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Glossary of Archival Terminology


Access Policy
The official statement defining which records are available for use under what conditions.

Accession Number
The unique number assigned to an accession.

The process of accepting custody and establishing initial intellectual and physical control of documents transferred to the Archives.

Active Records
Records regularly used for the conduct of the current business of their creator.

Active Retention Period
The time period during which records are regularly used to conduct current business and should remain available for immediate retrieval.

Administrative Value
1) Length of time records are needed for program management, e.g., status and trend reporting, planning, etc., to support administrative consistency and continuity;
2) The usefulness of records for the conduct of current and/or future administrative business.

The process by which an archivist determines the administrative, legal, fiscal, historical and long-term research value of records and selects records for retention in the archives.

An organization's non-current records, controlled by provenance, and retained for their continuing value in providing 1) evidence of the activities of the organization, or 2) information about entities affected by the organization.

A person professionally educated, trained, and engaged in the administration of archival materials.

Box List
A list of the folder titles housed in one or more containers.

Case Files
Files which document a fixed set of transactions executed across a defined population, generally using standardized forms to conduct and record those transactions. Each file contains the same kinds of records that result from the same set of activities. The files are differentiated from one another by the distinct cases they document.

The right vested by law in the author of a work and his/her heirs or assignees to publish or reproduce the work or to authorize publication or reproduction of a work.

In records scheduling, the current year, either fiscal, academic or calendar, which can trigger the beginning of the retention period. For example, Current + 3 years.

A range of processes associated with implementing records retention, destruction, and preservation decisions.

Disposition Schedule
An inventory of document classes or record series, which summarizes the form, function, and content of the class; identifies the unit responsible for maintaining the record copy of each class; and determines when each document class is destroyed or archived, i.e., its retention period (also known as retention schedule).

A coherent set of data structured to present a line of reasoning or to report on an activity.

Finding Aids
The descriptive tools produced by the Archives to establish physical and intellectual control over archival materials.

Fiscal Value
1) Length of time records are needed to document the expenditure of funds or to fulfill financial obligations;
2) The worth of records for the conduct of current or future financial business and/or as evidence thereof.

Historical Value
Records which document significant aspects of the University's development; its mission, programs, significant events, personalities, societal relationships.

Inactive Records
Records no longer needed by their creator to conduct current business.

Inactive Retention Period
Length of time records are to be retained after their active retention period has ended, generally to satisfy external requirements.

Legal Value
1) Length of time records are needed as evidence of legal rights or obligations or to demonstrate compliance with legal and regulatory requirements;
2) The worth of records for the conduct of current or future legal business and/or as legal evidence thereof.

Office of Origin
The corporate body or administrative unit in which a group of records are created or received in the conduct of its business.

Office of Record
The organizational unit responsible for maintaining the record copy.

Operational Value
Length of time records are needed for day-to-day program operation.

Personal Papers
The private documents accumulated by or belonging to an individual.

The on-going maintenance of archival materials through proper storage and handling to ensure their survival for use.

The activities of appraising, arranging, describing and preserving archival materials.

Project Files
Files which document a specific action, event or project. They have a clear beginning and end date.

The organization or individual that created, accumulated, and/or maintained and used records in the conduct of business prior to their transfer to the Archives.

Provenance (Principle of)
The principle that records/archives of the same provenance must not be intermingled with those of any other provenance; frequently referred to as respect des fonds.

Reading Room
The area in the Archives where archival materials are consulted by researchers under the supervision of and with the assistance of archivists.

Recorded information created or received in the conduct of an institutional activity and that comprises sufficient content, context, and structure to provide proof or evidence of that activity.

Record Copy
Official copy of a document.

Record Series
A group of records that are related as a result of being created, received, or used in the same activity or because they have the same form.

Records Disposition Program
The systematic control of all records from their creation, or receipt, through their processing, distribution, organization, storage and retrieval to their ultimate disposition (also known as records management program).

Records Release
The document recording the transfer of records custody from the office of origin to the Archives.

Reference Copy
The copy of the document used primarily for consultation purposes (also known as convenience copy).

Retention Period
The length of time records should be kept to satisfy administrative, legal, fiscal, historical, or other purposes.

The examination of archival materials to determine the presence of documents or information subject to restricted access.

Subject Files
Files organized by topics containing documents concerning a wide variety of ongoing functions and activities.

Substantive Support Materials
Records that add to an understanding of the thought processes or intent of the activities, showing the process by which conclusions were drawn.

The physical and legal transfer of documents to the Archives.

Transitory Materials
Random notes, preliminary drafts, logistics documents that do not add significantly to an understanding of the activity to which they pertain.

University Records
Records created or received in conducting university activities; see also record.

Vital Records
Records necessary to resume operations in the event of disruption.

Bellardo, Lewis Jr. and Lynn Lady Bellardo. A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers. (Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 1992)
Glossary of Records Management Terms (ARMA International, 1989)
Guidelines on Best Practices for Using Electronic Information (DLM-Forum, 1997)
Ham, F. Gerald. Selecting and Appraising Archives and Manuscripts. (Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 1993)
Maher, William J. The Management of College and University Archives. (New Jersey and London: The Society of American Archivists and the Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1992)
Pearce-Moses, Richard. A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. (Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 2005)
Pederson, Ann, editor. Keeping Archives. (Australian Society of Archivists, Inc., 1987)
Records Management. Box 1 Operating Manual, Subject: Record Retention and Disposition, n.d.
Yakel, Elizabeth. Starting an Archives. (Lanham, MD and London: The Society of American Archivists and the Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1994)


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questions or comments? please contact archives@case.edu

Collections FAQ

Why isn't the book on the shelf?
Find out where a book is before you go to the shelf. Search the Case Catalog to see what it says like
- "Check Shelves" (look on the shelves, find it, & check it out);
- "Just Checked In" (ask staff for help, it's nearby, but too soon to be back on the shelves yet);
- "Off Campus" (out at an OhioLINK school);
- "Due mm/dd/yyyy" (it’s checked out until that date.) 
Tip: If it is not available, order an OhioLINK copy
Can I return books to a different Library?

Return Case or OhioLINK items to any Case library, yes. Case libraries have different hours, so your book might not get checked in on the day you return it if you use a bookdrop.

Return the CPL@Case-KSL books only to KSL, so the collection is here for you & others. Case libraries are not responsible for returning other local libraries’ books. Returning public library books here will not check them off of your account at those libraries.

What does "Check Shelves" mean?
"Check Shelves" means it is supposed to be on the shelf. If it isn’t there, double-check what the Case Catalog currently says to make sure that nobody else has checked it out or has kept it out too long.
How long does reshelving take?
The times are different, depending on what is being reshelved and what time of semester it is. KSL goal: to reshelve journals within 24 weekday hours, reshelve books within 48 hours. During peak times (end of semester) the time can be longer. Ask staff at the Main Service Desk for help.
How do I reserve a book?
Books are on the shelves for anyone who needs them, and are not reserved for individual use. If our book is checked out, order a copy from the OhioLINK.
Where are the UL Storage Stacks?
KSL has a university center half a mile from KSL, where lesser used or brittle books are kept, and the catalog search screen will display "UL Storage." You can visit the Center during daytime hours, or use an online request form to bring back the item to KSL. The center is now called RRCC (Retrospective Research Collections Center.)
Can I get a book or video on a specific date?
Yes, Case faculty, staff, & students can find out more details and use a convenient online request form for Book a Video or DVD  (KSL’s other collections are available only on a first-come basis for everyone, and cannot be booked ahead of time.)
What does a Book on Order mean? When will it get here?
When the catalog item displays “1 copy ordered for (library name)” the item is already in the library getting the final processing labels, etc., and will soon be on the shelf! Ask staff if there are other copies avaialable in OhioLINK in the meantime, or if you have an urgent need.
What is a PIN?
Your PIN is not assigned, you choose what it is and enter it on the Case Catalog at “View Your Library Record,” following the instructions. A Case Library PIN is a Personal Identification Number that protects your information, just like your bank ATM asks for a similar security PIN.
How do I get a library account & where can I look at it?
Case faculty, staff, and students automatically have online library accounts. You can look at it on the Case Catalog under “View your library record.” Use your library account to renew items on line and keep track of what you have checked out or ordered from OhioLINK or RRCC or Iron Mountain sites. Your Case ID is your library card!

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