An archive is a group of documents or a collection of historical records which have been accumulated, preserved and stored over the course of an individual or organization’s lifetime. The study and practice of organizing, storing, and providing access to information and materials in archives is called archival science and an individual working in archives is called an archivist. An archive also refers to the location in which these records are kept. Archives concerning an individual may comprise of letters, papers, photographs, computer files, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries or any such forms of documentary materials in any media or format created or collected by the individual. On the other hand, archives concerning an organization, corporation or government encompasses a variety of records, including administrative files, business records, memos, official correspondence, meeting minutes, and such other historic data.
Archives are of great use to researches due to their enduring research value. Usually, archival records are not published and are mostly unique, unlike books or magazines. Although archival data can be found within libraries, they are quite distinct from the functional and organizational structure of libraries. The Archive can be probed remotely and all messages matching a particular query can be easily and quickly retrieved.
Computer systems have the ability to store and copy files on a long-term storage medium, which has two layers of backup, the first of which is a disk drive. These files are packaged together for backup, to transport to some other location, for saving away from the computer so that more hard disk storage can be made available, or for some other purpose. From time to time, the computer operator will archive files on the disk to a second storage device, such as a tape drive or directory, or a file that contains one or more files in a compressed format.
There are many different types of archives like Academic Archives, Business (For Profit) Archives and Government Archives. Academic archives can be found in the libraries of colleges, universities, or other educational facilities and usually contain papers of former professors and presidents, memorabilia related to school organizations and activities. Business or corporate archives are owned by private businesses and contain historic documents and items related to the history of their companies. These help corporations in maintaining their brand image by retaining memories of the company’s past. Government archives are maintained by institutions run on a local, state level or national government. These archives are mostly used by reporters, genealogists, writers, historians, students, and others looking for additional information on the history of any particular region.
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