Weeding is used to get rid of non-records (binders, folders, post-it notes, etc.), redundant records (i.e. form letters where we only need to preserve one), and misidentified records in archival collections. Archivists use their authority to weed as a collection management tool to best utilize resources, particularly physical storage and digital space. Archives RIM specialists add the phrase “with authority to weed” to most retention schedules for records coming to Archives. These retention schedules are signed by the chief administrative officer of each record-creating agency and approved by the Records Management Committee, so there is a clear path of authority for our archivists to weed out non-archival materials from the collections we are tasked with preserving and providing access to.
Recently, Heidi found this broken and empty three-ring binder in a box of records. A perfect example of something that we have the authority to weed.