Purpose of this study
14. The purpose of this report is to offer guidelines for archivists for the appraisal of records containing personal information. Guidelines are to give general guidance, not definitive solutions. They are intended to set directions, to provide a theoretical framework for approaching this difficult appraisal issue, and to focus thinking on an interim basis. It is recognized that concrete solutions or fixed rules for many of the issues concerning the appraisal of records containing personal information may only be achieved at some future date. In the first instance, appraisal of any sort of record series, let alone those containing personal information, is a subjective activity, there being no absolute, "scientific" answers. Appraisal is often choosing the best of several bad alternatives. And secondly, individual national situations will colour the application of these guidelines, in light of the indigenous nature of particular kinds of records and their creators, as well as national traditions for the development and use of archives, although, ideally, sound archival theoretical frameworks and principles should transcend such factors. Nevertheless, despite these qualifications, it is intended that these guidelines will not only aid archivists in the interim to deal with a difficult problem, but also set a path towards more permanent solutions as these guidelines are tested and then revised in the light of practical experience.