Definitions of Archives – 2

Archives: and their importance.

In Archives, the various archival materials are generated during the course of administration of the state as well as central government. In India, there is a tremendous growth of Archival information. The rich information needs to be processed very systematically so that the needy person could access it very easily and quickly as and when they require. It is a store-house of the heritage of human beings. It holds the records of events of various social formation and evolution of human civilization.

The records describes the position and status of different communities of people and the prevalence of different social customs and system like castes, sati, widowhood, child marriage, female infanticide, devadasi system, dress, ornaments and food habits. Besides, the Archives gives information on a number of communal conflicts such as right and left hand conflicts, religious conflicts between hindu-muslim, hindu-christian and so on.

The Archives are the raw material to the administration for finding out the measures taken by previous administrators to suppress the communal conflicts. In many caste conflicts former traditional enemity would manifest itself in a new form. In such cases, the records of the Archives indicate the previous position of the caste and their relation with adjoining communities.

Records are an important heritage of any nation. It is our national responsibility to preserve these records. Records are a prelude for our next generation to obtain their past knowledge and to learn from it. Along with, record preservation is important for the proper instigation of administration. Records are the manifestation of our civilization. It is a written evidence of personal and public activities of general public. Records consist of the cultural heritage of society, the progeny as well as the ideal of democracy and freedom.

Records are a tangible form of any civilization. Its preservation and care implies the preservation and care of the cultural heritage of humanity. We conserve our records for our coming generation. The fluctuation of our society, institutions and life alongwith the knowledge of history laid a foundation of vigorous predestined progress. We cannot obtain the knowledge of our past as long as we do not analyse and evaluate the data related to the previous history and conserve them for the existing public and for the coming generation. Record consists most of the information which are related to administration, Economic and social matters.

Though their beginning starts during the administrative functions therefore the kept information are always true without any prejudice and partiality. For fostering democratic control, the administrative records are very important. Records are a written evidence of people’s personal and public activities. In modern times, not only the number of records has increased moreover their different forms came into existence. The invention of Audio-Video records are the gift of this era. Due to the administrative rigidity, the importance of records had increased for sound administration.

Moreover, it is an important organ of our cultural heritage. Record acquire an important place for providing source material for historiography. Record includes documents, roles, files, microfilm, photograph, chart, map and tapes etc. Only those records are preserved and conserved in the archives, which are thirty years old and they are important as well as useful for administrative and historical point of view.

Archival organizations originated when people began to realize the importance of preserving there information for future use. At the outset, men stored there memory in hand-writing materials like rocks, earthen plates, metal plates and later by light items like palm leaves, papyrus and parchment till the invention of paper as a cheap and chief writing material. Early creators of records were King, Saints, Businessmen and literanians who produced records related to administration, religion, business and ordinary matters respectively.

It is known that before writing was invented, records were kept by signs, drawing, pictures or

engravings on a variety of materials like clay, wood, stone, rocks, walls. Caves, leaves or animals skin. The system of recording ideas and incidents changed with the progress of civilization as alphabets and writing materials proper were introduced. The older the civilization of people, the more interesting should be the history of record management of that country; and India being one of the ancient countries, it may be normally expected that the history of her record administration would be illuminating.

It would have been so, had the valuable collection of record and manuscripts built by bits through ages survived firstly the vandalism (damage of works of art or other property) of the invaders of India and second natural calamities like flood, famine, forced migration, fire, humanity and white ants. Again, whatever survived such havocs were either concealed as family assets or taken away beyond the shore of this country.


  • Raju, A.A.N. (2008) State of conservation and preservation of documents in public libraries. In: Ramaih, L.S.& Sujatha, G. (eds.). Preservation of library, archival and digital documents: Problems and perspective. New Delhi: Ess Ess Publication.
  • Prasad, Dr.Lalta, Abhilekhagar parichay, Rajya Abhilekhagar, Uttranchal, Dehradu.
  • Raj, Dr.M.Sundara,: Manual of Archival system and the world of Archives.
  • Ghose, Sailen, Archives in India, Calcutta 1963.
  • Murthy, T.A.V & Chary, M.K., Information Technology Application in Archives.
  • Colliers Encyclopaedia Macmillan Educational Company, Newyork, Vol-2, 1982.
  • The Dutch title of the original book is “Han Leiding voor hot ordenon on Beschrijvan Von Archieven”. It is published in 1898 and was translated into English by an American Archivist Arthur H. Leavitt.
  • Jenkinson, Hillary, Manual of Archives administration.