The Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) Manual

8.6. Item - Notes

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8.6.3.  Item descriptive note
8.6.4.  Physical availability of item note
8.6.5.  Medium note

Go to:   8.6.1  Common registration notes

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8.6.3.  Item descriptive note

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAD(G) | Last updated  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.  Objectivity

If you are considering including a more thorough description of an item by adding a descriptive note describing its contents, 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 not attempt to be ‘helpful’ or interpretative in this regard, but be limited to factual statements describing content. Be aware of the dangers of introducing bias or interpretation which impart the weight of archival authority to matters that are reported in the item but are not necessarily established therein as matters of fact. 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 should be used to document essential information that cannot be entered as part of the item title.

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

Heading in note Content
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): 3.1.3, 3.3.1, 3.4.3, 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.6.1  Last updated 27 Jun 2000

8.6.4.  Physical availability of item note

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAD(G) | Last updated  Definition

A message designed to be read by persons attempting to access the item described, that records destruction information, conditions governing access to the item, or the existence, location and availability of originals and copies.  Purpose

To enable the correct reference copy of an item to be requested, or special access conditions for the item to be met, or to notify that an item has been destroyed, is missing or has been withdrawn from custody.

This note was specifically created to house migrated data from earlier item level databases.  A new note of this type cannot be created.  Information relevant for this note type should be recorded elsewhere in an item registration or a related item registration, such as a sub item or copy item.  Relative importance

Category 2 -must be present where applicable to facilitate management of the item.  Sources of information

The data for this descriptive element was migrated from the ANGAM II and Access Recorder databases and is kept as a separate, defunct note in RecordSearch until such time as the information recorded is made obsolete or documented elsewhere within RecordSearch.

Destroyed items are not visible to the public.  Standards for content

This note was used as a bulletin board where brief messages could have been posted relating to:

variations to normal physical availability of the item, whether permanent,

or temporary,

the existence of reference copies,

special provisions regarding an item's use by the public  Amendments

Amend this note as required to keep the information in it current.  If the information has been superseded or made obsolete by further item description activities, then this note should be deleted.  Application notes

A new note of this type cannot be created.  Information relevant for this note type should be recorded elsewhere in an item registration, such as the item descriptive note, or visibility/availability indicator(s) or a related item registration, such as a copy item.  Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.2, 3.4.1, 3.5.1, 3.5.2  Last updated:  20 Oct 2003

8.6.5.  Medium note

Definition | Purpose | Relative importance | Sources of information | Standards for content | Amendments | Application notes | Relationship to ISAD(G) | Last updated  Definition

The Medium Note(s) give a more detailed explanation of each of the media which describes the physical characteristics of the item.  Purpose

Some items need very detailed explanations of their media in order to be properly managed and used. Features such as film gauge and disk size, for example, are very important in determining the appropriate equipment to read the contents. A VHS video needs separate equipment to a BETA video. Notes on preservation strategies can also be recorded here.  Relative importance

It is desirable that this field be completed for those media that have special requirements (category 4).  Sources of information

For information, examine the item.  Standards for content

There is one Medium Note type for each corresponding medium. An item may have more than one medium.  Amendments

Amendments may record changes to handling procedures, preservation strategies and issues over time concerning retrieval and readability of the information contained on that medium. Critical information about preservation for internal management only should be recorded in an Archivist Note.  Application notes

The notes may be as extensive or brief as required by those dealing with a particular item. Some notes may have headings, or the information may be entered without the use of subheadings. A summary heading is mandatory for a Medium Note.

Mention unusual features of the structure of the item and why a portion of an item may differ from the predominant medium of the item.

Items often consist of unusual objects such as coins, stamps and postcards and the Medium Note can be used to expand on their physical.  Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.5  Last updated:  27 Jun 2000


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