PDF Starting an Archives (Society of American Archivists)

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An archives is the repository of the permanently valuable records of an organization.

Archives and Records Management Resources | National Archives

Such records are traditionally transferred to an archives, both physically and legally, when the organization that created them no longer needs them in the course of business. Archival records then become available to researchers who use them not only to document the history of the organization that created them but also to research the society of which that organization is part. A records center is a storage area for records no longer needed for everyday use. Records in a records center may be either temporary records those waiting for their destruction date or permanent those waiting to be transferred to an archives.

Records in a records center are traditionally still in the legal custody of the organization that created or received them; as a result the creating organization, rather than the records center staff, controls access to these records. The National Archives and Records Administration NARA is an independent federal agency that helps preserve our nation's history and define us as a people by overseeing the management of all federal records. NARA's primary purpose is to acquire, preserve, and make available for research the most valuable records of the federal government, as well as the papers of each President since Hoover.

NARA also establishes policies and procedures for managing federal records, assists federal agencies in carrying out their records management responsibilities, provides grants for historical publication and records preservation projects through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and publishes laws, regulations, and Presidential documents.


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The Library of Congress is both a legislative library and the major research arm of the U. Types of materials include minutes, correspondence files, promotional materials, legal and tax records, and financial records. Often, the person who is responsible for the archives is also the organization's records manager and must set the lengths of time various records must be kept.

The records of a religious institution form the collections of a religious archives. They may be located in individual churches, or sent to a regional or national repository maintained by the religious body. Records may contain information about membership and congregational actions of churches, as well as organizational records of the religious body at regional and national levels. Log in. Membership Member Directory. Events Annual Meeting. Past Events.

Archives Pages

Support SIA. About Constitution and By-Laws. More about Archives. What Materials Are in an Archives? Staffing an Archives Ideally, an archives should be under the direction of an archivist with professional training, but this is not essential for the establishment of the archives. Archives Location The first step in creating an archives is to establish a safe and secure "home" for the materials. Survey Your Holdings Once you have a location for your materials, survey them so you can plan for processing, preservation, and future use. Accessioning, Arranging, and Describing Collections After you decide to keep the material, you must accession it immediately.

Archives and Records Management Resources

Types of Archives All types of archives should follow the same general principles, even though the materials collected by archives are quite diverse. Academic Archives Academic archives are created to preserve the records of a college or university. Government Archives The official records of local, state, and national governments are preserved in government archives, and are subject to records retention schedules. Local History Archives Local history archives often reside in a local historical society or a public library. Organizational Archives These archives maintain the records of a business or special interest group.

Religious Archives The records of a religious institution form the collections of a religious archives. General Guidelines Secure financial support from the highest authority in your organization board, president, CEO. Contact a professional archivist for advice. Join the professional archival organizations at the state, regional, and national levels. Create a mission statement and accession policy. When creating your archives, remember to: Physically secure your archives from theft. Respect the original order of the materials. Respect the provenance of the materials. Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software.

The distinctions between archives and manuscript repositories can be precisely stated, yet few archival institutions are simply "archives" or "manuscript repositories.

Even the National Archives of the United States is responsible for a small group of donated personal papers and nongovernment records. Similarly, many manuscript repositories serve as the archives of their own institutions. In recognition of this, the term "archives" gradually has acquired broader meaning for some archivists and is used by them in reference to any archival institution. This trend has been accelerated by the use of the word "archives" or "archive" in the names of some institutions that in the past might have been termed "manuscript repositories.

Contemporary archival terminology provides a useful and necessary means of specialized communication within the archival profession. Its terms can be precise enough to preserve important distinctions among types of materials and archival institutions, and yet its usage also can be sufficiently flexible to reflect the changing nature of record materials and developments in the administration of archival institutions.

As the archival profession grows and matures and as new technologies and records media affect the practice of archives administration, both the precision and flexibility of archival terminology will prove to be of continuing benefit to archivists. This glossary of commonly used archival terms is based in part on and draws several definitions from "A Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers," compiled by Frank B.


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  5. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson The American Archivist 37 [July ]: The glossary includes most important archival terms with specialized meanings. Terms that are adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, records management, and preservation terms; and terms relating to automated data processing are not included. Elsevier's Lexicon of Archive Terminology.

    Starting an Archives

    New York: Elsevier Publishing Company, Return to text. Edited by William L. The American Archivist 37 July : The glossary included in this Reader was developed for the Modern Archives Institute.