Accession: 1. The act of transferring legal and physical control of records and papers to the archives or records centre. 2. The materials which have been transferred to the archives.
Acquisition: The act of obtaining records for the archives, through donations, transfers, loans, or purchase.
Appraisal: 1. The act of determining the worth of records and papers to either the creator or the archives based on primary values, such as their administrative, legal, or financial usefulness, or secondary values, such as their historical, informational, evidential, and research values. 2. The monetary evaluation of historical materials.
Archives: 1. The noncurrent records of an individual, organization, or institution kept for their continuing value. 2. The agency or institution responsible for the care of archival materials. 3. The building or other repository housing archival records. Private papers are also referred to as manuscripts.
Archivist: The person responsible for caring for historical materials in the archives, including acquisition, appraisal, accessioning, arrangement, description, conservation, reference services, and public relations activities.
Arrangement: The act and result of physically organizing records in accordance with archival principles such as provenance and original order. The process includes sorting, packing in file folders and boxes, labelling, and shelving.
Authenticity: The quality of being genuine, not a counterfeit, and free from tampering, and is typically inferred from internal and external evidence, including its physical characteristics, structure, content, and context.
Catalogue: 1. To organize information about records according to a specific classification system, such as subject, author, date, or place. 2. A group of cards, papers, or other media organized according to a specific classification system.
Collection: An artificial accumulation of documents of any provenance brought together on the basis of some common characteristic, e.g., way of acquisition, subject, language, medium, type of document, name of collector, to be treated for description purposes as a descriptive unit under a common title.
Collective Memory: Unlike personal memory, which refers to an individual’s ability to conserve information, the collective memory comprises recollections of the past that are determined and shaped by the group.
Conservation: The physical care and maintenance of archival materials, including cleaning, storage, and repair.
Copyright: The exclusive right, granted by law, of the creator of a work (or his/her assignees or employers) to make or dispose of copies and otherwise to control the use of a literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or other work. The Copyright Act in Canada is not concerned with ideas or the originality of ideas; it is the language or the expression of the idea which is the subject matter of copyright.
Culling: The removal of non-archival material from file units during the processing of records. The documents removed may be returned to the donor, donated to another archival institution, or destroyed. Also referred to as weeding.
Custodial history: The history of the custody of the material being described, i.e., its successive transfers of ownership and custody.
Deaccession: To remove material permanently from the physical control and ownership of the archives. Deacidification: The process of neutralizing acid in documents or other objects, raising their pH value to a minimum of 7.0 to help preserve them.
Description: The act of establishing intellectual control over records by identifying their contents, important subjects, and historical significance. Records are described in finding aids.
Donation: A permanent gift to the archives from an individual or organization.
Ephemera: Miscellaneous printed and published materials, such as advertisements, posters, broadsides, cards, and brochures, created for short-term use but historically valuable as illustrations of past events or activities.
Evidential value: The worth of the records in providing adequate and authentic documentation of the organization and activities of an agency.
File: To place records in a predetermined location according to a specific classification scheme. A group of records organized and kept in a predetermined physical order in a folder.
Finding aid: Descriptive tools, e.g., registers, guides, inventories, indexes, file/item listings containing information about records in archival custody, that establish administrative, physical, or intellectual control over the holdings of an archives, and make it possible to retrieve particular records or information from these archives.
Fonds: A French term for the records or papers of a particular individual, institution, or organization. The whole of the records, regardless of form or medium, automatically and organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular individual, family, or corporate body in the course of that creator’s activities or functions.
Index: 1. To list names, subjects, or other information alphabetically. 2. A finding aid in paper, card, or other form which contains alphabetically organized information about holdings in the archives, based on subject, author, chronological, or geographical categories.
Inventory: A finding aid that describes the organization and activities of the agency that created the records and the physical extent, chronological scope, and subject content of the records. in addition to this information, an inventory may include lists of box or file titles or other descriptive information.
Item: The smallest unit of archival material, such as the individual letter, report, photograph, or reel of film.
Manuscripts: Unpublished handwritten or typed documents. in archives, manuscripts are usually defined as the personal papers of individuals or private groups as opposed to the records of a business, government, or other institution.
Oral history: The aural record or written transcript of a planned and recorded oral interview.
Original order: The order and organization in which records were created and/or stored by the creator or office of origin. Existing order is the more practical term.
Preservation: The basic responsibility to provide adequate facilities for the protection, care, and maintenance of archives, records, and manuscripts. Specific measures, individual and collective, undertaken for the repair, maintenance, restoration, or protection of documents.
Processing: The work involved in arranging records to make them available for use, including sorting, packing, labelling, shelving, arrangement, description and preservation.
Provenance: The office of origin, or person or agency that created or collected records in the course of their activities. This definition differs from the museum definition of provenance, which refers to the successive ownership or possession of an item, not its creation.
Records: 1. Recorded information, regardless of physical format or characteristics. 2. Documents or other material created by business or government agencies in the course of their daily activities.
Repository: A place where archival materials are housed. (Archives and Houses of Memory)
Respect des fonds: The principle that the records of a person, family or corporate body must be kept together in their original order, if it exists or has been maintained, and not be mixed or combined with the records of another individual or corporate body.
Restrictions on access: The conditions governing access to all or part of the material being described, including any laws, regulations, policies, donor terms, or any other relevant access conditions.
Series: Records or groups of records arranged in accordance with a particular filing system or maintained as a unit because of their relationship to one another. Series may be organized by original order, subject, function, or type of material.
Subseries: A group of related material within a series, usually identified by subject, type of material, function, or filing arrangement.
Professional Archiving Organizations
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE AND LOCAL HISTORY
BASICS OF ARCHIVING ONLINE CLASS
SOCIETY OF AMERICAN ARCHIVISTS
SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA ARCHIVISTS