Definitions of different cataloguing levels:

Collection (sometimes referred to as 'Fonds')

This refers to the entirety of a collection, which has been accumulated by an organisation, group, individual, or family. All items in the collection, or fond, have the same provenance in that they have been created and/or collected by the same individual, family, group, or organisation. The 'sub-collection' level can also be used, when records within a Collection have a distinct provenance of their own; for example, within an organisation's records there are records belonging to different branches of the organisation.

Series A 'series' are records grouped together through the original filing system of the creator, or which have the same function. Examples of record series might include correspondence, minutes, and administrative files.

Sub-series A 'sub-series' are an organised group of records within a series which are grouped together, either by their creator, or during archival arrangement, which relate to the same subject, activity or process. For example, a series of minute books may include sub-series for different committees. More subordinate subgroups (for example, sub-sub-series) can be used as necessary to reflect the hierarchy of the organisation or filing system used.

Item Items can be found within folders or as single items. Examples are a letter, a photograph, a physical audio-visual item (for example, videocassette). It is more common to catalogue to a higher level (such as sub-sub-series), although when access to digital items can be provided, an item level description would be required (for example, when a cassette tape has been digitised).

Definitions of different catalogue fields:

Ref No: the reference number, a unique number assigned to a record, or collection of records.

Title: This is the name of the unit that is being described (e.g. the collection, series, sub-series, or file). The title should be contained within a single sentence, with more detailed descriptive information given in the scope and content (or 'description') field.

If the creator is not known then 'unknown' has been used in this field. If there are multiple creators at lower levels (for example, sub-series, sub-sub-series) then 'multiple individuals' or 'multiple organisations' have been used in this field.

Dates: This field notes the dates of the creation of the unit being described. At higher levels of cataloguing (collection, series) the dates have generally been given in a single year, or a run of years. At lower levels (sub-series, file, item) a more precise date has been given (if known), including date, month and year. If the date is unknown then 'No date' has been used. Inferred dates have been supplied in square brackets.

Extent: This field identifies and describes the physical or logical extent and the medium(s) of the archive collection. The physical extent is recorded in linear metres at collection level and in boxes/folders/items at lower levels. The medium (e.g. videocassette) is also recorded, although generally at lower levels.

Access conditions: This field is used to provide information on how material can be consulted, and also describe any restrictions that might be placed on access, either by the depositor or by Special Collections & Archive.

Copyright: This field notes who owns the copyright in the material, if known. For any re-use of material in publication or broadcast the permission of the copyright holder must be obtained.
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