A system of integrated rules and conditions that determine the visibility of descriptive information in the finding aids. These rules also determine what records are available for issue and what other restrictions might be applied to particular records at a particular time.
The purpose of the visibility and availability rules is to ensure consistency in application of the policies of the Archives with regard to the management and control of the records. It will no longer be possible to make a decision on the status of a Provenance registration, series or item without considering the impact of that decision on other descriptive information.
As far as provenance is concerned, one of the main objectives of the development of integrated conditions or indicators is to ensure that the descriptive information prepared about the provenance of records is displayed or withheld from the finding aids in accordance with the Archives' policies. For provenance registrations, the indicators determine what is displayed in the finding aids.
There are two main aspects of the availability and visibility indicators. Firstly, Archives officers may need to determine from time to time certain conditions on the descriptive information in the finding aids. Some conditions will allow the descriptive information to be displayed in the finding aids, other indicators will require that the descriptive information is not visible in the finding aids. Secondly, the indicators are cross-referenced through validations to ensure that the incompatibilities cannot survive. It is important that cross-validations are applied to ensure, for example, that descriptions of provenance entities should not be inappropriately excluded from the finding aids.
With this new set of values which are displayed on screen and in reports, staff can readily identify what can and cannot happen with a particular description. Also the structure will enable additions to the values over time as business requirements change. It is still a business decision as to what is available and what is visible; however, the new rules below will ensure that the business decisions are implemented consistently and efficiently.
Only some indicators are set in identification and these mainly relate to those that determine whether the descriptive information is visible in the finding aids, but also relate to continued use and management of that particular information.
Category 2 - essential if certain conditions apply.
Some of the values have to be set manually, while others are set through transactions performed elsewhere in the system. The validations attached to each indicator will determine visibility in the finding aids.
Where conditions at provenance level require withholding of information from the finding aids, it is essential that the inheritance principles within identification are understood and applied. If a provenance registration has been cancelled then it cannot record or control any series. A series may be cancelled without the provenance being cancelled. However, if a provenance description is to be cancelled then series and items associated with that agency must also be cancelled – therefore the validations ensure that cancellation of the series and items would have to take place first. This principle ensures that consistency is applied and information is not inadvertently cancelled.
There are many possible indicators for provenance registrations. However the primary indicators that most directly relate to the registration rather than as a result of transactions once under intellectual control are:
- Cancelled - registration in error
- Descriptive information withheld by the Archives
- Cancelled - duplicate registration
- Descriptive information withheld at agency request or Depositor
Click here for a detailed list of indicators.
Some indicators on descriptive information may change over time as different actions are performed on the records. For example, a provenance may be initially registered and have no restrictions placed on it. Later it has been found to be a duplicate of another registration and has to be cancelled rather than deleted as transactions have occurred against that registration and those transactions cannot be deleted. A provenance registration could be deleted if found to be an error or duplicate and no series or disposal classes attributed to it.
The Archives officer chooses one or more indicator values, which the system then interprets and applies the appropriate validations or inheritance rules. The validations attached to the rules will also prevent certain actions from overriding other actions.
An attempt to add an availability indicator to a provenance registration, series or item (also referred to as object) will trigger a check of all contained objects to ensure that the new indicator is consistent in a business sense. For each object and indicator a decision will be made on the indicators that are compatible for contained objects.
At the point of saving data in a screen the validations work behind the scenes to ensure the business rules are not compromised or contradicted.