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 identification is concerned, one of the main objectives of the development of integrated conditions or indicators is to ensure that the descriptive information prepared about records and their provenance are displayed or withheld from the finding aids in accordance with the Archives' policies. It is also important to ensure that information is retained about records no longer in Commonwealth custody for accountability and historical reference purposes. All descriptive information is held within the registration database. The indicators then 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, but will restrict other actions on records within that series. Other indicators will require that the descriptive information is not visible in the finding aids, but only in the registration database. Secondly, the indicators are crossed 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 records 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 that particular item or 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 descriptive information 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. Some indicators are set in other business processes as follows, however, only some of these affect the visibility of descriptive information in the finding aids:
Transfer and location needs
Care and protection of records
Publication and exhibition
Withdrawal for sentencing
Permanent withdrawal from Commonwealth control and custody
Category 2 - this should be completed 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.
More than one availability indicator may be required depending on the actions performed on the records. Some codes, such as those listed below are allocated by the officer preparing the descriptive information. Other values may be allocated automatically through other transactions. For example, if a series has a destruction freeze value entered against it, then all items will automatically inherit that value. A value can be set in the access examination process to identify the series as wholly open for access purposes. This means that any further transfers of items for that series will automatically have the items wholly open indicator applied against them.
The restrictions that may be placed against item level descriptive information are similar to that of series and in some cases, inherit values set at series level. Those listed below are the primary values that are associated with identification.
There are many possible indicators for Item. However the primary indicators that most directly relate to the registration rather than as a result of transactions once under intellectual control. These are:
- Cancelled - registration in error
- Cancelled - duplicate registration
- Descriptive information withheld at agency or Depositor request
- Top numbered.
Examples of indicators that reflect transactions against the item rather than the descriptive information include:
- Wholly withdrawn from Commonwealth custody
- On permanent loan
- Subject to conservation treatment
- Withdrawn for sentencing or evaluation
- Withdrawn long term
- Withdrawn permanently.
There are also several access related indicators which are explained in the relevant procedures but include:
- Witheld pending agency advice (WPA)
- Series wholly open
- Wholly closed period .
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, an item may be initially registered and have no restrictions placed on it. If it has later been found to be a duplicate of another item and has to be cancelled rather than deleted as transactions have occurred against that item, then those transactions cannot be deleted. Examples of transactions that preclude deletion and require cancellation include:
The Archives officer chooses one or more indicator values, which are then validated against the rules. The validations attached to the rules will also prevent certain actions from overriding other actions. For example, a series cannot be cancelled, if any items within that series are not cancelled. However, an item can be cancelled without the series being cancelled.
An attempt to add an availability indicator to an 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. Some indicators may be inherited. For example, if the series is opened then all items within that series could be given the ‘Open’ indicator automatically.
For every indicator that cannot coexist or where one takes precedence over the other, validation will ensure only actions consistent with the business rules are accepted.
Existing indicators may prevent another action from happening and has to be removed before the second (and maybe more critical) action happens.
Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.4.2