The Joseon Dynasty left behind the traces of its 472-year history from Taejo, the first king of Joseon, to Cheoljong, the twenty-fifth king. Documents produced in the royal court and drafts of history documents written by history officials were all collected by Joseon. Also, following the death of a king, a Sillokcheong (Office for Annals Compilation) was established to compile the records chronologically.
The compiled records were titled (○○ sillok (The Annals of King ○○ ) based on the king’s posthumous title, and the entire records concerning all the kings of Joseon are collectively called Joseon wangjo sillok (The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty)󰡕. These records are very massive, with 888 books divided into 1,894 volumes. This itself is impressive, but what is even more amazing is that the records regarding the names and roles of the compilers and compilation period, administrative records for the storage of the annals, and records of airing and drying the stored books in the sun have all been maintained. In addition, in order to maintain fairness and impartiality, the relevant law stipulated that the annals could not be viewed, unless for a very special reason, and even the kings could not read them. As such, Joseon was a state of records.