Archiving Revolution: Historical Records Management in the Massachusetts Courts

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The lengthy history of the Massachusetts courts and their establishment as courts of record means that their records of proceedings contain a wealth of information about the development and growth of the colony as part of a nascent United States. Although Massachusetts’ courts are much older than the Federal Court of Australia, they have confronted similar issues in terms of records retention and the vexed question of what constitutes a ‘significant’ record that requires permanent retention. However, through a process of determining historical context, sampling and inspection, the Supreme Judicial Court found that a definition of ‘significance’ was largely unnecessary. This chapter provides an overview of the origins of the Superior Courts’ approach. It suggests that there are elements of the Massachusetts courts’ experience in the development, implementation and maintenance of court records may be valuable in approaching similar superior courts’ collections in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Court as Archive
EditorsAnn Genovese, Trish Luker, Kim Rubenstein
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherANU E Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781760462710
ISBN (Print)9781760462703
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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