What archivists select for preservation largely determines the nature of their work and the role of their profession in society. Yet, the archival profession has much to do in developing appraisal theory and practice that cope effectively with modern documentation. This essay starts with the recently published report on the profession's goals and priorities, and proposes a research agenda that could strengthen archival appraisal and the profession's ability to document society. The authors suggest research projects to examine the nature of the documentary record, to determine the interrelatedness of archival records, to assess how to deal with the growing quantity of automated records, to relate the development of automated descriptive systems to appraisal, and to assess the quality of the documentary record. The authors also describe the potential value of documentation strategies in dealing with some of these appraisal concerns.

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