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Acquisition activities are defined by the acquisition policy (9.03.2017, full text in English; updated 8.04.2021 in Estonian only as the principles remained unchanged). It specifies what is acquired by the National Archives and how does the National Archives acquire.

Specific details of acquisition of moving images (films and video recordings), photographs and sound recordings are described in Collection Policy of the Film Archive of the National Archives (29.03.2018, updated 18.06.2020).

Acquiring public records

Public records are created in the activities of institutions fulfilling public tasks, for example constitutional institutions, government institutions, institutions governed by government institutions, legal persons governed by public law, local governments, institutions governed by these, legal persons created for fulfilling public law functions.

Institutions which create documents of archival value, i.e. records, are obliged to transfer these records to the National Archives no later than 10 years after their creation irrespective of the data carrier.

Records of archival value can only be created in institutions described in the appraisal desicion of the National Archives (in Estonian).

Acquiring private bodies records

The National Archives pays attention to records created in the private and non-profit sector in order to describe the Estonian society in a more versatile way. The National Archives also deals with consulting private legal persons and collecting their records based on earlier collection traditions.

Some private bodies have been presented with a co-operation offer by the National Archives and there are ca 50 private institutions as our collecting sources.

Acquiring private persons records

The National Archives collects records of private persons, but the decision has to be made separately in each individual case – the public archives must appraise private persons’ records. Frequently museums are the more reasonable transfer locations for private persons’ single documents. On the occasion of transferring records, private persons have the right to establish access restrictions.