chapter  16
3 Pages

Conclusion

The value of the historical perspective
ByPaul Delsalle

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in this book. The book discusses the archival practices encompassed, though with greater or lesser emphasis, a range of preoccupations: preservation, acquisition, dissemination, appraisal and even with the creation of records. Any history of archival practice also clearly demonstrates that the archivist has always been involved with, indeed often integrated within, the administrative function responsible for the original creation of the document. At the same time, concepts such as respect des fonds and the principle of provenance, along with the need to manage documents in bulk, are aspects of archival practice which were in evidence from earliest antiquity and remain valid. Traditional periodicisations render any attempt to draw universally valuable conclusions across civilisations problematic. When Umayyad Damascus was at the height of its power in the seventh century, or that of the Abbasids of Baghdad between the eighth and ninth centuries, much of Europe was not far removed from barbarism.