Glossary search


Narrower Term: 

n. ~ 1. A group of materials with some unifying characteristic. - 2. Materials assembled by a person, organization, or repository from a variety of sources; an artificial collection.

- collections, pl. ~ 3. The holdings of a repository.


Collection1 is synonymous with record group if provenance is the unifying characteristic.

(APPM2 1989, 1.0A) [Collection1] A body of archival material formed by or around a person, family group, corporate body, or subject either from a common source as a natural product of activity or function, or gathered purposefully and artificially without regard to original provenance. [May contain manuscripts, documents] correspondence, memoranda, photographs, maps, drawings, near-print materials, pamphlets, periodical tear-sheets, broadsides, newspaper clippings, motion picture films, computer files, etc.
(Johnston and Robinson 2002) The archival community has not traditionally used the term 'collection' to label the aggregates of material they typically describe. Archivists make the distinction between an archival fonds, where the items are of known provenance and their arrangement reflects their original working order as the records of an organisation or individual, and an 'artificial collection,' where the items are associated but lack the coherence of a fonds. The archivist recognises the fonds as the set of items that have been created and accumulated by an identifiable individual body (or bodies). However, it should be emphasised that both these classes of aggregates (the fonds and the artificial collection) are 'collections' in the more general sense in which the term is used here. Within an archival fonds, an item can be fully understood only within the context of its relationship with other items and aggregates in the fonds, and descriptive practice reflects this.