Glossary of Records Management Terms 

The following are terms related to archives and records management that you may encounter on the Records & Research page.

A physical, and often legal, acquisition of records by a repository that is cataloged and added to the permanent collection.

(1) The physical repository for archival records or (2) the archival records, in any form, kept permanently for their enduring value.

An individual who appraises, acquires, arranges, describes, preserves, and provides access to permanent records.

The organization and sequence of items in a collection.

Biographical note
A statement containing basic information about the creator or author of the records that is usually part of the finding aid.

Born digital
Records that have only existed in an electronic format, such as word processing files and e-mail.

Materials that often have a unifying theme that have been assembled by a person or organization, or artificially assembled by a repository.

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
A standard for creating access tools, such as finding aids, for all forms of archival material.

A written account of the physical characteristics, informational content, and functional purpose of a series of records. Description is typically captured in a finding aid.

Instructions for the maintenance of records after they are no longer current. Disposition includes storage for a period of time, transfer, destruction, and permanent retention.

Electronic record
Stored data or information that a computer reads, displays, or processes. Also known as a digital record.

Finding aid
A guide, inventory, or index to a collection of archival material; usually created by the repository housing the collection to facilitate access to the collection by researchers.

Recorded information, in any format, that is created, received, or maintained by an individual or organization.

Information that describes data, such as context, content, and management over time.

Permanent record
A non-current (no longer actively used) record of enduring value that is retained permanently by an organization or person.

A group of similar records that are related as a result of being created, received, or used for the same activity.

Scope and content
A narrative statement, usually created by the archivist who processed the collection, that summarizes the characteristics of the records, any functions or activities captured in them, and the types of information in the records. The scope and content note is usually part of the finding aid.