Archives and Records Management Resources

Archives and Records Management Resources

Listed here 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 internet site being a help to individuals new to common archival terms. These definitions aren’t legitimately binding plus 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 might be bought through the community of American Archivists.

Archival terminology is a group that is flexible of terms which have obtained specialized definitions for archivists. Since World War II, archivists global have actually devoted attention that is considerable this is of those terms. In 1964, a worldwide lexicon of archival terminology ended up being posted. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the job of a committee associated with Global Council on Archives, provides a foundation for worldwide contrast of archival terms.

The community of American Archivists published its glossary that is own of terms in 1974 after many years of debate, drafting, and review. (2) Definitions when you look at the SAA glossary have now been commonly accepted once the basis for conversation of archival terminology in united states and have now been the point that is starting subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since publication for the SAA glossary, but, numerous archivists have actually determined that a few of its definitions need modification and that additional terms must be included. Teachers of archives management and authors 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 as definitive. (3)

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

As opposed to documents, personal documents are made or gotten and maintained by a person or household along the way of residing. Diaries, news clippings, individual monetary documents, photographs, communication received, and copies of letters written and delivered by the person or household are on the list of materials typically present in individual documents.

Traditionally, documents and individual documents were considered distinct entities, each with demonstrably characteristics that are definable. Into the 20th century, the real characteristics of documents and individual documents are becoming more alike, nevertheless, and archivists increasingly have emphasized the similarities between these materials in the place of their distinctions. (5) In particular, today’s archivists notice that both documents and individual documents are figures of interrelated materials which have been brought together due to their function or usage. Archivists respect and look for to keep the established relationships between singular items in sets of records as well as in individual documents. (6)

Synthetic collections are basically various both from documents and from individual documents. As opposed to being normal accumulations, synthetic collections consist of individual things purposefully put together from many different sources. Because synthetic collections comprise papers from numerous sources, archivists may elect to alter founded relationships so that you can enhance control or access.

Archival organizations are termed either “archives” or “manuscript repositories” based on the kinds of documentary material they have and exactly how it really is acquired. “Archives” typically have already been those organizations accountable for the long-lasting care of the historic documents associated with company or organization of which they are a component. (7) Many archives are general general public organizations in charge of the documents of continuing value of a government or body that is governmental. The National Archives associated with the usa plus the Public Archives of Canada are types of general general public archives during the level that is national. Public archives additionally might be bought at almost every other degree of federal federal government, including state or province, county, and municipal levels. Nonpublic or archives that are nongovernmental when it comes to documents of every other organization or company of that they are a component. Church archives, as an example, administer the historic documents of a spiritual denomination or congregation. University archives have the effect of documents for the college’s management. Archives get historical material through the action of legislation or through interior institutional legislation or policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival organizations primarily accountable for individual documents, artificial collections, and documents of other businesses. Manuscript repositories purchase or seek 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 may be exactly stated, yet few archival institutions are simply just “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Many archives hold some individual documents or documents of other companies. Perhaps the National Archives of this united states of america is in charge of a group that is small of individual documents and nongovernment documents. Likewise, numerous manuscript repositories act as the archives of one’s own organizations. In recognition with this, the expression “archives” slowly has obtained wider meaning for many archivists and it is utilized by them in mention of any archival institution. This trend happens to be accelerated by way of your message “archives” or “archive” into the names of some organizations that in past times may have been termed “manuscript repositories.” (8)

Modern archival terminology provides a helpful and necessary method of specialized communication in the archival occupation. Its terms could be exact adequate to preserve crucial distinctions among kinds of materials and archival organizations, yet its use may also be adequately versatile to mirror the changing nature of record materials and developments in the administration of archival organizations. Because the archival occupation grows and matures and also as brand new technologies and documents news impact the training of archives administration, both the flexibility and precision of archival terminology will turn out to be of continuing advantage to archivists.


This glossary of widely used archival terms is located 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 archival that is important with specific definitions. Terms which are adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, documents administration, and conservation terms; and terms associated with automatic information processing aren’t included.

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

ACCESSION (v.) To move physical and appropriate custody of documentary materials to an archival institution. (letter.) Materials utilized in an archival institution in an accessioning action that is single.

ACCRETION An addition to an accession.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE essay writers VALUE the worthiness of documents for the business that is ongoing of agency of documents creation or its successor in function.

APPRAISAL The process of determining whether documentary materials have actually adequate value to justify acquisition by the archival institution.

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

ARCHIVAL VALUE the worthiness of documentary materials for continuing conservation in a institution that is archival.

ARCHIVES (1) The noncurrent documents of a company or institution preserved for their continuing value. (2) The agency accountable for picking, preserving, and making available records determined to possess permanent or continuing value. (3) The building for which an archival organization is situated.

ARCHIVES MANAGEMENT The management that is professional of archival organization through application of archival concepts and strategies.

ARCHIVIST The staff that is professional within a archival organization accountable for any facet of the selection, conservation, or usage of archival materials.

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

GATHERING POLICY A policy founded by the archival organization concerning subject matter, schedules, and platforms of materials to get for contribution or purchase.

COLLECTION (1) an artificial accumulation of materials specialized in a theme that is single individual, occasion, or form of document obtained from many different sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human anatomy of historic materials associated with an individual, household, or company.

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT The process of creating 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 be either retained by the producing organization or transferred straight to an institution that is archival. (2) In Uk usage, 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 typical way of measuring the amount of archival materials based on the amount of area they occupy.

DEED OF PRESENT A appropriate document accomplishing contribution of documentary materials to an archival organization through transfer of name.

DEPOSIT AGREEMENT a document that is legal for deposit of historical materials in real custody of a archival organization while legal name towards the materials is retained by the donor.

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

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

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

REPORT Recorded information irrespective of type or medium with three elements that are basic base, impression, and message.

DONATED HISTORICAL MATERIALS Historical materials moved to an archival organization through a donor’s gift as opposed to according to legislation or legislation.

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

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

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 a archival organization including both accessioned and deposited materials.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE the worth of documents or documents for information they have on individuals, places, topics, and things aside from the procedure regarding the company that created them or even the tasks of this family or individual that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The archival term for those characteristics and traits of completely valuable documents which make the documents within their initial physical form the actual only real archivally acceptable form regarding the documents.

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