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The archives are institutions which keep the authentic heritage – documents and records that provide first-hand information. These records are closely connected to the events they refer to, not just as secondary reference but as the authentic and trustworthy traces of the past and events they document. Well kept, they enable users to achieve impartial insight to the course of the events and context in which they took place and to meet the role, intentions and achievements of the individuals, society groups and institutions that participated in them. Most of what we know about our past is drawn from archival material, so we could say that without archives neither our past nor the present would be the same.
By preserving unique written records from the past, archives contribute to the protection not only of the cultural and historical heritage, but also of the identity and basic values of the community to which they belong. The archival records were and still are preserved for protection of individual and collective rights and interests, but they have also gained enormous cultural importance over time. It is essential that archives provide to the public an immediate and reliable insight into the past to encourage research and to contribute to realization of basic values of democratic society – public rights, transparency and accountability.