Magical trip of documents from the place of creation to the researchers' hands

Documents are created because of the practical need of a state or private institution, family or individual to ensure the regular execution of their activities. After a number of years, they lose their value in the business operation of their creator or, in the case of institutions, if the institution itself ceases to exist. This is when the documents are given to the archives, which are in charge of their storage.

Even before they arrive at the archives, documents are in the care of a service for the monitoring and protection of documents outside the archives, which is in charge of monitoring the work of institutions where the documents are created. It takes over documents, evaluates them initially and gives them to the storeroom service. This service keeps a register of the holdings and makes them available to the interested public, takes care of the technical protection of documents (protection from humidity, fire, living organisms that destroy archival documents, from theft and deliberate damaging).

Before they reach the public, documents go through a service for the organization and processing of archival documents and their further destiny largely depends on the service’s work. The key task of this service is to evaluate the documents, i.e. to determine their value for the culture and science of a society. This is a great responsibility, because whether the documents will be preserved for future generations or be discarded as worthless material depends on the assessment and primarily on the value of the contents of the documents.

The evaluated material is classified under specific rules, i.e. it is organized in such a way as to ensure that it is easy to inspect and made available to end users. Means of information are being made through which researchers can be informed about the type of documents kept in an archival fund and about the developments, events, people, territories and institutions that are mentioned in documents. This is also done by the service for the organization and processing of archival documents, after which the documents of the institution mentioned at the beginning of the story are returned to the safekeeping service, i.e. the storeroom, which makes them available to the public according to a predetermined procedure.

There would be no point in the described path of documents, from the place of origin to the hands of researchers if the public were not informed about the work of the archives. Competent services offer notifications about the contents of the archival funds, publish compilations of documents, organize exhibitions of the archival material, courses, lectures, etc.

Documents go a long way from their creators in the institution of origin to the reader in the archives and this trip can sometimes last several decades. In this period documents are frequently exposed to an unsuitable climate, kept in inappropriate rooms, they go through the hands of numerous people who are sometimes not careful enough. Paper, as an organic material, is affected by time even when it is kept under ideal circumstances. Many documents therefore suffer physical damages or are attacked by different parasites (bacterial, fungi or rodents). The service for the conservation and restoration of archival holdings takes care of the damaged and "ailing" documents.

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