The history of European archives or the development of the European archival profession can only be discussed superficially as single entities. Nevertheless, there is a tendency recently to harmonize European archival legislation and practices, if not to unify them. The author discusses the genesis and history of the evolution of archival theory and practice in the major European countries through the creation of the great archival repositories, the birth of archival science, and the development of modern archives. He ends the article with an overview of current archival evolution in Europe and suggests the areas in which archival harmonization is likely to be most successful.

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