The Usefulness and The Uselessness of Archives

Yongsheng Chen and Huanning Su


This is a theory research paper, the paper uses dialectical methods to discuss the relationships between the usefulness and the uselessness of archives. The usefulness means the values of archives, while the uselessness means the low utilization of archives. The usefulness and the uselessness of archives contains two meanings. First, it means the different values of archives, which is a judgment about the usefulness of archives from people; Second, it means whether archives are used by people, that is to say the using situation of archives. The two meanings are corresponding, because the valuable archives will be used after all; however, the two meanings are not corresponding because the using in the long run not means the using at the moment or always using. The relationships between the two meanings make the using of archives brilliant and interesting, for it is hard for people to make the boundary of the usefulness and uselessness of archives clear. Because some archives in high value are hardly used while some archives in low value are always used. This phenomenon gives us a good inspiration: the usefulness and uselessness of archives are not depended on the conditions here and now. Preserving the valuable archives is a kind of anticipation from people, it makes us always have hope, which is the charm of the archives and archival work.


Yongsheng Chen, is the professor and doctoral supervisor of School of Information Management in Sun Yat-sen University. He is also the Vice President of the Guangdong Archival Science Society, the President of Research Institute of Archival Science and Technology, the member of Archival Teaching Instruction Committee and so on. He was promoted to lecturer in 1988, became an associate professor in 1992, and was promoted to professor in 1994. For his speedier progress, he was called the youngest professor of China Archival Science at that time.

His main research areas are basic theories of Archival Science, and the management of archives. He got a lot of research achievements from monographs to research papers to research projects. He has published 8 books in total, more than 160 papers about the using of archives, the electronic records management, the basic theories and learning methods of Archival Science and so on, and presided over 24 research projects from University, Guangdong province, nation and companies, which refer to many areas such as the management, digitization, using of archives, the systems of electronic records management, etc. Besides, he has received more than 20 research and teaching awards such as the First prize of Philosophy and Social Sciences Outstanding Achievement from Guangdong province for twice, the second prize of Excellent Science and Technology Achievement Award of China, the first prize of Outstanding Achievement from the Society of Chinese Archival Science for twice and so on.

Huanning Su, is a student studying for a Library Science doctor’s degree in School of Information Management in Sun yat-sen University. She has gotten a bachelor’s degree of the Management for Archival Science in the same university in 2015. For research achievements, she has published 7 research papers, 6 of which were series called Records Management in E-government System have published with other authors in the Chinese core archival journal Archives Science Study. As a project manager, she is holding a research project of the Guangdong provincial archive called Single-Track Management Research of Electronic Records. Besides that, she participated in 5 research projects about the E-government and the informatization of archives directed by her supervisor. She has gotten National Scholarship of China,and the first grade scholarship of Sun Yat-sen University for twice. Her research areas are the E-government and the management of electronic records.