This paper examines the structure that can be brought to unstructured data by the use of certain archival descriptive and appraisal techniques. The author examines historical examples of twentieth century information explosion and delves into the methods used by records creators, information managers and archivists to deal with the issue. While generally unfavourable to vendor-linked document management strategies for giving structure to the disorganized materials on shared drives and other common access platforms, the paper suggests that current trends such as data analytics can be better understood if informational as well as evidential appraisal skills are added to information managers’ professional knowledge base. Of note is the idea that archivists are skilled in developing access points. Teaching records and information managers about techniques and tools like simple file directory structures and more complex subject heading authorities will lead to the kind of records management taxonomies that promote the easier processing of current unstructured materials as they make their way into archives. The author concludes by calling for closer collaboration between archivists and records managers – particularly in appraisal and descriptive techniques.