Although acknowledged as an essential archival function, appraisal is a complex process that is not fully understood. The authors examine the premises from which T.R. Schellenberg derived many of the practices used to appraise modern records and identify some problems in the widespread use of his approach. As an alternative, they offer a model comprised of the elements that should be considered when making an appraisal decision. Three interrelated categories of elements are discussed: value-of-information, costs-of-retention, and implications-of-the-appraisal-recommendations. While the focus is upon the appraisal of university administrative records, this model represents another step toward the development of a more systematic understanding of the entire appraisal process.

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