CRS Manual - Item notes

Item Descriptive Note

Definition

This is a text note which includes significant information about the item. For example, the descriptive note may indicate the existence within the item of a particularly interesting or unusual document which would not be immediately apparent from the item title.

Purpose

The purpose of the note is to provide extra information not given in the item title, where a brief description would significantly enhance the description and therefore accessibility of the item. It is not intended to be an exposition of every folio in the item, but an expansion where the title proves inconclusive and could be misleading about what the content actually covers.

Relative importance

This is an optional attribute not likely to be required for the majority of items described in the finding aids, but should be used instead of expanding the item title (category 4).

Sources of information

Information can be obtained from recordkeeping metadata or later examination of the item.

Standards for content

There are four subheadings in the Item Descriptive Note.

Informational content

Contents date range

Duplication quantity

Language of material

See advice under Application Notes on what can be entered under these headings

Any descriptions are subject to the same public access considerations as outlined for item titles earlier in this section.

If you are considering including a more thorough descriptive note, remember that archival objectivity must be maintained. The contents of a particular item will be of interest to different people for different reasons. Descriptions should concentrate on content and attempt to be ‘helpful’ or interpretative in this regard, but be limited to factual statements. Medium notes are available to provide technical information about the structure of an item. Information summaries can be completed to provide subjective interpretative information. Details about an item required purely for internal management purposes should be entered into an Archivist Note.

Descriptions should accurately reflect the actual content, meaning or significance of the original they represent. It is possible for a description to misrepresent the original it refers to. The possibility of bias arising from inappropriate description must always exist. Bias may be introduced because the description offered is too brief, or it is too full;  inappropriate information is selected for inclusion; or because of a lack of uniformity in the description of different parts of our holdings within a series, or across related series.

Amendments

The Descriptive Note may be amended over time to provide useful information about the contents of the item.

Application notes

Only enter information under the subheadings if considered important.

This note is not intended to be widely used, but it reduces the need for some essential information to be entered into the title field.

Entries should be kept to a minimum, but could include the following, if relevant.

Informational content

Subject or purpose of the item

Geographic location, site or place (level of detail could vary)

Events or activities represented

Type of drawing

Scale, if item is a map

Name of producer

Expansion of acronyms

If the record material deals with or refers to periods different from the period when it was created and they are significant for preliminary identification or are needed to complete a true picture of the contents of the item;

Description of aircraft, eg ‘This item contains 5 photographs of F86 Sabre aircraft’

Contents date range

Copies of or extracts from documents which are dated earlier than the contents date

If there are significant differences between the item contents date and matters referred to in item

If the dates of the subject matter vary considerably from the accumulation start date

Dates when copies were made or the date of the original being copied where they differ significantly from the formal contents date range

Duplication quantity

This is a measurement of how much of an item has been copied. This value may change where portion of an item was not released because it was in the closed period

It is expected that this information will be recorded elsewhere in the Record Search

Language of the material

If all or significant portions of an item are not in English, then a reference to the language used is important

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.1

Archivist Note

Definition

The Archivist Note is a note for file to note management decisions about use and control of an item or series. This note is intended for internal staff use, but may be referred to assist in providing public access to the item. It should not contain sensitive information.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to record decisions about the item within that series, such as conversion or observations made by Archives staff for the benefit of those responsible for the management and control of that series. Where previous control systems apply to more than one item, an explanation should be given in the Series Descriptive Note. It is the electronic version of the note for file that was previously recorded on the series file. Each of the notes is treated as a transaction and cannot be altered once it has been committed. Therefore it will enable documentation of the history of the item over time. The note is not intended to contain sensitive information, rather management information of minimal value to those outside the Archives.

Relative importance

Archivist Notes are essential to record unusual features about the storage or usage of an item. The note should be completed if necessary (category 2).

Sources of information

Information can be obtained from examination of the records and discussion with the staff and clients about issues concerning the records.

Standards for content

This is a text field, using functionality of general word processing packages and mark-up language tools. The summary heading must be completed, as well as the signature block. Check spelling and punctuation carefully before saving, as others it will read or make reference to the note over time.

Amendments

Once a note is saved, it cannot be amended again. A further note must be created for additional information. A note must be carefully checked prior to saving to ensure that there are no errors. An item could well have several Archivist Notes over time.

Application notes

The note can be copied to create an additional note for similar issues that relate to another item, but once it is then saved it becomes a separate note. Portions can be copied from one note into another but the original note cannot be altered after saving.

Use discretion when identifying what information about the management of an item would be of general interest, and therefore contained in the Descriptive Note, and what is of internal management use only, and would be contained in the Archivist Note.

Transactions that may require a note include:

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.2, 3.6.1