Archival Science

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 163-184

First online:

Some Functions are More Equal than Others: The Development of a Macroappraisal Strategy for the National Archives of Australia

  • Adrian CunninghamAffiliated withNational Archives of Australia Email author 
  • , Robyn OswaldAffiliated withDepartment of Family and Community Services, Community Policy and Research Section

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In 1999–2000 the National Archives of Australia (NAA) adopted a functions-based approach to appraisal. Since that time functional appraisal projects have for the most part been conducted in cooperation with individual agencies. What has been missing is a broad whole-of-government or macroappraisal framework which might assist with the strategic prioritisation of projects, the allocation of resources and the identification of high-value functions, activities and record classes. This article describes a project commenced by the NAA during 2003–2004 to research and develop a functions-based macroappraisal framework for current and prospective appraisal and for retrospective application to records of the past 30 years of the Australian Government. The article compares the Australian approach with macroappraisal strategies pursued in Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa.


macroappraisal archival appraisal National Archives of Australia functional analysis standards