In the never-ending quest to preserve the government’s history, there have been plenty of weapons of mass destruction.

Before delete keys on computers, there were paper shredders, erase buttons on tape recorders and trash cans.

The current dust-up over access to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails as secretary of state is causing historians and government record-keepers to take stock of what may be a best-of-times, worst-of-times moment for saving government records.