Information technology systems produce data that is usually recorded or stored.  This information is used to make  strategic decisions to capitalize on  opportunities, and tactical decisions to improve efficiency.

As time passes on, some of the older recorded data becomes less useful in decision making and is accessed infrequently. In this case, we make an archive of this data.

Definition: An archive is a historical copy of information that is important to an organization.

Archives can be used to look back on past decision making, or to gain a better understanding of an organization’s history.

Computer output on microfilm and magnetic tape can be used for archival purposes.

File access

The data is usually stored onto the tape in the order it was exported from the original system, and may be to some extent in sequential form.

However, after many years the original system’s data structure may change and differs from the sequence on tape.

This means that when searching for a record for research purposes, all the data must be examined because the tape’s data structure may be forgotten or unknown; thus making it a serial access medium.

External Video

Archives in a business context:


Business Archives Council of Scotland


Creating Digital Archives


The British Library


updated 26th November 2022 – Added external Video section

(last updated 4th October 2019)

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