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When you are interested in knowing a thing, sometimes, it is best to go straight to the source. This is why we collect links for our Reference and Archives directory. Archives are historical records that have been preserved for posterity and future use. Typically, they are the original, direct-from-the-source documents. This allows researchers to make their own analyses and evaluations of the documents and to draw their own conclusions. Sometimes, this results in radical new findings about the past. An archived document may be the only copy in existence, unlike other types of publications that can be accessed from multiple sources and locations. As a result, preservation is a prime mission of the archive, followed by making sure that researchers can gain easy access to the information that they need. Archives fall into one of a few categories, and we have created subdirectories to address some of these. For example, art may not be easily copied and distributed in its original format. An archive can help to keep art in a location where it can be found and studied. Historical documents, such as letters, legal actions, and constitutions, are also part of the archive system. The most famous organization in America for this purpose is the United States National Archives and Records Administration. While it is possible to make copies of such documents, archives preserve the history behind the paper: the hands that drafted world-changing words, the paper on which a mission is laid out, and so forth.
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