n. ~ The entire body of records of an organization, family, or individual that have been created and accumulated as the result of an organic process reflecting the functions of the creator.
†(Cook 1993, p. 33) The fonds, therefore, should be viewed primarily as 'an intellectual construct.' The fonds is not so much a physical entity in archives as it is the conceptual summary of descriptions of physical entities at the series level or lower, and descriptions of the administrative, historical and functional character of the records creator(s) – as well as descriptions of the records-creating processes (metadata). The fonds is thus the conceptual 'whole' that reflects an organic process in which a records creator produces or accumulates series of records which themselves exhibit a natural unity based on shared function, activity, form or use. It is at the heart of this process or relationship linking the creator to the records that the essence of respect des fonds can be found and must be protected.
†(Hayworth 1993, p. 56) The Canadian preference for the French term fonds to define the records of one creator originated with Towards Archival Descriptive Standards, which purposefully chose it in order 'to avoid certain terminological confusion which has grown around the terms 'record group,' 'manuscript group,' 'collections,' and so on, in North American practices.
†(Jenkinson 1966, p. 101) The fonds is the chief Archive Unit in the Continental system and the basis of all rules of arrangement. The most important of all principles of Archive Management is named from it le respect pour les fonds. . . . A fonds is an organic whole and that any Administration, or one or more of its fonctionnaires, can create a fonds d'archives provided that these include résolutions or procès-verbaux; the inclusion of archives of such a type making it autonome. Roughly speaking, we may take it that they would make the qualities of a fonds d'archives depend on its including those which, when the administration which created it was active, constituted the final authority for executive action. For our purposes we may do better perhaps to represent this quality in terms of Administration rather than terms of documents, the forms of which are not necessarily constant. Fonds we may render, for lack of a better translation, Archive Group, and define this as the Archives resulting from the work of an Administration which was an organic whole, complete in itself, capable of dealing independently, without any added or external authority, with every side of any business which could normally be presented to it. This, it may be said, is to make the Archive Group a division much wider, much less strictly defined that the Fonds.