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Archives Guide


Archives are primary sources deemed to have ongoing value and preserved in an archival repository.

Archives derived from the Greek ' arkheion' - public records, town hall, dwelling or office of the chief magistrate 

Archival records are made or received in pursuit of an activity and kept to document that activity; they are unpublished in their original form and intent; exist in a variety of analogue and digital formats.

A fonds is the aggregation of documents that originate from the same source. More specifically, a fonds distinguishes itself from a collection through its organic nature, as archival documents that have been naturally accumulated (made or received) by an individual, company, institution, etc. as a byproduct of business or day-to-day activities.

Archival material is that part of a fonds which has been appraised by archivists to have on-going value for a variety of uses and is as a result permanently preserved in an archival repository, e.g  the archives at the University of Calgary, the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the National Archives of Canada, the City of Calgary Archives.


Archives described in a catalogue/database

Title:  the name of the creator


Biographical Sketch/Administrative History: information on the creator


Scope and Content Note: a summary of what the material is about


Dates of Creation:  the dates the material was created


Extent: how much material there is


Related materials: what other archival materials may be related in the same archives


Associated materials: what other archival material may be related in another archives


Restrictions:  whether there are access/use restrictions


Location: where the material is housed


Finding aids:  links to detailed listing of this material


Links: to digitized content




How are archival materials organized?

The original order of an archival fonds is maintained or restored in the archives.

The activities that the records arose from are the natural dividers, i.e. series and sub-series consisting of files and items. 

The materials are not arranged in subject order as are published materials in libraries. 


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