This course examines the archivist's `first' responsibility - the appraisal of records for long-term preservation. Appraisal is first in the sequence of archival functions and, therefore, influences all subsequent archival activities. Importantly, appraisal is integral in archiving as, through it, archivists determine what sliver of the total human documentary production will actually become `archives' and thus part of society's historical narrative and collective memory. By performing appraisal and selection, archivists are thereby actively shaping the future's history of our times. Topics covered in this course include Historical Foundations, Key Ideas, and Debates in Appraisal; Appraisal Methods and Strategies; Appraisal for Specific Formats and Genres; and Issues Relating to Appraisal, Democratization, Ethics, and Social Justice. Course readings, assignments, lectures, and discussions will provide students with a thorough knowledge of the basic theories, strategies, professional practices and discourses concerning appraisal with an orientation to doing this job well as working archivists. This is a reading intensive course. Students are expected to attend all classes, do all assigned readings, and participate in in-class and online discussions. Discussions are an integral part of this class as we make sense of our readings and everyday practices together. Participation is absolutely necessary for success. Students are encouraged to integrate relevant prior classroom learning, and personal, professional, and research experiences and reflect upon how these might be utilized or translated in order to work with communities, their archives, and archival materials.