The authors visited the Soviet Union in October 1989 in accordance with an agreement between the Main Archival Administration of the USSR Council of Ministers and the Commission on Soviet-American Archival Cooperation of the American Council of Learned Societies. They discuss the appraisal and accessioning practices of Soviet archives, focusing on the roles of various institutions, including the Main Archival Administration, All-Union Scientific Research Institute, expert appraisal commissions, state archives, and agency archives. The authors also describe new directions in the appraisal area resulting in part from glasnost and perestroika, including changes in the definition of historical value, greater variety in the sources for archives, concerns about new types of audiovisual and electronic records, and efforts to reduce the bulk of records.

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