History's strongest ally is also its greatest foe. In the quest to remember just what happened, an archive provides a repository for materials relating to a specific construct. By maintaining these archives, we keep a record of our past; however, as these archives accumulate, we make it more difficult to really know what it was we wanted to remember in the first place.

A collection of unpublished material, often including letters, journals, diaries, receipts, etc.

An archive is composed of one or more collections, each of which was collected (or is being collected) for a specific purpose. The specific purpose specific purpose is outlined in the archives collections policy. The unit of measure of a collection is the linear foot.

An archive differs from a library in that a libraries major content is published material, and libraries generally catalog individual documents rather than entire collections.

Ar"chive (#), n.; pl. Archives (#). [F. archives, pl., L. archivum, archium, fr. Gr. government house, archives, fr. the first place, government. See Archi-, pref.]

1. pl.

The place in which public records or historic documents are kept.

Our words . . . . become records in God's court, and are laid up in his archives as witnesses. Gov. of Tongue.

2. pl.

Public records or documents preserved as evidence of facts; as, the archives of a country or family.

[Rarely used in sing.]

Some rotten archive, rummaged out of some seldom explored press. Lamb.

Syn. -- Registers; records; chronicles.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.