system manager of information storage;(c) the voluntary transferring of a file between normal file storage and archive storage, initiated by the user, to achieve economies in the total costs to the user of information storage.

Most systems retain information that the user can alter on magnetic disk. (Information that the user cannot alter may either be held on a nonwriteable form of storage such as a CD-ROM, or on a writeable form but with some form of hardware or system write-inhibit control.) Magnetic disks offer high performance, but the user may be prepared to use a slower medium such as magnetic tape, which has lower unit costs for storage. Users may do this on their own behalf by attaching a magnetic-tape subsystem to their workstation, and overseeing the transfer of files to the magnetic tape and their subsequent recovery when the information is required again. Alternatively, in a large multiuser multiserver environment, there may be a server set aside specifically for the purpose of allowing users to transfer their information onto shared magnetic-tape devices. This server will also cooperate with the system's file-access software in maintaining the modified directory entries that allow the overall system to keep track of the information held on the magnetic tapes, and to oversee its recovery on behalf of the user. See also memory hierarchy.

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archive

ar·chive / ˈärˌkīv/ (usu. archives) • n. a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. ∎  the place where such documents or records are kept. • v. [tr.] place or store (something) in such a collection or place. ∎ Comput. transfer (data) to a less frequently used storage medium such as magnetic tape. DERIVATIVES: ar·chi·val / ärˈkīvəl/ adj.

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archives

archives XVII. — F. — L. archī(v)a, Gr. arkheîa n. pl., f. arkhḗ government.
So archivist XVIII. — F.

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archives

archives. See record offices.

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archive

archivealive, arrive, chive, Clive, connive, contrive, deprive, dive, drive, five, gyve, hive, I've, jive, live, MI5, revive, rive, shrive, skive, strive, survive, swive, thrive •skydive • swan dive • nosedive •swallow dive • scuba-dive • Argive •beehive • archive

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