Archives and Records Management Resources

Archives and Records Management Resources

Listed here glossary, produced by the then National Archives and Records Service in 1984 for a contemporary Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice, is provided 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, had been posted in 1992 and might be purchased 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 worldwide have actually dedicated considerable focus on this is among these terms. In 1964, a worldwide lexicon of archival terminology ended up being published. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the job of the committee associated with the Overseas Council on Archives, offers a basis for worldwide contrast of archival terms.

The community 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 due to the fact foundation for conversation of archival terminology in united states and have now been the kick off point for subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since publication associated with SAA glossary, nonetheless, numerous archivists have actually determined that a number of its definitions require modification and that additional terms should always be included. Instructors of archives management and writers of fundamental archival texts, consequently, allow us their glossaries that are own revise, upgrade, or expand the 1974 work. At the moment, no glossary that is single of terms can be viewed definitive. (3)

The essential commonly used archival terms are the ones that describe documentary materials and archival organizations. Documentary materials may be characterized as “records,” “personal papers,” or “artificial collections” on such basis as whom created and maintained the documents and for just just what function. (4) reports are documents in every kind which can be made or gotten and maintained by a business, whether federal federal government agency, church, company, college, or any other organization. A company’s documents typically might consist of copies of letters, memoranda, reports, reports, photographs, along with other materials generated by the corporation along with incoming letters, reports received, memoranda off their workplaces, as well as other papers maintained into the company’s files.

In comparison to documents, individual papers are manufactured 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 household are among the list of materials typically present in individual documents.

Usually, documents and individual documents have already been considered distinct entities, each with obviously characteristics that are definable. 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 personal documents are figures of interrelated materials which have been brought together for their function or use. Archivists respect and look for to maintain the relationships that are established singular items in sets of documents plus in individual documents. (6)

Synthetic collections are basically various both from documents and from personal documents. In the place of being natural accumulations, synthetic collections are composed of individual things purposefully put together from a number of sources. Because synthetic collections comprise papers from numerous sources, archivists may elect to improve founded relationships to be able to enhance access or control.

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 now been those organizations in charge of the care that is long-term of historic documents associated with company or organization of that they are a component. (7) numerous archives are general public organizations accountable for the documents of continuing value of a federal government or body that is governmental. The National Archives associated with united states of america as well as the Public Archives of Canada are samples of general general public archives during the level that is national. Public archives additionally could be bought at every single other amount of federal federal government, including state or province, county, and municipal amounts. Nonpublic or archives that are nongovernmental for the documents of any other organization or company of that they are part. Church archives, as an example, administer the historic documents of the denomination that is religious congregation. University archives have the effect of records associated with the college’s management. Archives get historical product through the action of legislation or through interior institutional legislation or policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival organizations primarily in charge of individual documents, synthetic collections, and records of other businesses. Manuscript repositories purchase or look for contributions of materials to that they do not have right that is necessary. They therefore must document the transfer of materials by deed of present or by other contract that is legal.

The distinctions between archives and manuscript repositories could be correctly stated, yet few archival institutions are merely “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Many archives hold some individual documents or documents of other companies. Perhaps the National Archives of this usa is in charge of a group that is small of individual documents and nongovernment documents. Likewise, numerous manuscript repositories act as the archives of the very own organizations. In recognition with this, the expression “archives” gradually has obtained wider meaning for a few archivists and it is employed by them in mention of any archival institution. This trend happens to be accelerated by way of your message “archives” or “archive” within the names of some organizations that in past times may have been termed “manuscript repositories.” (8)

Modern archival terminology provides a necessary and useful method of specialized communication inside the archival occupation. Its terms could be exact sufficient to protect essential distinctions among forms of materials and archival organizations, and yet its use can also be adequately versatile to mirror the nature that is changing of materials and developments into the administration of archival organizations. Whilst the archival occupation grows and matures and also as brand new technologies and documents news impact the training 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 component 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 information processing aren’t included.

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

ACCESSION (v.) To move real 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 pinpointing and acquiring, by contribution or purchase, historic materials from sources outside the archival organization.

ADMINISTRATIVE VALUE the worth of documents when it comes to ongoing company associated with the agency of documents creation or its successor in function.

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

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

ARCHIVAL VALUE the worthiness of documentary materials for continuing conservation within an institution that is archival.

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

ARCHIVES MANAGEMENT The expert handling of an archival organization through application of archival principles and methods.

ARCHIVIST The expert employee in a archival organization accountable for any facet of the selection, conservation, or utilization of archival materials.

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

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

COLLECTION (1) an synthetic accumulation of materials dedicated to a solitary theme, individual, occasion, or sort of document obtained from many different sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human body 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 be either retained by the producing organization or transferred straight to an archival institution. (2) In Uk use, the principle 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 measure that is standard of 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 CONTRACT a document that is legal for deposit of historic 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 action that is final sets into impact the outcomes of an assessment choice for a few documents. Transfer to an archival organization, transfer to a documents center, and destruction are among feasible dispositions.

DISPOSITION SCHEDULE guidelines regulating retention and disposition of present and noncurrent recurring documents group of a company or agency. Also known as a RECORDS CONTROL SCHEDULE.

REPORT Recorded information irrespective of 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 instead of relative to law or legislation.

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

FIELD PERFORM The activity of distinguishing, negotiating for, and securing historic 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 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 apart from the procedure associated with company that created them or perhaps the tasks for the person or family members that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The term that is archival those characteristics and characteristics of completely valuable documents that produce the documents within their original real form the sole archivally acceptable form paper writing service of this documents.

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