Archivists and Records Managers, part 7

In his presidential address at the 1965 SAA annual meeting, W. Kaye Lamb spoke about “The Changing Role of the Archivist.”  He spoke at length about the importance of good records management, including this praise:

“Our debt to the records managers is very great, in at least two respects. In the first place, it is they who are bringing order out of chaos in the handling of official papers and who have made possible the systematic retirement of files from which archival collections have benefited immensely. If we look about us and note the archival institutions in which the collections of official records are sparse or almost nonexistent, we find almost invariably that those institutions are in States or Provinces where there is no adequate records management program. Adequate selection and preservation are byproducts of good records management. . . . In the second place, the records managers have been of great assistance in establishing the vital point that adequate archival and records services have practical value and can make it possible for a government to function both more efficiently and more cheaply. The old conception of the archives as being nothing more than a haven for antiquarians is passing. Officials and scholars alike are becoming accustomed to the fact that people in our searchrooms are as likely to be using records and papers only a few years—or even a few months—old as those dating back a century or more. A better appreciation of what the archives can offer has resulted in more generous financial support—a change we owe, in many instances, to the work of the records managers.”


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