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Statement of Principles

New York’s historical records are an invaluable cultural resource to the people of the state and nation. They provide information about the people, institutions, communities, and governments of a state that has often served as a bellwether in the development of this country. 

New York was a major port of entry for immigrants to the United States, and today people of extraordinary cultural diversity call the state home. A seedbed for major social movements and a leader in the development of agriculture, culture, public policy, business, and industry, New York has an historical significance that stretches beyond its borders and continues to influence the life of the Nation. 

Studying the record of the past enables us to better understand the present and plan more intelligently for the future. Historians, public policy analysts, sociologists, scientists, demographers, folklorists, genealogists, and teachers as well as students, community leaders, and interested citizens all draw on historical records. 

Government records also have immediate, practical value for New Yorkers. They document legal rights and responsibilities and provide essential information on the State’s infrastructure and programs. Government records are essential for researching current issues, providing continuity for government administration, measuring the effectiveness of programs, and ensuring the accountability of public officials. 

Therefore, the Board encourages sound programs for the identification, preservation, management, and use of historical records.