Documents are created as a result of the administrative practices of the government agencies, and this makes them not an end in themselves but a means of preserving information. They are also important for information, as they are the intermediary carrier through which information can be made available for beneficiaries in a proper form and a timely manner.
Documents are used to organize the work and determine the procedures during their period of activation. Active documents are the ones that still legally determine or regulate an act. In other words, they are the documents that still in use. In the duration of their usage, the documents shall be subject to a specific regulation consistent with the prevailing regulations of the apparatus. This helps in achieving the documents’ objectives. It is not necessary that the organization of the documents during their usage be similar in all government agencies. We may find a difference in the way they are organized according to the circumstances of each agency, its capabilities, and the nature of the documentary material.
Assessment procedures are complex, as they are not codified according to fixed, specific criteria. Therefore, there are clear differences between countries, and hence, they are amongst the procedures that change according to the conditions and the needs. Documents assessment means determining their importance for the purposes of preservation and destruction. Through assessment methods, the specialists can determine the value of the documents be it administrative, financial, legal, archival, historical, etc.
The preservation phase is one of the most important phases in the documents cycle. It does not come without a good classification and arrangement system, as well as a proper place that meets safety and security requirements.
One of the most important aspects in the preservation phase is the existence of regulations that specify the chronological life of the documents, and the method of their preservation. These regulations are prepared periodically according to the contingency variables, and their development is subject to a number of considerations, the most important of which are:
Documents transformation means moving them from one place to the other, such as moving them from active preservation to inactive preservation, or from temporary preservation to permanent preservation. The document is specified as defined in the preservation regulations, their schedules and the transformation programs. This is from the producing department to the intermediary archival center (in the same agency) or to the center archives. The government agencies differ in the methods and styles of preservation. Some implement transformation procedures according to a fixed, specified approach, relying on one form. Others prefer to choose from many forms, and this method is called “periodic”, and it is characterized by complexity and difficulty, unlike the fixed method that is characterized by ease and clarity.