Archives and Records Management Resources

the next glossary, produced by the then National Archives and Records Service in 1984 for today’s Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice, is supplied with this site being a help to individuals not really acquainted with common archival terms. These definitions aren’t lawfully 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, had been posted in 1992 and could be bought through the community of American Archivists.

Archival terminology is really a group that is flexible of terms which have obtained specialized definitions for archivists. Since World War II, archivists global have actually dedicated attention that is considerable this is among these terms. In 1964, a worldwide lexicon of archival terminology had been posted. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the job of the committee associated with the Overseas Council on Archives, offers a foundation for worldwide comparison of archival terms.

The community of American Archivists published its very own glossary of archival terms in 1974 after many years of debate, drafting, and review. (2) Definitions into the SAA glossary happen commonly accepted once the foundation for conversation of archival terminology in united states and also have been the kick off point for subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since book for the SAA glossary, nonetheless, numerous archivists have actually figured a number of its definitions need modification and that additional terms should always be included. Teachers of archives management and writers of fundamental archival texts, consequently, are suffering from their glossaries that are own revise, enhance, or expand the 1974 work. At the moment, no solitary glossary of archival terms can be viewed as definitive. (3)

The essential commonly used archival terms are the ones that describe documentary materials and archival organizations. Documentary materials could be characterized as “records,” “personal documents,” or “artificial collections” on such basis as whom created and maintained the papers as well as just what function. (4) reports are papers in every type which are made or gotten and maintained by a company, whether federal federal federal government agency, church, company, college, or any other organization. A company’s records typically might add copies of letters, memoranda, reports, reports, photographs, along with other materials generated by the business in addition to incoming letters, reports received, memoranda off their workplaces, along with other papers maintained into 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, correspondence received, and copies of letters written and sent because of the person or household are among the list of materials typically present in individual documents.

Typically, documents and private documents have already been considered distinct entities, each with clearly definable traits. The physical qualities of records and personal papers have become more alike, however, and archivists increasingly have emphasized the similarities between these materials rather than their differences in the twentieth century. (5) In particular, today’s archivists observe that both documents and individual documents are systems of interrelated materials which were brought together due to their function or use. Archivists respect and look for to keep the relationships that are established singular items in sets of documents as well as in individual documents. (6)

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

Archival organizations can be termed either “archives” or “manuscript repositories” based on the kinds of documentary material they contain and exactly how it really is obtained. “Archives” typically have now been those organizations accountable for the long-lasting care of the historic documents of this organization or organization of that they are a component. (7) numerous archives are general general public organizations in charge of the documents of continuing worth of a federal federal government or government human anatomy. The National Archives for the usa plus the Public Archives of Canada are types of general public archives during the nationwide degree. Public archives additionally are bought at almost every other amount of federal federal federal government, including state or province, county, and municipal amounts. Nonpublic or archives that are nongovernmental when it comes to documents of any other organization or organization of that they are a component. Church archives, for example, administer the historic records of the spiritual denomination or congregation. University archives have the effect of documents associated with college’s administration. Archives get historical product through the action of legislation or through internal institutional legislation or policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival institutions primarily accountable for individual documents, synthetic collections, and documents of other companies. Manuscript repositories purchase or look for donations 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 appropriate agreement.

The distinctions between archives and manuscript repositories could be properly stated, yet few archival institutions are simply just “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Many archives hold some individual documents college application essay examples 500 words or documents of other companies. Perhaps the National Archives associated with the united states of america accounts for 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 for this, the expression “archives” slowly has obtained broader meaning for many archivists and it is utilized 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 helpful and necessary method of specialized communication in the archival occupation. Its terms may be exact sufficient to protect crucial distinctions among types of materials and archival organizations, yet its use can also be adequately versatile to mirror the changing nature of record materials and developments within the administration of archival organizations. Whilst the archival career grows and matures so that as brand brand new technologies and documents news impact the practice of archives management, both the accuracy and freedom of archival terminology will end up being of continuing advantage to archivists.


This glossary of widely used terms that are archival 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 acceptably 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 institution that is archival. (letter.) Materials used in an archival institution in an accessioning action that is single.

ACCRETION An addition to an accession.

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

ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE the worth 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 enough value to justify purchase by the institution that is archival.

ARCHIVAL INSTITUTION an institution 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 worthiness of documentary materials for continuing preservation within an archival institution.

ARCHIVES (1) The noncurrent documents of an company 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 found.

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

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

ARRANGEMENT The archival procedure of organizing documentary materials relative to archival principles.

GATHERING POLICY A policy founded by an archival organization concerning subject matter, cycles, and formats of materials to find for contribution or purchase.

COLLECTION (1) a synthetic accumulation of materials specialized in a solitary theme, person, occasion, or style of document obtained from a number of sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human anatomy of historic materials associated with a person, 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 either be retained by the producing organization or transferred straight to an archival institution. (2) In Uk use, the concept that noncurrent documents needs to be retained by the organization that is creating its successor in function to be looked at archival.

CUBIC FEET (or METERS) a typical way of measuring the amount of archival materials based on 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 name.

DEPOSIT CONTRACT a document that is legal for deposit of historic materials in real custody of a archival organization while legal name into the materials is retained by 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 outcome of a assessment decision 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 an company or agency. Also referred to as a RECORDS CONTROL SCHEDULE.

REPORT Recorded information no matter kind or medium with three fundamental elements: base, impression, and message.

DONATED HISTORICAL MATERIALS historic materials moved to an archival organization through a donor’s gift in the place of prior to law or legislation.

EVIDENTIAL VALUE the worth of documents or papers as documentation 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 documentary materials in the custody of an archival organization including both accessioned and deposited materials.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE the worthiness of documents or documents for information they contain on people, places, topics, and things aside from the operation associated with the company that created them or the tasks of this family or individual that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The term that is archival those qualities and traits of forever valuable documents that produce the documents within their initial real form the actual only real archivally acceptable form for the documents.

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