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Flashcards in Archival Principles Deck (35)
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What is a...

Record (ISO 15489-1:2016 definition)

Information created or received and maintained as evidence and as an asset by an organization or person, in pursuit of legal obligation or in the transaction of business.

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Original Order (Society American Archivists definition)

The organization and sequence of records established by the creator of the records. FR: l'ordre primitif, respect de l'ordre intérieur.

What is...

Respect des Fonds

...or respect pour des fonds. Translated literally as respect of background (context). A principle for grouping records by the entirety of their context, by administration, organization, individual, entity, etc.

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The background of a record that reveals its context, but which also allows the demonstration of the authenticity and integrity of the record’s content and meaning.

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Integrity (UNESCO, 2003, definition)

The state of being whole, uncorrupted and free of unauthorised and undocumented changes.

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Authenticity (UNESCO, 2003, definition)

Quality of genuineness and trustworthiness of some digital materials, as being what they purport to be, either as an original object or as a reliable copy derived by fully documented processes from an original.

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Archival Silences

Voices, and memories, of individuals, groups, or communities, and their activities – their marginalization, that don’t appear in the archival/documentary record due to the biases, unwittingly or otherwise, of the collecting institution; the nature of custodial archives; and/or an inability to access, and make available, the content of the record in meaningful ways.

What is a...

File (Digital)

An information encoding that can be retrieved from digital storage and interpreted by a computer to be presented to the user in a suitable way.

What is a...

File (Archival) (Society of American Archivists, definition)

A group of documents related by use or topic, typically housed in a folder (or a group of folders for a large file). The plural, files, is the whole of a collection of records.

What is a...

Folder (Archival) (Society of American Archivists, definition)

A sheet of cardboard or heavy paper stock that is used as a loose cover to keep documents and other flat materials together, especially for the purposes of filing.

What is a...

Folder (Digital)

A delineation of digital storage that organizes files into groups. Synonymous with the term directory. A directory inside another is often called a sub-directory.

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The obfuscation of sensitive, or secretive information in a document, e.g. to provide access e.g. to satisfy a freedom of information request. The information redacted may be protected through various legislation, e.g. data protection acts. Redaction protects individuals and organisations in appropriate circumstances.

What is a...

Record Group

A record group is a collection of records, organized by transferring, or depositing agency, sometimes divided into organizational division.

What is the...

Series System

  • A collection of records organized by function, replacing the record group where the same function may be managed by different agencies over time.
  • The series model was developed in Australia by Peter Scott in the 1960s.
  • The system emphasises multiple and dynamic context for records and enables those contexts to be assigned to archival records.
  • Contextual entities described by Cunningham (2012), include individuals, families, organisations, project teams, government agencies and portfolios, governments themselves, functions and activities.

What is a...


A functional grouping of records.

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A further grouping of records underneath a series, for example, by type, form, or content.

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Appraisal is the analysis of an organisation’s business context, business activities and risks. This will determine what information and records need to be created, what are of high risk/high value, and how long they need to be managed to meet business and community needs and expectations.

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Retention and Disposal

Organizational awareness of the types of record being maintained and how long they need to be kept to meet business needs, legal requirements, and in the case of government, the obligation to open and transparent government.

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A means of controlling records at an organization through: retention, destruction, transfer, and in some cases, the sale of records to another organization, providing there is authorization to do so. An example disposal action may be transfer from a government agency to a government archive.

What is a...

Disposal Authority

Description of appraised classes of records and the disposal action that is supposed to be applied to them and after what time. A disposal authority is signed by a suitable jurisdictional authority.

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The application of disposal actions to a group of records in accordance with a suitable disposal authority.

What is an...

Information Asset (The National Archives, UK)

An information asset is a body of information, defined and managed as a single unit so it can be understood, shared, protected and exploited efficiently. Information assets have recognisable and manageable value.

What is an...

Information Asset Register

A register of information assets that describes what they are, their value, their life-cycle, and risk profile.

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A governmental department that transfers records to a national/government archive.

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An individual or organisation that donates records to an archival institution or library.

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File Classification Scheme

or Business Classification Scheme, is the folder and directory layout adopted in a business, organized by function, client, activity etc. Such that records are contextualized, described appropriately, and retrievable.

What is a...

Collection Policy

A statement that describes the collecting principles of the archival institution which may include: legal obligations to collect; jurisdiction; geographical areas; chronological period; media-type; and collection methodology, plus other logical grouping of content relevant to the policy.

What is...


Fixity is the property of remaining fixed. That is, the features of a record that we can use to determine that a record has not been changed. Context, date ranges, materials used, and in the case of digital records, checksums enable us to demonstrate a record has not been modified. Fixity is key in demonstrating authenticity and integrity.

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Information and Records Management

The management of information in an organization throughout its contexts.

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Continuum Model

The recognition that records are multi-dimensional and develop and gain new context and value across a continuous period of time (a continuum) across a number of organizations and activities as they are moved about and are reused.

Records do not simply have a beginning and end of life with deprecating value as may be in a life-cycle approach to records and information management.