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physical control


n. ~ The function of tracking the storage of records to ensure that they can be located.


Intellectual control provides a means of identifying potentially relevant materials, with a pointer to where those materials are stored. Physical control ensures that the records are, in fact, where that pointer specifies. In some instances, those pointers may be absolute, pointing to a specific box on a specific shelf in a specific room. In other cases, the pointer may be relative, pointing to a collection and box number, which reflect a position within a range of similar numbers.

(Skupsky and Manta–a 1994, p. 154) Careful physical control of records ensures that critical records are available when needed. Even when ineffective recordkeeping practices do not justify sanctions, the organization may still find itself severely disadvantaged by its inability to produce evidence for its own case. Besides reducing the organization's efficiency, poor recordkeeping practices may lead to future litigation because the organization may not know its legal obligations.