The preservation of historical materials, in a variety of forms and formats, is both a cultural necessity and a central responsibility for professional archivists. Archivists need to define for themselves just what archival preservation entails and assess the capacity of the thousands of archives, large and small, scattered and isolated from each other, to develop and administer sophisticated preservation programs. The author presents the results of the first nationwide study of archival preservation practices in the United States. He describes a model of archival preservation that partially shaped the research project, summarizes the research process involved, reports the major findings, and discusses the implications of the research for archivists and the archival profession.

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