Archives are witnesses to the past. They provide evidence, explanation and justification both for past actions and current decisions.
Archives enable society to undertake a wide range of roles that enable civilised communities to take root and flourish, from enabling education and research, providing entertainment and leisure, to protecting human rights and confirming identity. Archives are unique, contemporaneous records and so once lost cannot be replaced. It is only through proper identification, care and wide access that the vital role that archives has can be fully realised to the benefit of humanity.
Archives and good governance
Good archives management is not just about storing records for history and research. Archives are central to good governance.
Archives and records are the tools by which governments can make themselves accountable and demonstrate their democratic credentials. Well-managed archives and records are the means by which a country can understand the who, when, where, how and why of government actions. They enable the delivery of human rights and the ability for a government to explain and defend its actions. Good management also ensures efficient, timely government.