Archives and Records Management Resources

Archives and Records Management Resources

the next glossary, produced by the then National Archives and Records provider in 1984 for a contemporary Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice, is supplied with this site being a help to people new to common archival terms. These definitions aren’t lawfully binding and don’t express NARA policy. The updated and much more comprehensive A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers, published by Lewis J. Bellardo and Lynn Lady Bellardo, ended up being posted in 1992 and will be bought through the community of American Archivists.

Archival terminology is a versatile set of typical terms which have obtained specialized meanings for archivists. Since World War II, archivists global have actually dedicated considerable focus on the meaning among these terms. In 1964, a lexicon that is international of terminology had been posted. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the task of a committee associated with the International Council on Archives, provides a foundation for worldwide contrast of archival terms.

The Society of American Archivists published its glossary that is own of terms in 1974 after a long period of debate, drafting, and review. (2) Definitions within the SAA glossary were commonly accepted since the foundation for conversation of archival terminology in the united states and also been the starting place for subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since book associated with the SAA glossary, but, numerous archivists have actually determined that a number of its definitions need revision and therefore additional terms must certanly be included. Teachers of archives management and writers of fundamental archival texts, consequently, allow us their glossaries that are own revise, up-date, or expand the 1974 work. At the moment, no glossary that is single of terms can be viewed definitive. (3)

Probably the most commonly used archival terms are the ones that describe documentary materials and institutions that are archival. Documentary materials could be characterized as “records,” “personal documents,” or “artificial collections” on such basis as whom created and maintained the papers and for exactly just exactly what function. (4) reports are papers in just about any type which are made or gotten and maintained by a business, whether federal government agency, church, business, college, or any other organization. A company’s documents typically might add copies of letters, memoranda, reports, reports, photographs, along with other materials generated by the company along with incoming letters, reports received, memoranda off their workplaces, as well as other papers maintained when you look at the company’s files.

In comparison to records, individual documents are made or gotten and maintained by a person or household along the way of residing. Diaries, news clippings, individual economic documents, photographs, communication received, and copies of letters written and delivered because of the person or family members are one of the materials typically present individual papers.

Typically, documents and individual documents have already been considered distinct entities, each with obviously characteristics that are definable. Within the twentieth century, the real characteristics of documents and individual documents have grown to be more alike, nevertheless, and archivists increasingly have actually emphasized the similarities between these materials as opposed to their distinctions. (5) In specific, today’s archivists notice that both records and papers that are personal figures of interrelated materials which were brought together due to their function or use. Archivists respect and look for to keep the established relationships between singular items in categories of documents plus in individual documents. (6)

Synthetic collections are basically various both from documents and from personal documents. In place of being accumulations that are natural synthetic collections are comprised of singular items purposefully put together from a number of sources. Because synthetic collections comprise papers from many sources, archivists may elect to improve founded relationships so that you can enhance control or access.

Archival organizations are termed either “archives” or “manuscript repositories” based on the types of documentary material they contain and just how it really is obtained. “Archives” traditionally have now been those organizations in charge of the care that is long-term of historical documents regarding the company or organization of which they are a component. (7) numerous archives are general general public organizations accountable for the documents of continuing worth of a federal federal government or body that is governmental. The National Archives associated with united states of america plus the Public Archives of Canada are types of general public archives during the level that is national. Public archives additionally can be available at every single other degree of federal government, including state or province, county, and municipal amounts. Nonpublic or nongovernmental archives worry for the documents of every other company or company of that they are a component. Church archives, for instance, administer the historic documents of the spiritual denomination or congregation. University archives have the effect of documents of this college’s management. Archives get historical product through the action of legislation or through internal institutional regulation or policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival organizations primarily in charge of individual documents, artificial collections, and documents of other businesses. Manuscript repositories purchase or look for contributions of materials to that they don’t have any necessary right. They consequently must report the transfer of materials by deed of present or by other contract that is legal.

The distinctions between archives and manuscript repositories could be exactly stated, yet few archival institutions are merely “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Many archives hold some individual documents or records of other companies. Perhaps the National Archives associated with united states of america accounts for a group that is small of individual documents and nongovernment documents. Likewise, many manuscript repositories serve as the archives of one’s own organizations. In recognition with this, the word “archives” slowly has obtained wider meaning for many archivists and it is employed by them in mention of any institution that is archival. This trend happens to be accelerated by way of your message “archives” or “archive” within the names of some organizations that in yesteryear may have been termed “manuscript repositories.” (8)

Modern archival terminology provides a necessary and useful way of specialized communication inside the archival occupation. Its terms may be accurate adequate to protect crucial distinctions among kinds of materials and archival organizations, yet its usage may also be adequately versatile to mirror the nature that is changing of materials and developments when you look at the administration of archival organizations. Since the archival career grows and matures so that as new technologies and documents news affect the practice of archives management, both the accuracy and freedom of archival terminology will turn out to be of continuing advantage to archivists.


This glossary of widely used terms that are archival situated in part on and attracts a few definitions from “A Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers,” published by Frank B. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson (The United states Archivist 37 July 1974: 415-433). The glossary includes many essential archival terms with specific definitions. Terms which are adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, documents administration, and conservation terms; and terms associated with automatic data processing are not included.

ACCESS The archival term for authority to have information from or even perform research in archival materials.

ACCESSION (v.) To move real and appropriate custody of documentary materials to an archival institution. (letter.) Materials used in an archival institution in a solitary accessioning action.

ACCRETION An addition to an accession.

PURCHASE The process of determining and acquiring, by contribution or purchase, historic materials from sources outside the archival organization.

ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE the worth of documents for the ongoing business for the agency of documents creation or its successor in function.

APPRAISAL The process of determining whether documentary materials have actually enough value to justify purchase by the institution that is archival.

ARCHIVAL ORGANIZATION an organization keeping appropriate and physical custody of noncurrent documentary materials determined to have permanent or continuing value. Archives and manuscript repositories are archival organizations.

ARCHIVAL VALUE The value of documentary materials for continuing preservation within an institution that is archival.

ARCHIVES (1) The noncurrent documents of an institution or organization preserved for their continuing value. (2) The agency accountable for choosing, preserving, and making available documents determined to own permanent or continuing value. (3) The building by which an archival organization is based.

ARCHIVES ADMINISTRATION The expert handling of an archival organization through application of archival concepts and strategies.

ARCHIVIST The staff that is professional in a archival institution accountable for any facet of the selection, preservation, or usage of archival materials.

ARRANGEMENT The process that is archival of documentary materials according to archival concepts.

GATHERING POLICY A policy founded by the institution that is archival subject matter, schedules, and platforms of materials to find for contribution or purchase.

COLLECTION (1) a synthetic accumulation of materials specialized in a solitary theme, individual, occasion, or sort of document obtained from a number of sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human body of historic materials associated with a person, household, or company.

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT The process to build an organization’s holdings of historic materials through purchase tasks.

CONTINUOUS CUSTODY (1) In modern U.S. use, the archival principle that to ensure archival integrity, archival materials should either be retained because of the producing organization or transferred straight to an institution that is archival. (2) In British use, the concept that noncurrent documents needs to be retained by the organization that is creating its successor in function to be viewed archival.

CUBIC FEET (or METERS) a measure that is standard of amount of archival materials in line with the amount of room they occupy.

DEED OF PRESENT a document that is legal contribution of documentary materials to an archival organization through transfer of title.

DEPOSIT CONTRACT A legal document supplying for deposit of historic materials in real custody of an archival organization while legal title towards the materials is retained because of the donor.

DESCRIPTION the entire process of developing intellectual control of holdings of a archival organization through planning of finding aids.

DISPOSITION The action that is final sets into impact the outcomes of an assessment choice for a number of documents. Transfer to an archival organization, transfer to a documents center, and destruction are among possible dispositions.

DISPOSITION SCHEDULE guidelines retention that is governing disposition of present and noncurrent recurring documents a number of an company or agency. Also known as a RECORDS CONTROL SCHEDULE.

REPORT Recorded information irrespective of type or medium with three fundamental elements: base, impression, and message.

DONATED HISTORICAL MATERIALS historic materials transported to an archival organization through a donor’s gift as opposed to in conformity with legislation or legislation.

EVIDENTIAL VALUE the worth of documents or documents as paperwork associated with operations and tasks regarding the records-creating company, organization, or specific.

FIELD WORK The activity of distinguishing, negotiating for, and securing historical materials for an archival institution.

CHOOSING AID A description from any supply providing you with information regarding the articles and nature of documentary materials.

HOLDINGS All materials that are documentary the custody of an archival organization including both accessioned and deposited materials.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE The value of documents or documents for information they have on people, places, topics, and things except that the procedure associated with company that created them or the tasks for the family or individual that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The term that is archival those characteristics and traits of completely valuable documents which make the documents inside their initial real form truly the only archivally acceptable form associated with the documents.

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