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These are explanations for some of the terms and abbreviations that you might encounter when using the Laban Archive catalogue.
 
Access format = The form that the user will view the item in e.g. microfiche.
 
Access status = Whether archive material is open for public access or closed due to legal rules and conditions.
 
Accessions = An accession is a new collection or a part of an existing collection that comes into the archive via any donor. It is given a unique accession number and is entered on to an Accessions Register. The accession will be briefly listed in a box list and will then be catalogued at a later date.
 
Accruals = Additional records to an existing collection already held by the archive repository.
 
Administrative history = A history of, or biographical details on, the creator of the archive material.
 
Appraisal notes = Information on which records are kept and which disposed of and why.
 
Archival history = Gives information about the archive material that is significant for its authenticity, integrity and interpretation.
 
Authority Records = Archivists and librarians commonly use recognised, authorised or prescribed names i.e. the names of persons, places and corporate bodies, when describing, cataloguing and indexing their holdings. Names that are relevant and important to a particular collection are given an ‘authority record’ where the format of the name is standardised. This format is then always used when referring to a particular name. Subject terms are similarly given a standardised form in an authority record.
 
Box list = A brief first listing of a collection indicating title, date and a very brief description of the contents of each box or file within the collection, hence the name.
 
c = circa
 
Creator name = The name of the body, family or person that created, accumulated and/or maintained records in the conduct of personal or corporate activity.
 
Description = A summary of the scope (such as time periods, geography) and content (such as documentary forms, subject matter, administrative processes) of the collection, series, file or item.
 
Extent and medium = The physical material, container or carrier in or on which information is recorded, and how much of it there is, e.g. 5 video tapes.
 
File = An organised unit of documents grouped together because they relate to the same subject, activity or transaction.
 
Finding aids = Lists, catalogues or any other document produced as a means to finding items within a collection.
 
Fonds = Also known as Collection, this is the whole of the records in an archive collection, regardless of format, organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular person, family, or organisation in the course of their activities and functions.
 
Item = The smallest intellectually indivisible archival unit.
 
Level = Archival material is always managed and described at more than one level. Higher level descriptions give information on the background, context and where the archive collection has come from, together with information which applies to the whole collection. Lower level descriptions provide information specific to the actual items within the collection.
 
nd = no date
 
Physical description = Provides information about any important physical characteristics or technical requirements that affect the use of the archive material.
 
Piece = Part of an item e.g. a page of a three page letter.
 
Series = Documents arranged in accordance with a filing system or maintained as a unit because they result from the same accumulation or filing process, or the same activity; have a particular format, or because of some other relationship arising out of their creation or use.
 
Subfonds = A subdivision of a fonds containing a body of related records corresponding to administrative subdivisions within an organisation or to geographical, chronological, functional or similar groupings of material.
 
Subseries = A subdivision of a series.
 
System of arrangement = The way in which a collection has been organised and why.
 
Title = The name of a particular collection, or of a particular item, file or series within a collection.
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