Archiving Definition

Information Types: Unstructured and Semi-structured

Archiving is the process of transferring information objects and artifacts and their metadata for long-term preservation and access. Information archived may have heritage or historical value, or may be required long-term for governance, regulatory compliance, legal protection and defense, as well as operational needs.

InfoBOK v1.0

Archiving Key Points

  1. Archiving is focused on information and artifacts requiring continued authenticity, usability, and integrity over successive generations of custodians and technologies.
  2. An Archive is an institution or repository that has accepted responsibility for the preservation and management of long-term information assets.
  3. Certified professional archivists and librarians typically perform duties associated with the appraisal, organization, description, accessioning, preservation of and access to physical and digital materials deemed to have long-term or permanent retention value.
  4. Archives exist at all levels in the public sector - federal/national, state and provincial and local government -- as well as in corporations, religious institutions, non-governmental (NGO) and not-for-profit organizations, cultural heritage institutions, and private collections.
  5. Terminology: Archiving refers to the discipline; Archives refers to the storage location; Archivist refers to the individual.

Archiving Overview

As we have marched forward with technological advances, it is easy to forget that Archiving preserves what our organizations are doing. Over time, without Archiving, information’s authenticity, usability, and integrity degrade. Archiving exists for the purposes of long-term preservation and works closely with Records Managers.

For people within the Information Profession who are not Archivists, there is generally no need to understand the full disciplinary knowledge of the Archivist which has incredible depth. The Archiving discipline’s body of knowledge includes storage requirements, preservation techniques (e.g. how to ensure minimal degradation of microfilm), and knowledge of both physical and electronic preservation - this is not necessary to most others outside of Archiving. It is important to understand  the organizational requirements to identify which information should be transferred to Archives (both physical and digital), how to involve Archiving when information must be transferred to Archives, where the Archives fit into organizational processes, where to access Archived information, and ensuring that Archivists’ feedback and knowledge is included in policy and planning decisions.

Not all organizations have Archiving. Smaller organizations tend to rely heavily on Records Managers to perform some of the functions of the Archivist. This means that some Records Managers must also include the knowledge of Archiving in their job duties.

Beyond Records Managers, Archiving may also be added to the duties of Librarians, Museum Curators, and/or Historians depending on the type of organization being served. For those who are serving as a “de-facto” Archivist, it is advisable to take a deep dive into the knowledge base of Archivists. Associations serving the Archiving discipline can assist with this knowledge base and can be found on the Disciplines page.

Additional Resources

(These additional resources are provided by the community and while we make every effort to ensure only high quality resources are included, we cannot guarantee the authenticity, safety, or quality of these resources. Proceed at your own risk.)

Why we need long-term thinking for long-term records (Preservica).
Shared by: Nick Inglis
Standards & Best Practices Resource Guide (Society of American Archivists).
Shared by: Nick Inglis
Submit New Resource

Professional Member Resources

Become a Professional Member to unlock these resources.

Keynote: Our Place In The Data Universe

David Brown, Archivist, United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)

Acquiring and utilizing data analytics and artificial intelligence technologies to better manage information. The goal is compliance, but the priority is to assist staff in managing information more efficiently and effectively to accomplish the agency’s mission.

Legacy Media: 12 Steps To A Path Forward – Donda Young & Michael Landau

This video is available to Standard or Professional Members.
Become a Standard Member for free or Login.

Most organizations have legacy media hiding in corners, dark alleys (Closets too) and floating around their organizational universe.

Only a small group of people have knowledge of it’s existence and may not own the data to plan for it’s ascension or final resting place.

Understanding what the data is and deciding on a path forward can be challenging for many.

Donda Young and Michael Landau provide 12 steps to a path forward and away from the risks and costs of legacy media.

What You Need to Know About PDF – Duff Johnson, PDF Association

This video is available to logged in Professional Members only.
Become a Professional Member or Login.

PDF is a foundational technology in the modern world of digital documents. PDF documents are everywhere, in almost every corner of every industry.

This session informs attendees about the information governance-related features of PDF, including the essential attributes of the format, standardization, governmental and industry adoption, and how PDF meets characteristic IG needs and use-cases such as metadata, authenticity, privacy, security and more.


  • PDF is unmatched in its ability to function as the electronic document of record.
  • PDF is accepted, growing… and there’s no alternative on the horizon.
  • PDF includes features and capabilities that bear on some of the most vexing problems affecting IG, but few know of or implement these things.
The Information Governance Conference 2018