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Government Records Appraisal and Disposition Program

Library and Archives Canada is charged with various responsibilities regarding the disposition of information created by federal institutions in support of public policy, administration of government and program delivery.

Preserving the Archival and Historical Memory of Government
To fulfill its mission to preserve government's historical memory, Library and Archives Canada must make decisions about the archival or historical value of the information created and maintained by government institutions. This document discusses the strategies and decision process involved in selecting and preserving information of national importance.

Program Synopsis
An overview of the Government Records Appraisal and Disposition Program.

Appraisal Methodology: Macro-Appraisal and Functional Analysis

Part A: Concepts and Theory
An appraisal rationale and methodology for archivists to encourage greater intellectual consistency in records disposition decision-making and in the logic of its explanation and presentation in Appraisal Reports (AR).

Part B: Guidelines for Performing an Archival Appraisal on Government Records
Guidelines for archivists to follow in order to conduct individual appraisal projects, including provision of the elements of an appropriate appraisal research agenda and the basic methodological steps which can be utilized to make records disposition decisions within Library and Archives Canada's context of macro-appraisal.

Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities and Supporting Documentation
Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities (MIDAs) are issued by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada to provide direction to government institutions subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act regarding the disposal of records common to all or a multiple number of government institutions.

The Records Disposition Authorities Control System (RDACS) - coming soon
The Records Disposition Authorities Control System (RDACS) is an information system that contains summary descriptions of Records Disposition Authorities granted by the Librarian and Archivist to federal institutions, as well as online copies of relevant documentation. It includes descriptions of more than 2,200 authorities. Library and Archives Canada is currently working towards making the system available to the public.

Librarian and Archivist's Speech: The Fine Art of Destruction
The sheer bulk of modern records makes destruction inescapable. The extent and cost of storage space in which to retain them all would be prohibitive. The difficulty is to decide wisely and well what shall be destroyed and what shall be retained.
(W. Kaye Lamb, "The Fine Art of Destruction", in Albert E.J. Hollaender (ed), Essays in the Memory of Sir Hilary Jenkinson (Chichester: Printed for the Society of Archivists by Moore and Tillyer, 1962), 50-51.)

Guidelines for the Transfer of Textual Archival Records to Library and Archives Canada [PDF 85 KB]
Guidance for federal institutions on how to prepare records for transfer to the custody of Library and Archives Canada, Government Archives Division.

Process for the Consultation of Textual Records Subject to the Access to Information and Privacy Acts by Government Researchers
The process by which a federal employee may consult textual government records that are held in Library and Archives Canada's holdings.

Guidelines For Records Created Under a Public Key Infrastructure Using Encryption And Digital Signatures
Explains Library and Archives Canada's position on, and offers guidance to institutions in, the management and disposal of records created under a Public Key Infrastructure using encryption and digital signatures.