CRS Manual - Series notes

Series Descriptive Note

Definition

A Series Descriptive Note is a concise note which includes significant information (not included in other data elements) about the series being described and clarifies any information included in other parts of the registration.

Purpose

The primary purpose and minimum requirement of the Series Descriptive Note is to provide users with a reasonable idea of the content and function of the series. It may also be used to say anything else about the series, to expand on the physical description of the records, explain administrative context and relationships with other series, and indicate how the records may be accessed and used.

It is also used to explain why a registration has provisional status, for example, to indicate what information is unreliable.

Do not use the Series Descriptive Note to duplicate information adequately covered in other series elements or in related agency and person registrations.

Use the Archivist Note to include administrative details that are needed for management purposes (and not of interest to external clients) and which ought to be separate from descriptive information.

Relative importance

This field should be completed for registrations documenting high value records; and may be completed in other cases (category 4). It can also be valuable as a source of keywords which can be used for searches by staff and users.

Sources of information

Examine the records and information provided by agency staff and users of the records.

Standards for content

Descriptions should be in simple, coherent prose with the aim of making the information as clear as possible for the user. Avoid the use of present tense which may subsequently need revision. Refer to the Macquarie Dictionary, Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers (AGPS) and the National Archives of Australia Style Guide. Formatting requirements are specified in the RecordSearch help text.

To make the note more readable, it may be appropriate to place relevant information, and especially updates, under the given headings and subheadings. However, the use of headings is optional. Short notes may not benefit from headings, especially if they consist of only a paragraph or two. The following headings will appear in the Series Descriptive Note. It is advisable to enter a description at least under the main heading of 'Function and content'.

Main headingsSubheadings
Function and contentRelated legislation
Using the seriesLanguage of material
 Physical characteristics
 System of arrangement and control
 Relationships with other records
Administrative contextProvenance
 Immediate source of acquisition
 Custodial history
 Disposal history
 Publication note
Additional information 
End notes 
Sources 

Amendments

The field should be amended to include developments in the content and function of a continuing series or discovery of other matters requiring explanation.

Application notes

Updating to take account of changes in content and function of a continuing series

The functions or activities documented in a continuing series can change over time and after initial registration and description. Therefore, the description may need to be updated periodically to reflect changes in purpose and content.

Repetition of information already supplied

The Series Descriptive Note can repeat information from other fields if it will add value or it will enable users to make better use of the records. However, avoid simply restating information in the note that is already supplied in other attributes such as the Series Title and Agency Recording.

Complex control and retrieval systems

Where effective identification, retrieval and understanding of records relies on special knowledge of the recordkeeping system used, the Series Descriptive Note for the main series within the recordkeeping system may contain a brief explanation of the operation of the whole recordkeeping system, especially an electronic recordkeeping system that may contain controlling and controlled series. The Series Descriptive Notes of other registered series in the system can then refer users to the main series for additional information, rather than duplicating existing information.

Completing the note entry
Function and content

Briefly describe the functions or activities the series was created to document. If possible, indicate the significance of the records to the agency and how comprehensively they document the matters they deal with. For example, if an agency has more than one file series being created concurrently, the notes on the series should make clear the differences between the purpose, usage and content of the series.

Briefly describe the information content of the series, for example, topics or subjects covered in the records; geographical scope; typical information found etc. For personal records, it is useful to list the types of correspondents, for example, constituents of an electorate. Information about the scope of a correspondence series can often be obtained by consulting the list of indexable headings or subject indexes for the series created by the agency to assist in accessing it.

Mention the names of significant administrative bodies or units whose records are incorporated in the series, but which did not have responsibility for the recordkeeping system and therefore are not shown formerly as agencies recording. (In some cases these bodies will be registered agencies which predate the series accumulation start date but which recorded earlier contents of the series.)

Legislation

Mention any legislation that has a direct bearing on the series or records in it. For example, the Naturalization Act 1963 states in s. 12(1), 'The Minister shall - (c) cause to be made indexes of the certificates of naturalization'. Do not include legislation that established the creating agency unless it is of direct relevance to the records. Follow the method of citation for legislation as published in the current edition of the Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers (AGPS).

Using the series

Explain to researchers how to use the series. Direct researchers to any related records. If describing a series of case files, for example, mention the series which contains the associated policy files.

Explain any significant anomalies in relation to the records that would affect its subsequent use, such as gaps resulting from destruction, large scale top-numbering, double numbering, or unusual block allocations.

Language of material

Indicate the language(s) of the records only if other than English.

Physical characteristics

Indicate the format and nature of the records where this is not already evident from other entries. Mention physical characteristics which limit use, for example, fragility, faded ink, mould, water or insect damage.

System of arrangement and control

Explain the system of arrangement and control and control symbols used if it is complex or unusual and cannot be fully explained in the System of Arrangement and Control attributes, eg

Relationships with other records

If necessary, explain the relationship of the series to other series in the recordkeeping system where the complexity of the relationship is not adequately covered by entries in the controlling, controlled and related series attributes.

Finding aids

Mention the existence, scope, reliability and availability of series-specific finding aids and item lists produced or compiled by the Archives. There is provision to link series with information summaries, which record guides and indexes that refer to series.

Say whether copies made by the Archives exist and how they may be obtained. Where relevant, mention whether the copies cover part or all of the series, the reason the copies were made and whether they are located (available) in all Archives' offices, for example, as for distributed microfilm reference copies. Quantity information will be displayed in the Quantity in Archives attribute. Comments such as the general form of the reproduction may be included.

Administrative context

A brief history of the series may be given, including how and why it was created and terminated. The Series History Note is a separate note for recording conversions and links with previous Accession System transfers. 

Provenance

Describe any unusual changes in the recording agency (especially if there were multiple simultaneous recording agencies).

Immediate source of acquisition

Mention the immediate source of acquisition if records were received from an unexpected source, other than the agency or person recording or controlling.

Custodial history

Use the custodial history subheading to include the following:

1.50m held by CA 8137, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Central Office as at August 1995

This entry may also be used to show quantities of a series in the custody of a person (when they want such information known) or another archival or collecting institution. In such cases, the full title or name should be given, eg
0.20m held by Noel Butlin Archives Centre as at May 1994
Say whether parts of the series and associated material are held by other institutions, such as other archives or libraries, eg
A large part of A1640, Correspondence dockets, NT series, 1868-1911, is held by the State Library of South Australia.
Disposal history

If the series is incomplete, mention any drastic culling, irregular destruction, top-numbering (to and from other series) or missing items. If only a sample of the series is being retained, the basis of sampling should be mentioned, that is, random or selective giving the selection criteria. References to disposal authorisation issues specific to that series can be entered here. References to specific disposal classes may be relevant, but is generally not required.

Publication note

Where known, identify any publications that are based on the use, study or analysis of the series being described as per the bibliographic method described in the National Archives of Australia Style Guide.

Additional information

Mention anything else that has a bearing on the understanding, use or management of the records.

For series previously controlled under the CSIRO system of arrangement and control, enter known references here, and not in the Series History Note which covers former control systems used by the National Archives or the Series Title. There is no need to expand CSIRO/CSR. The reference should read as follows:

This series was formerly CSIRO Archives Series [ ].
End notes and sources

The final part of the Series Descriptive Note should contain any references or sources directly used in the compilation of the registration (including the note).

Unpublished sources, including statements from agency staff and consultants should be cited with care and should respect privacy and confidentiality requirements, if any. Use the Archivist Note to mention information relevant to the preparation of the registration which is more of an internal administrative or 'file note' nature (not suitable for inclusion in the public finding aids). 

Use either end notes or sources, or both under separate headings (where necessary). If end notes only are used, give the full citation as per the first reference method illustrated in the National Archives of Australia Style Manual. If both end notes and sources are given, list the end notes first, the sources second and use the first reference method for the sources and the second reference method for the end notes as illustrated in the National Archives of Australia Style Manual, eg

End notes
1. R Hyslop, 'The Council of Defence 1905-1939', Canberra Historical Journal, no. 27, March 1991, p. 43

or

Sources
R Hyslop, 'The Council of Defence 1905-1939', Canberra Historical Journal, no. 27, March 1991, pp. 40-46

or

End notes
1. Hyslop, Canberra Historical Journal, p. 41
Sources
R Hyslop, 'The Council of Defence 1905-1939', Canberra Historical Journal, no. 27, March 1991, pp. 40-46

When citing archival records as sources or end notes, follow the style set out for the citations of National Archives of Australia material in the National Archives of Australia Style Manual, eg

End notes
1. National Archives of Australia (ACT): A816/1; 2/301/443

Exercise care when citing or providing information from records that are not yet open for public access.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.2.2, 3.2.4, 3.2.5, 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.4,3.4.2, 3.4.3, 3.4.4, 3.4.5, 3.4.6, 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.5, 3.6.1

Series Converted From Note

Definition

A Series Converted From Note records links to series under which one or more items were  previously controlled. . This should not be confused with previous series.

Purpose

The note contains details about records that were previously controlled under another series, described within the standards of the CRS System. The note also enables a textual explanation as to the reason for the conversion and if all or part of the series was converted. The note also records conversions of unserialised accessesions where the normal standards of the CRS System for series was not applied.

Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2). This information provides part of the history of the records while in the Archives custody.

Sources of information

The sources of information for conversion is usually relevant series documentation and annotations on the records.

Standards for content

There are no validations on the entries in this note so it is important to record the information accurately.

 Enter control numbers as they are normally cited, without spaces, eg

A7215 - wholly converted; AA1980/420; VA1984/662 - portion only

Amendments

References in this note should not be deleted as they form part of the accountability and history of custodial responsibility for a series. Information can be added over time. Do not include in this note references to series formerly controlled by the CSIRO series. Include such references where they are known in the Additional information subheading in the Series Descriptive Note.

Application notes

As well as entering accession and control numbers, each separated by a semicolon, use this note to document complex features of the conversion or previous relationships.

Note that not all instances of conversion have yet been recorded in this note.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.5.3

Previous Accession System Transfers Note

Definition

The Previous Accession System Transfers Note is a note to record links to previous archival control systems of the National Archives  that once described the records. This should not be confused with previous series.

Purpose

The note contains details about records that are controlled under the Accession System or as unserialised accessions but which, if controlled under or converted to the CRS System, would be considered to be parts of the same series, for example, an annual single number correspondence file series. For more information about the Accession System, refer to the Introduction.

Relative importance

Category 2 - must be present where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management. The note forms part of the history of the records while in the Archives' custody.

Sources of information

For Accession System series most of the existing data has been taken from the 'related series' section of the Accession System form CA 17 (series identification sheet). In this context 'related' meant previous Accession System transfers within the same theoretical series. This is not the same as Related Series under the CRS System. Some information was also taken from pink accession histories (NAS139P) which were used with the pink series registration sheet (NAS39P) as an interim arrangement between the Accession System and the CRS System in the NSW and WA regions and to a lesser extent in Victoria. Examination of the records and reference to control documentation. Standards for content

There are no validations on the entries in this note so it is important to record the information accurately.

Accession System accession series number(s) only, without transfer record references, eg

CP451/2; MT421/1 - portion only

Amendments

If records controlled under Accession System are destroyed or withdrawn for sentencing then the appropriate code in the Public visibility and Availability code for that series will indicate its status. References in this note should not be deleted as they form part of the accountability and history of custodial responsibility for a series. Details can be added to this field, usually as the result of detailed arrangement and description.

Application notes

As well as entering numbers each separated by a semicolon, notes about complex feature of the conversion or previous relationship can be documented.

It should be noted that not all instances of previous accession system transfers have yet been recorded in this note.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.5.3

Access Conditions Note

Definition

An Access Conditions Note documents the access regime that applies to the series being registered, where it is not covered by the Archives Act, or if covered by the Archives Act deserves special mention.

Purpose

The purpose of the note is to specify whether any special restrictions or limitations apply outside the governments normal access policy. Use the note in conjunction with the attribute of Ownership other than Commonwealth. Copyright restrictions are not covered in this note.

Relative importance

This field should be completed where applicable (category 3).

Sources of information

Sources include the agency or person controlling in consultation with staff responsible for access examination.

Standards for content

Describe in general terms the variant nature of the access conditions, eg

Amendments

The note will need to be amended when limitations or restrictions are imposed or removed after the initial registration.

Application notes

Complete this entry only if special restrictions or permissions apply to some or all of the records in the series. Do not confuse this attribute with copyright status, the availability of the items for reproduction or restrictions on use for preservation reasons.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.4.2

Series Unregistered Links Note

Definition

A Series Unregistered Links Note contains textual, unvalidated information on relationships between series and their provenance that have not been formally registered in the CRS System.

Purpose

The purpose of this note is to keep in one place information about relationships with other series and provenance that have not been formerly registered in the CRS System. Much of the information is out of date and incomplete and of minimal value to those searching for records. This note is not intended to be used for new registration activity, but revised and removed where appropriate.

Relative importance

This field should not be used for new registrations (category 4). This note is intended for internal staff management purposes only and is not contained in the standard descriptive reports.

Sources of information

For information, consult agency surveys and secondary sources, and examine the records.

Standards for content

No new entries should be made in this note. If a new entry is considered necessary for internal management purposes, then it may be more appropriate to create an Archivist Note. Important information about the provenance of a series can be included in the Provenance subheading of the Series Descriptive note.

Amendments

Entries should be checked to assess whether registration has occurred, in which case the entry here should be removed.

Application notes

This is a text note, so no validation is made on the entries. The information that has been entered from other fields will have minimal formatting. This field is not intended to be used for new registrations and revision should see the information removed over time.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.4.1, 3.5.3,

Series retention note

Definition

This attribute contains textual, unvalidated  information about the disposal authorities applicable for that series. 

Purpose

The purpose of this note is to record information relating to the disposal coverage of that series, details of impending coverage and other general information. A legacy use of this attribute has also been to record access conditions where the series was not subject to the Archives Act. This mainly applied to Personal Records and Corporate Archives. In RecordSearch there is now a separate note to record non standard access conditions. 

Relative importance

Category 4 - should not be used for new registrations. 

Sources of information

Agency surveys and secondary sources, examination of the records

Standards for content

As accurate reference to disposal authorities is recommended. If there are various, then broadly describe the functions covered by the disposal authorities. For new registrations it is recommended that the relevant information is recorded in the Descriptive Note. 

Amendments

Information may be updated in this text field. If there is significant information about access conditions then the information should be placed in the Access Conditions Note.

Application notes

This is a text note, so no validation is made on the entries. The information that has been entered from previous attributes will have minimal formatting. It is intended that this field is not used for new registrations and that revision will see the information removed over time.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.3.2

Series Archivist Note

Definition

A Series Archivist Note is a note for file to record management decisions about use and control of an item or series. This note is intended for internal staff use only but should not contain sensitive information as it may be consulted to assist public access to an item.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to record decisions about the series or items within that series, or observations made by Archives staff for the benefit of those responsible for the management and control of that series. It is the electronic note for file that used to be recorded on the series file. Each of the notes is treated as a transaction and cannot be altered once it has been captured by RecordSearch. Therefore, it will enable documentation of the history of the series over time. The note is not intended to contain sensitive information, rather management information of minimal value to those outside the Archives.

Relative importance

The note is essential to record unusual features about the storage or usage of an item or the whole series. It should be completed if necessary (category 2).

Sources of information

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

Standards for content

This is a text note. There are no subheadings within this note, and the content could refer to a specific item, the whole series or a specific transfer of that series. Check spelling and punctuation carefully before saving, as others will read or make reference to the note over time.

Amendments

Once a note is captured by RecordSearch against a series number, it cannot be amended again. A further note must be created for additional information. A series could well have several rchivist notes over time.

Application notes

The note can be copied to create an additional note for similar issues that relate to another series, but once it is then captured, 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 to identify what information about the management of a series 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): 3.6