The holdings of each archive are arranged according to the so-called provenance principle (from Latin provenire, i.e. to arise). When applying this principle, it is assumed that it is agencies in organisations that generate documents and file them according to a fixed classification scheme. The archive therefore always forms a so-called holding from the documents accrued by an organisational unit, the order of which it adopts and retains whenever possible.
By applying the provenance principle, the archive avoids having to classify the archival records in complex classification systems such as library systems, i.e. working according to the principle of pertinence - a task which it usually cannot accomplish with its own limited personnel resources. At the same time, with this way of working, the archive avoids the problem of having to adapt the classification systems to the - from its point of view - fast-moving changes in those world views and questions on the basis of which these systems were developed, or even having to develop them anew due to new perspectives and questions. In addition, the archive will then no longer have to rearrange the archival records, which would only be possible with considerable effort each time.
As an archive user, you also benefit from the archive's work with the provenance principle. You get permanent, consistent access to the archive holdings. In addition, you receive information about the origin of the archival records, about the work of the submitting agency and about its history. However, this procedure of the archive requires you to abandon your expectations and habits of use, which have been shaped by the use of libraries or internet search engines, and to orientate yourself to the archive's classification structures.