The literature of a profession—or the quality of its theory, research on that theory, and the dissemination of that research—is one indication of a profession's health and vitality. Fortunately, American archival literature has shown steady and considerable improvement over the years, but archivists still must grapple with some serious problems challenging their literature; more importantly, the archival profession's future partly depends on the resolution of problems such as those that affect its literature. This essay reviews the history of archival writing in the United States, analyzes the development of this literature, evaluates obstacles to archival research and publication, and recommends actions for the improvement of the literature.

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