Acquisition is one of the core tasks of an archivist. Under the "State Archives Act" (Landesarchivgesetz) the Landesarchiv advises government agencies, courts of law and other institutions of the Land Baden-Württemberg on best practice in records management as well as selecting those that will be kept in perpetuity. All documents such as files, photos, audiovisual and electronic records that are kept must either be of enduring historical value for the Land or be important for the protection of the rights of the ordinary citizen or they must provide information for the government, administration or courts of law.
Appraisal means analysis and assessment of a record according to comprehensible criteria. The objective of appraisal is to secure a document, which makes the work of the administration understandable and which gives valuable information relevant for society as a whole. The "selection criteria" (Auswahlkriterien) are strict and are constantly evaluated. New appraisal methods for the relevant administration departments are permanently developed. Thus the appraisal process is made more efficient and transparent. The yearly accession comprises about 1500 meters of shelving. This is only five per cent of the documents which are created by the Land. The other records are destroyed after the retention period is over.
Until 1980 each State Archives in Baden-Württemberg had its own appraisal standards. In the same year a board was established with the objective to find a common appraisal and acquisition policy for all Archives in the Land. This acquisition policy team referred to as "Arbeitsgruppe Überlieferungsbildung" (AGÜ) meets twice a year and has succeeded in solving many problems. When in the 1990s the "Guidelines to vertical and horizontal appraisal" were introduced in the State Archives many of the other Archives followed suit. Thus acquisition in more than one Archives could be avoided.
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