That’s not what you mean: Intro to Archives

Learning objectives

  • Students will be able to indefinity materials that are records from materials that do not have the quality of a record.
  • Students will be able to explain why some records are archival and others are not.


As a new archivist at Comstock University, you have been tasked to work on a few things during your first day. This first-day task includes reviewing some materials sent over from a history professor’s office. The note on the top of the box says, “This is all archival”. You need to see if that note is actually correct. The materials you find include:

  • Wendy’s receipt from two years ago. There’s a slight frosty stain on the lower edge.
  • A promotion and tenure binder for the professor. This includes annual evaluations, student feedback, and other materials.
  • A sticky note saying call MEL.
  • A draft of a novel that seems to have never been published. The novel is called “Waiting For Foucault”
  • Faculty meeting notes
  • A floppy disk that is unlabeled


  • Determine which of these materials are records and why they are records.
  • Of the materials that are records, explain why they may be or not be archival.

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