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 as a help to people not really acquainted with common archival terms. These definitions are not legitimately 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 that can 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 the meaning among these terms. In 1964, a lexicon that is international of terminology had been posted. (1) This dictionary in 6 languages, the job of the committee of this Global Council on Archives, provides a foundation for worldwide contrast of archival terms.

The community of American Archivists published its very own glossary of archival terms in 1974 after a long period of debate, drafting, and review. (2) Definitions when you look at the SAA glossary were commonly accepted because the foundation for conversation of archival terminology in the united states and also been the point that is starting subsequent efforts to define American archival terms. Since book for the SAA glossary, nonetheless, numerous archivists have actually figured several of its definitions need modification and therefore additional terms is included. Instructors of archives management and writers of fundamental archival texts, consequently, are suffering from their own glossaries that revise, change, or expand the 1974 work. At the moment, no single glossary of archival terms can be viewed as definitive. (3)

Probably the most commonly used archival terms are the ones that describe documentary materials and archival organizations. Documentary materials are characterized as “records,” “personal documents,” or “artificial collections” on such basis as whom created and maintained the papers and for just what function. (4) Records are papers in virtually any type which are made or gotten and maintained by a company, whether 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, as well as other materials created by the business in addition to incoming letters, reports received, memoranda off their workplaces, along with other documents maintained within the company’s files.

Contrary to records, personal documents are manufactured or gotten and maintained by a person or family along the way of residing. Diaries, news clippings, individual records that are financial photographs, communication received, and copies of letters written and delivered by the person or household are one of the materials typically present in individual documents.

Usually, documents and individual documents have now been considered distinct entities, each with plainly definable faculties. Within the 20th century, the real qualities of documents and individual documents are becoming more alike, but, and archivists increasingly have emphasized the similarities between these materials instead of their distinctions. (5) In specific, today’s archivists notice that both documents and individual documents are systems of interrelated materials which were brought together for their function or usage. Archivists respect and look for to keep the relationships that are established individual things in categories of documents plus in individual documents. (6)

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

Archival organizations are termed either “archives” or repositories that are”manuscript based on the kinds of documentary material they have and just how it really is acquired. “Archives” usually were those organizations accountable for the care that is long-term of historic documents associated with the company or organization of that they are part. (7) Many archives are general general public organizations in charge of the documents of continuing value of a federal government or body that is governmental. The National Archives regarding the united states of america together with Public Archives of Canada are samples of general general public archives during the level that is national. Public archives additionally can be available at any other degree of 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 institution or company of that they are a component. Church archives, as an example, administer the historic records of the denomination that is religious congregation. University archives have the effect of documents of this college’s management. Archives get historical product through the action of legislation or through interior regulation that is institutional policy.

“Manuscript repositories” are archival organizations primarily accountable for individual documents, synthetic collections, and documents of other businesses. Manuscript repositories purchase or look for donations of materials to that they haven’t any right that is necessary. They consequently 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 exactly stated, yet few archival institutions are simply just “archives” or “manuscript repositories.” Many archives hold some papers that are personal documents of other businesses. Perhaps the National Archives associated with united states of america is in charge of a group that is small of individual documents and nongovernment documents. likewise, many manuscript repositories act as the archives of the very own organizations. In recognition of the, the expression “archives” slowly has obtained broader meaning for a few archivists and it is employed by them in mention of any archival institution. This trend happens to be accelerated by the use of your message “archives” or “archive” within the names of some organizations that in days gone by 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 enough to protect essential distinctions among forms of materials and archival organizations, yet its use may also be adequately flexible to mirror the nature that is changing of materials and developments into the administration of archival organizations. Since the archival career grows and matures so when brand 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 archival terms is located 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 adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, documents administration, and preservation terms; and terms associated with automated information processing aren’t included.

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

ACCESSION (v.) To move physical and legal custody of documentary materials to an archival institution. (letter.) Materials utilized in an archival institution in a solitary accessioning action.

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 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 an institution that is archival.

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 an institution that is archival.

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

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

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

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

GATHERING POLICY A policy founded by an archival institution concerning subject matter, cycles, and platforms of materials college persuasive essay topics to get for contribution or purchase.

COLLECTION (1) an synthetic accumulation of materials dedicated to a single theme, individual, occasion, or form of document obtained from many different sources. (2) In a manuscript repository, a human body of historic materials associated with a person, family members, 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 be either retained because of the producing organization or transferred right to an institution that is archival. (2) In Uk use, the concept that noncurrent documents should be retained because of the producing company or its successor in function to be looked at archival.

CUBIC FEET (or METERS) a typical way of measuring the amount of archival materials in line with the level of room 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 an archival organization while legal name 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 outcome of a 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 regulating retention and disposition of current and noncurrent recurring documents a number of an company or agency. Also known as a RECORDS CONTROL SCHEDULE.

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

DONATED HISTORICAL MATERIALS historic materials moved to an archival organization by way of a donor’s gift in place of in conformity with legislation or legislation.

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

FIELD PERFORM The activity of distinguishing, negotiating for, and securing historic materials for the archival institution.

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

HOLDINGS All documentary materials in the custody of a archival organization including both accessioned and deposited materials.

INFORMATIONAL VALUE the worthiness of documents or documents for information they have on people, places, topics, and things apart from the procedure associated with the company that created them or even the tasks of this person or family members that created them.

INTRINSIC VALUE The archival term for those characteristics and faculties of completely valuable documents which make the documents within their original physical form the actual only real archivally acceptable form of this records.