CRS Manual - Item physical attributes 

Extent

Definition

The extent of the item is the physical measurement of the extent of the intelligible material in the item, according to the normal units of measurement applied to the medium in question.. This measure is not necessarily the same as the extent of the physical container or carrier of the item. 

Purpose

The purpose in showing the quantity or extent of an item is to convey an idea of how much record material is present. Absolute accuracy is not important, so long as a reasonable indication of the quantity is given.

Relative importance

This field should be completed if an item is available for public access, if the historical significance of the item warrants such an entry, or if the information is readily obtainable (category 2).

Sources of information

For information examine the item.

Standards for content

The thickness of a file will be expressed in centimetres.

The file size of an electronic item will be expressed in megabytes.

Where an item has been foliated, that is where the contents of an item have been numbered from the first folio to the last, give the number of folios, for example 233 folios.

Use a measure suitable for the format of the item, for example:

Amendments

The extent should only be amended if found to be incorrect. It should not be confused with duplication quantity.

Application notes

The quantity or extent of an item made of paper can be expressed in two ways: the number of folios, and a measurement of thickness of accumulation of folios in centimetres. For items of other formats, use a measure suitable for the item media and dimensions.

If the thickness of the accumulated contents of the item is less than 0.25cm, count the number of folios or pieces within the item, for example 10 folios.

Where there is no indication of the number of folios within an item and the thickness of the accumulated contents of the item is greater than 0.25cm, estimate the quantity in multiples of 0.25cm, to the nearest 0.25cm, for example 3.25cm, 3.00cm, 0.50cm etc.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.5

Dimensions

Definition

Dimensions refers to the measurable dimensions of an item.

Purpose

This attribute indicates the size of an item, either the logical or physical dimension. The information assists with storage and preservation requirements and duplication requests.

Relative importance

This field should be completed if information is readily available (category 2).

Sources of information

The item dimensions are inherited from series default item dimension, or can be determined through examination of the records. The default may be overridden for an item. If  no value is entered at item level then the display of reports will show the dimension for the series. If  the dimensions of the item differ from that of the series then a value specific to that item may be set.

Standards for content

Values inherited from the default item dimension are set at series level and displayed in reports. Dimensions specific to items can be entered without validations against the series. The measurement convention is length x width x depth. 

3.5cm x 21 cm

The dimension should also relate to the medium of that item, for example

Medium: floppy disk 
Item Dimension: 5"

Medium: floppy disk 
Item Dimension: 3"

Amendments

If a particular item within a series does not conform to the default, then the dimension peculiar to that item can be entered.

Application notes

Where there are unusual dimensions for the item, these can be described in more detail in the Media Note.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.5

Duplication quantity

Definition

The duplication quantity is the number of units within an item which are available for copying, for example the number of folios within a file which have an access status which permits them to be photocopied for public purchase. If the form of the item is one for which charges are levied, then the number is the count of such units, for example photographic prints from negatives.

Purpose

This attribute gives an indication of the amount of material on the item that has been duplicated thus far, given that the contents of  an item may be duplicated over time, as folios reach the open period. Duplication quantity can relate to: 

 Precise information for calculating costs is determined at the time of a duplication request.

Relative importance

This field is completed only if the item or certain units within an item can be duplicated (category 4).

Sources of information

The information in this field is manually updated following duplication requests.

Standards for content

Where the contents of an item have been counted for duplication charging purposes, give the total number of pages in the item, for photocopying or number of photographic prints, or number of videos or cassettes.

Amendments

This measure is not necessarily the same as the core descriptive element of extent described above. A photocopy count can vary as an item comes into the open period, if its access status changes, if photocopying policy or practice changes, or if regulations governing charges are amended.

Application notes

This is a text field with no validations as the duplication quantity will vary according to the medium of the item being duplicated, for example:

Paper files: number of pages
Photographs: number of prints
Audiovisual: number of cassettes or videos made

This attribute is currently recorded in a manual duplication management system. If considered important, a reference to duplication quantity can be made in the Item Descriptive Note. The entry may, however, need to be updated.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.5

Medium

Definition

A medium describes the physical characteristics of an item. An item may have more than one medium, for example, a flag attached to a paper file, or a combination of photographic transparencies and prints. A parchment map might be attached to a paper file and may require different preservation, storage and usage conditions, therefore it is essential to know that a paper file contains components that are parchment.

Purpose

The purpose of this attribute is to describe at item level the physical nature of the item, which will give guidance to how the item must be stored, used, retrieved and destroyed, if appropriate. The predominant form at series level is often too broad to be of value at the item level, especially in the non-paper media.

Relative importance

It is desirable that this field be completed for those media that have special requirements (category 4). An item can have more than one medium.

Sources of information

For information, examine the records and agency recordkeeping metadata.

Standards for content

Select the appropriate medium code from the set of values. This list is contained in the thesaurus that supports RecordSearch. Terms valid for data entry include:

Amendments

The medium may not change over time, but advice about handling and deterioration may be updated in the corresponding Medium Note. The medium may change if a particular medium cannot be read or used - while the content does not change, the medium does.

Application notes

The selection from a list will assist in the standardisation of usage and for searching, for example, the use of the term ‘disk’ and ‘disc’.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.5

Medium Notes

Definition

The Medium Notes 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

Located in

Definition

'Located in' refers to the State or Territory in which the item is physically located. Items located in the Australian War Memorial have a separate value to others stored in the Australian Capital Territory.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to indicate where an item is held. Copies of items may be held in several locations and this is also indicated. This attribute is also used to identify where a series is located, rather than  utilising a separate series location attribute at series level..

Relative importance

This is a mandatory field (category 1).

Sources of information

Information for this field is extracted from the location system.

Standards for content

Select from a predetermined set of values: ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, VIC, WA, TAS, AWM.

Amendments

Amendments may be required if an item is relocated to another State.

Application notes

By and large this information is contained in the location system and will be added automatically upon transfer. There is scope for manually adding this attribute.

Relationship to ISAD(G) 3.5.1

Location other than Archives

Definition

This field will show where the item is held if it is not in the custody of National Archives or the Official Records Collection of the Australian War Memorial.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to indicate that an item in the finding aids is not located in the National Archives or the Australian War Memorial. This may be used to indicate electronic records that have been assessed as having long term value, but which will remain in the custody of the agency. It may also be used to reflect the location of items recently withdrawn from the Archives, such as personal records being transferred to another institution and available there, or transferred to another Government.

Relative importance

This is an optional attribute, but may become mandatory over time for items not transferred to the Archives' custody (category 4).

Sources of information

Information can be obtained from agency recordkeeping systems, and discussions with the new custodians of the item.

Standards for content

This is a text field naming the institution and possibly contact details.

Amendments

The entry may be revised if the item is transferred back to the custody of the National Archives.

Application notes

The entry should contain sufficient information to assist researchers to identify where an item may be. If appropriate, enter the name of the institution or the Commonwealth agency and its CA number.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.5.1

Copy exists (not in the Archives)

Definition

This field indicates the institution which holds a copy of an item described in the finding aids of the National Archives.

Purpose

The purpose of the field is to indicate that a copy of an item in the finding aids is located in another institution to assist reference use. It may be used to indicate electronic records that have been assessed as having long term value, but which will remain in the custody of the agency.

Relative importance

This is an optional attribute (category 4).

Sources of information

For information look at finding aids documentation held in the relevant institutions.

Standards for content

This is a text field naming the institution and possibly contact details.

Amendments

This entry would be amended if the item it describes was subsequently transferred to the archives.

Application notes

This attribute should be utilised when records are described in the archives' finding aids but which are no longer in the custody of the archives.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.1.1

Disposal class number

Definition

A disposal class number is a unique identifier, set in the disposal authorisation process, that determines the disposal action of an item.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to record the disposal action of items sentenced according to the disposal authorisation process. The retention period set against the disposal class acts as a trigger for storage and preservation decisions.

Relative importance

This will be mandatory when item level descriptions are transferred by agencies (category 1) but optional for data which is entered by Archives (category 2).

Sources of information

For information examine the records against issued disposal classes.

Standards for content

There are a number of formats for describing a disposal class number, depending on whether the disposal class has been created in the electronic disposal authorisation system. Over time the number of disposal classes documented in the electronic disposal authorisation system will increase. The standards for entering disposal class numbers are suggested below in the 'Application notes'. [As at October 1999 only disposal class numbers set by the electronic authorisation system can be entered against the item.]

Amendments

The disposal class under which an item is sentenced may be changed following re-evaluation.

Application notes

There are a variety of formats for entering disposal class numbers, depending on whether or not the disposal class has been captured into the electronic disposal authorisation system.

Electronic disposal authorisation system Single number, for example
678
Paper-based disposal authorities

[Not operable as at October 1999]

Authority number/class number, for example
RDA1178/1.2 (a)
GDA 14/30.2.2
Executive decisions affecting large groups of records

[Not operable as at October 1999]

File reference,  for example
National Office file 1989/456

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.2

Disposal status

Definition

The disposal status is a code that determines whether an item is to be destroyed, retained or not subject to  the Commonwealth disposal regime.

Purpose

The purpose of the field is to indicate whether an item is to be destroyed by a certain date. The disposal status also indicates if there is no relevant disposal coverage for the item and therefore disposal class information is not mandatory. Items such as those from personal records series and corporate archives are not subject to the Commonwealth’s disposal regime.

Relative importance

This is a mandatory attribute (category 1).

Sources of information

The disposal class determines which status the item is given. 

Standards for content

The values are:

T (Temporary): for items with a finite destruction due date.
P (Permanent): for items that do not have a specified destruction due date at time of registration into the archival control system. This status may be changed.
NA (Not Applicable): for items not covered by the Commonwealth disposal authorisation process. These include personal records, intergovernmental records and corporate archives deposits

Amendments

This entry may be amended following review of the disposal class of an item or change in the ownership of an item. The most likely amendments are changes from a status of ‘P’, meaning no set destruction date, to ‘T’, indicating a set destruction date.

Application notes

One of these values must be selected for validation purposes:

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.2

Destruction due date

Definition

This is the date on which the item has been sentenced for destruction under an appropriate disposal class. It may be applied by the agency in sentencing before proposal for transfer of the item to the Archives. It may also be applied by Archives staff for records already in the Archives custody.

Purpose

This attribute sets the date after which an item may be destroyed. It cannot be destroyed before that date, unless the disposal class under which it was sentenced is changed.

Relative importance

This is a mandatory attribute if the disposal status is ‘temporary’ (category 2).

Sources of information

For information look at the retention period plus the age of the contents of the item.

Standards for content

The date is presented as a single date in DD Mon YYYY format.

Amendments

Destruction due date should only be amended if the disposal class changes.

Application notes

Enter date in the format as above. It is expected that this attribute will be automatically provided by the agency recordkeeping system and if a change is required, it will be amended through global changes.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.2.2