Archives have a long and interesting history across the world. Generally, the term “archive” refers to a collection of historical records selected for long-term preservation, or the actual physical space where the records are located.
Although many historical archives have been lost, records of archives exist from the ancient Chinese, Greeks, Romans. Archaeologists have even found clay tablets indicating archives from the third or second millennia BC. Modern archives were largely influenced by the French National Archives, created during the French Revolution in 1790. The French National Archives are still one of the largest archival collections in the world. They have records going back to 625 AD!
The main types of archives that exist today include academic, business, government, nonprofit, and more! In academia, The Harvard University Archives is the oldest and one of the largest academic archives in the United States with a record of more than 375 years at Harvard! Meanwhile, the United States’ National Archives was established by Congress in 1934 to preserve the government’s records. There are plenty more interesting examples of archives being essential resources in academic, corporate, and nonprofit spheres!
Since the early 1600s, the Oxford English Dictionary has defined “archive” as “a place in which public records or other important historic documents are kept.” However, thanks to technology, our archives aren’t limited to physical places! Many digital archives are appearing in academia and public history projects.
Unfortunately, not many non-academics or non-historians know how to take advantage of these technological opportunities to preserve their own lives and family histories. This is why LivesArchived has paired with the reputable non-profit archiving service, The Internet Archive. We’ve created an easy and accessible online website that also serves as an archive to save your documents forever. Now it is easy to become a part of the history of archiving!