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Beyond Sampling: Returning to Macroappraisal for the Appraisal and Selection of Case Files


Case files are voluminous and present challenges to archivists, government departments, and other institutions that are charged with the responsibility of managing these records either throughout or at various stages of their life cycle. To date, archivists and records administrators, both in Canada and worldwide, have recognized the case file challenge and are rethinking solutions for dealing with this persistent problem. This article argues that by building on our cumulative knowledge acquired through years of applying macroappraisal and functional analysis to the appraisal of government records, and staking out a modern definition of “case file records” based on their transactional characteristics, we indeed do have the skills and the expertise to tackle the problem and develop a new solution for case file records. Rather than taking a piecemeal approach or relying on sampling techniques, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Case Files Appraisal Working Group (CFAWG) {Core members of CFAWG have included: Candace Loewen (original project leader), Margaret Dixon, Tina Lloyd, Paul Sabourin, and later Judith Roberts-Moore (as project co-ordinator acting for Candace Loewen). Ancillary members have included: Laura Madokoro, Danny Moore, Patty Anderson, and Don McGee.} demonstrates how to consistently make keep-destroy appraisal decisions for the disposition of operational case file records. {While this paper draws from my work and the work of others at Library and Archives Canada, this article contains my views and not those of Library and Archives Canada.}

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Correspondence to MARGARET J. DIXON.

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DIXON, M.J. Beyond Sampling: Returning to Macroappraisal for the Appraisal and Selection of Case Files. Arch Sci 5, 285–313 (2005).

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  • archival appraisal
  • case files
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • macroappraisal