Answered By: Simon Dixon
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2023     Views: 5

Archive catalogues have a hierarchical structure, which means that information is arranged in levels. This helps to explain the relationship between different records within a collection. Catalogues begin with very broad descriptions of an entire collection, down to records for individual files or items. Fields you will commonly see displayed in our archives catalogue include: 

Level: this tells you the level of the item being described: from "fonds" (collection) down through section, series, file and item - from larger to smaller units. Usually, only item level descriptions refer to physical items, the other terms reflect the groups the collection has been sorted into. A "fonds" or collection may fit into one box, or comprise many hundreds of items.

Document Reference Number: the reference you should quote to archive staff when ordering documents, and when citing documents. Click the Document Reference Number (DocRefNo) field to see an individual record page from the hit list, and then again on the individual record page, to see the record in the hierarchy of the collection. 

Acc no: accession number - this is a running number for each year generated when new material is given to the archives, to keep track of it as a whole. When cataloguing is done, each item is given a unique, individual reference (the Document Reference).    Title: a brief description of the item, or a series or section of records, or the whole collection.    Description: a more detailed description of the item, series or collection.     Extent: this tells you the size of the item or section of the collection you are looking at and may vary from 1 document / photograph etc, to hundreds of boxes. It is usually only possible to order documents for inspection in our reading room at item and file levels. 

Not all of our archive catalogue records are included in the Archives Catalogue and not all of our collections have been catalogued. We will be adding new catalogue records regularly, so please check for updates or contact us if a collection you are interested in is not included on the catalogue.