CRS Manual - Agency and person recording and controlling

Agency recording

Definition

The agency recording is the agency that created or maintained a series of records as part of its recordkeeping system.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to indicate the administrative context from which the series being described emerged, and to provide an access point to the records.

Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2). Each series must have at least one registered agency recording if the series is not recorded solely by a person. It is possible to also refer to additional unregistered agencies recording separately in the series descriptive note.

Sources of information

Refer to the records themselves to find evidence of the agency or agencies recording the series. In the case of files, check:

Where there is no clear indication of the creator on the records, circumstantial evidence may be sufficient, eg

Standards for content

There are several elements for the Agency Recording attribute: series number, agency recording number, start date, end date, and comments (optional). However, for general purposes agency recording may be thought of as comprising the agency number and title, the date range the agency recorded the series, and a comment. The full date format is day-month-year, characterised as DD Mon YYYY, for example, 15 Jan 1951, though month and year, or year only can be used if more specific information is not available.

Amendments

In a continuing series, a new agency recording may need to be added following administrative changes. You need to confirm that the series is actually being continued by the new agency before adding it to the entry. When a series ends, check the agency recording entries to ensure that all relevant agencies are included and the date ranges of recording relationships are closed off. When updating agency recording information, check any unregistered agencies recording to determine whether they have subsequently been registered if so, delete the entry in the Unregistered Links Note and update the registered Agency Recording linkage.

Application notes

A series may be recorded by several successive agencies, or (more rarely) by more than one agency at the same time. Unless specifically authorised by another procedure, one or more agencies recording should cover the lifespan of the series, that is, the accumulation date range. While these agencies may already be registered in the control system, in many cases it will be necessary to register new agencies and, less often, new organisations in order to complete the Agency Recording field (see the relevant policies and procedures for registration and description of agencies and organisations).

Outsourcing of work to non-Commonwealth bodies

Commonwealth records which are generated in an outsourcing arrangement should be treated as records of the Commonwealth agency that delegates the work.

Note the relevant agency of the Commonwealth as the recording agency for these records, which will remove the need to register a new organisation. Where the consultant or contractor is a high profile organisation or person, and is closely identified with the project they are undertaking for the Commonwealth, it may be justified to include the consultant or contractor in series registrations (in series titles comments fields against agency recording or notes) to improve accessibility.

Personal records series containing Commonwealth records

In cases where a person has recorded a series that contains Commonwealth records or the series was accumulated as a result of the persons association with the Commonwealth, the relevant agency or agencies with which the person was associated are normally regarded as joint recorders of the series with the person. In such cases use the comments field to indicate the office of the agency from which the records emerged, eg

Agency recording:
01 Jan 1950- 31 Dec 1964: CA 5 Attorney-General's Department, Central Office - Solicitor-General's Office
Person recording:
01 Jan 1950- 31 Dec 1964: CP 71 Sir Kenneth Hamilton BAILEY CBE, QC
Date range of recording - relationship between agencies and series

The date range of recording (included for each agency recording) shows the date the agency started to record the series and the date it ceased to record the series. Aim to identify the date range of the relationship with accuracy to no more than month and year except where exact dates are easily identified, such as where a change in agency recording coincides with agency start/end dates or a known administrative arrangement change. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt.

Expression of dates

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Date range conventions

Start date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Start date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

End date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

End date

1978

November 1978

23 November 1978

 

Some points of logic apply when establishing relationships between an agency recording and a series. Where there are multiple successive agencies recording a series, the relationship start date for each agency (after the first) should, in most cases, follow on without a gap from the end date of the previous agency recording. When the series ends, indicate that the agency recording relationships end at the same time, eg

A9787, Council of Defence minutes and agenda papers, single number series, (Date Range: by 31 May 1905 - by 31 Jul 1950)
Agency recording:
By 31 May 1905 23 Apr 1918: CA 482 Council of Defence [I]
23 Apr 1918 - 13 Apr 1921: CA 1345 Council of Defence [II]
13 Apr 1921 - 09 Apr 1935: CA 8054 Council of Defence [III]
09 Apr 1935 - by 31 Jul 1950: CA 8055Council of Defence [IV]

The dates of creation and abolition of the agency recording must be in harmony with the accumulation date range, for example, a series which started in 1950 cannot have an agency recording which was abolished before 1950.

Contents date range outside accumulation date range

Where the series contents date range is outside the series (accumulation) date range, and none of the formal agencies recording was responsible for adding to the content, mention the agency or agencies that created or added the material (if known) in the Series Descriptive Note. This will provide a means (through text retrieval) of linking the series with the non-recording agencies that contributed the additional contents. An example is where a register ceases to be used for new registrations but entries continue to be annotated by successor agencies. Another example is where all the records of a series as yet unregistered by the Archives, are top-numbered into another series, which is registered by the Archives. In this instance the agency recording the unregistered Series can be mentioned in the Administrative context subheading of the Series Descriptive Note.

Level of agency to attribute as agency recording

Unless authorised by another procedure, attribute a series to the agency or agencies (as per the approved definition) that actually recorded it, not to a superior agency in the same administrative structure. If the series was recorded by an agency such as a regional office of a department, it should be attributed to that office rather than the central office of the same department.

Agency recording for copies

The agency recording for copies is conventionally the agency recording the originals. Where the Archives has made the copy, indicate this at item level. You can also refer to this in the descriptive note.

Shared recordkeeping systems

In some cases, two or more institutions (or units thereof) will share a recordkeeping system for administrative purposes. This may lead to distinct government functions administered by several Departments of State being documented in the one series. In such cases, to assist understanding and subsequent management based on functional responsibilities, indicate that the series has a joint recording relationship with each of the bodies concerned. This is preferred to attributing the series to one hybrid 'agency' that arose out of administrative convenience. In the following example there are four separate agencies in creating the series, even though only one agency managed the recordkeeping system.

A1313, Correspondence files, annual single number series, 1959-1989
Agency recording:
17 Dec 1963 - 19 Dec 1972: CA 66 Department of Trade and Industry, Central Office
19 Dec 1972 - 20 Dec 1977: CA 1485 Department of Overseas Trade, Central Office
19 Dec 1972 - 12 Jun 1974: CA 1487 Department of Secondary Industry, Central Office portion 1973/1-1973/4000 and block 1973/5001-1973/9000 relating to secondary industry including Australian Industry Development Corporation, Industrial Research and Development Grants Board
19 Dec 1972 - 22 Dec 1975: CA 1491 Department of Tourism and Recreation, Central Office - portion 1973/1-1973/4000 and block 1973/4001-1973/5000 relating to tourism and recreation, including Australian Tourist Commission
Printed/published material

Take care in identifying the agency recording for printed or published material. The agency recording is the body which incorporated the material into its recordkeeping system - this is often not the agency which printed or published a map, leaflet, book, report etc. To determine the agency recording in these instances, check the material for control symbols, registry stamps etc; consult the staff of the agency transferring the records; or for older material already in Archives' custody, identify the agency transferring and the function involved.

Comments field

You may add a brief comment to an agency recording entry to indicate the particular section, branch, division or program within the agency that created the series. This is most useful for indicating the provenance of specific series of operational records relating to an administrative unit, where the unit itself does not meet the criteria for agency registration. For example, a series 'Master set of technical standards issued' could be shown as recorded by the agency 'Department of Public Efficiency, Central Office' with the added comment 'Internal Audit Section'. Do not include the name of the records management unit, for example, registry, in the Comments field as it will be presumed that some such unit maintained the system unless otherwise specified.

An entry in the Comments field does not form part of the official agency title, and it is not used for subsequent management within the control system. However, the comment does appear in descriptive information that has agency recording details, thereby making the comment a way of identifying the precise source of a series within an agency. For example, the entry for the previous example would appear on the inventory of series for the Department of Public Efficiency, Central Office as: 'Internal Audit Section: Master set of technical standards issued'.

The Comments field may also be used to indicate the particular portion of a series recorded by an agency if it was only responsible for limited aspects. For example, see above for A1313.

For A1313, the agency recording comment is better understood by reference to the Series Descriptive Note which explains that the Department of Overseas Trade (CA 1485) was the principal successor to the Department of Trade and Industry (CA 66) which was abolished in December 1972 and, as such, inherited the Trade and Industry registry system. This registry also serviced the two 'new' Departments of Secondary Industry (CA 1487) and Tourism and Recreation (CA 1491) from their creation until they were able to set up their own registry systems at the beginning of 1974. This is an example of multiple agencies recording a series (or portions of it) at the same time.

Comments entries for joint agency recording with person

In cases where an agency is shown as jointly recording with a person, indicate the office within the agency or agencies concerned. The preferred forms of reference in the Comment entry are: Minister's Office, Secretary's Office, Prime Minister's Office, Attorney General's Office etc, rather than 'Office of the ...'. In some cases, however, you may need to indicate a full title because of the awkwardness of contracting it, for example, Office of the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women.

The purpose of the comment here is to clearly indicate the source of the records. The office of origin will show in conjunction with the series title in the inventories of series for both the agency and persons concerned.

Documenting an unregistered agency recording

Only document an unregistered agency recording in cases where knowledge of the unregistered agency provides important context, but for some reason the agency cannot yet be registered, or is outside the Archives' sphere of operations, such as a Government Business Enterprise (GBE).

In general, all agencies or persons that record a series should be registered in order to provide access points to the series. Do not create unregistered entries to save time or avoid the registration process for agencies that should be registered according to the Archives' policies. Nor should the unregistered entries be used for information that is unconfirmed: a more appropriate area for this sort of information is the Unregistered Links Note, where an explanation may be given.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.2.1

 

Person recording

Definition

The person recording is the person who created or maintained a series of records.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to provide the administrative context from which the series being described emerged, and to provide an access point to the records.

Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2). Each series must have at least one registered person recording if it is not recorded solely by an agency. It is possible to refer to additional unregistered persons recording in a separate field in the series descriptive note.

Sources of information

For evidence of the person recording a series consult the records themselves and/or the person or agency transferring the series.

Standards for content

There are several elements for the Person Recording entry: series number, person recording number, start date, end date, and comments (optional). However, for general purposes person recording may be thought of as comprising the person number and name, the date range the person recorded the series, and a comment. The full date format is day-month-year, characterised as DD Mon YYYY, for example, 15 Jan 1951, though month and year, or year only can also be used.

Amendments

If a new person recording begins an association with a continuing series, that person recording (and the dates he or she recorded the series) will need to be added. When a series ends, the Person Recording entries should be checked to ensure that all relevant persons are included and the date ranges of recording relationship are closed off.

If updating person recording information, check whether any unregistered persons recording have subsequently been registered - if so, delete the entry in the Unregistered Links Note and update the registered Person Recording linkage.

Application notes

A Person Recording entry is functionally similar to an Agency Recording entry, and many of the principles of attributing an agency recording also apply to persons. Note that a series can have one or more recording persons.

Check whether the person recording is already registered in the control system and register a new person if necessary. The date range the person recorded the series is required, although in most cases this will coincide with the whole series (accumulation) date range. Aim to identify the date range of the relationship to the month and year, using a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt.

For information about persons recording a series jointly with an agency, see 'Agency Recording' in section 5.15. See also the Personal Records Service Manual for further details about person recording information.

Comments field

Use the Comments field to help explain joint recording arrangements. This may be useful if there were clear distinctions between the roles of the persons concerned.

Documenting an unregistered person recording

Only document an unregistered person recording where knowledge of the unregistered person provides important context, but for some reason the person cannot yet be registered, or is outside the Archives' sphere of operations; for example, an heir to a personal records collection who collated, arranged or described the records (but was not the principal creator of the records).

In general, register all agencies or persons that record a series in order to provide access points to the series. Do not use unregistered links entries to save time or avoid the registration process for persons that should be registered according to the Archives' policies. Nor should the unregistered linkage entries be used for information that is unconfirmed: for this sort of information use the Unregistered Links Note, where an explanation maybe given.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.2.1

 

Agency controlling

Definition

An agency controlling is an agency currently responsible for some or all of the functions or legislation documented in records within a series. The agency controlling does not necessarily have to have recorded any records in the series.

Purpose

Under the Commonwealths archives regime, agencies retain certain responsibilities relating to disposal and access of records. However, under the Archives Act 1983    s. 24(4) relating to destruction and s. 30(1) relating to availability, the onus is on the Archives to identify the Commonwealth institution from which it received records or the Commonwealth institution that has inherited the relevant functions of that institution. The Agency Controlling attribute allows the Archives to readily identify the agencies responsible for records for these and other management purposes, including charging for storage and related services. Therefore, the aim is to have at least one agency controlling relationship for extant records in the series.

Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2). Each series must have at least one agency controlling if it is not controlled solely by a person. Absent, out-of-date or incorrect agency controlling information may cause delays and errors in lending, charging, disposal or access arrangements with controlling agencies, particularly at the sub-series levels of description and control, for example, consignments and items.

Although maintaining up-to-date agency controlling information for all series is desirable and theoretically possible, in practice, it is very labour intensive. Priority attention should be given to meeting internal management needs where the Archives is currently dealing (or likely to deal) with agencies concerning lending, charging, disposal or access arrangements. Priority should be given to updating agency controlling for series with consignments in custody, particularly:

Sources of information

For information analyse Administrative Arrangements Orders and Government Directories and information supplied by agencies. You may need to examine the records in some cases.

Standards for content

There are several elements for the Agency Controlling entry: the agency number and title, the start date the agency commenced control of the series (or in the case of a defunct agency, also the end date the agency ceased control of the series) and a comment (optional). The full date format is day-month-year, characterised as DD Mon YYYY, for example, 15 Jan 1951, though month and year, or year only can also be used.

Expression of dates

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Date range conventions

Start date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Start date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

End date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

End date

1978

November 1978

23 November 1978

Amendments

The entry needs to be updated whenever some or all of a series comes under the control of a different agency. Remove superseded entries after update. For significant series, transfer the historic agency controlling information to the Series Descriptive Note.

Application notes

A series can have more than one agency controlling it at any one time. Whether completing the entry for a new series or updating an existing one, show the current agency or agencies only. You may need to confirm that the agency is still operating and, if necessary, register one or more new agencies to the relevant standard.

If there have been unusual or unexpected changes of controlling agency or custodian over the life of the series, mention these in the Series Descriptive Note. Otherwise, a legitimate transmission of control (and custody) will be assumed according to the Administrative Arrangements Orders.

Outsourcing of work to non-Commonwealth bodies

Records which are created and maintained through an outsourcing arrangement should be treated as records of the Commonwealth agency that delegates the work.

The relevant agency of the Commonwealth should be noted as the controlling agency for such records. The outsourcing arrangement should be mentioned in the series descriptive note.

Dates of controlling - relationship between agencies and series

Only the start date is required since the agency or agencies controlling should be current. An end date should only be entered for a defunct agency where the current agency controlling is not documented, and it should be entered in the Comments field (see below). The start date for the agency or joint agencies controlling should give the date each agency started to control the series. This start date does not necessarily coincide with the accumulation date range or the commencement date of the agency, but often does.

For want of better information, for defunct agencies, the end date for the agency controlling relationship may be entered in the Comments field as the date of abolition (end date) of the last confirmed agency controlling. Where the dates used correspond to a start or end date of an agency or series care should be taken to ensure that the dates are entered correctly.

Comments field

Where a series has multiple current controlling agencies, indicate the major functions each controls as part of the comment. The comment should be succinct and, if possible, match a term from the CRS Thesaurus (the function itself should appear in lower case), eg

Comments: for tourism

Because the accuracy of agency controlling information has an important bearing on the Archives' relationships with agencies, it is important to try to confirm the controlling relationships data that is entered.

Sometimes with older, functionally complex series it can be difficult for a current agency to recognise and accept its control responsibilities. In such cases, work done to confirm that a relationship exists should be documented on file and mentioned in the Agency Controlling/Comments entry, eg

Comments: for tourism (confirmed July 1995)

Where the relationship has not been or cannot be confirmed, this should be mentioned, eg

Comments: for health (unconfirmed April 1995)

Determining every current agency controlling for large, functionally complex series may not be practical because of the detailed examination of individual items that this might require. In such cases, aim to cover the major functions covering the bulk of the series.

In cases where a current controlling agency cannot be established for a series (or consignment) use the most recent controlling agency that it has been possible to trace. Decisions not to continue updating agency controlling beyond a certain date, for example, where there is difficulty in tracing information about records of uncertain fate outside the Archives' custody, may be documented using the comments entry as follows:

Comments: [entry no longer updated from June 1993]

Where it is considered essential to indicate the date an agency ceased controlling a series (rare), describe as follows in the Comments field:

Comments: controlled until 1972
Level of agency to attribute as agency controlling

Hierarchical relationships between agencies within an institution can mean that 'superior' agencies (and ultimately the Minister responsible) control records relating to the whole of their functions, regardless of whether, at a local level, the records are attributed to their 'subordinate' agencies. In most cases the controlling power of superior agencies can be assumed, and records attributed to agencies controlling at the hierarchical level most suitable for pragmatic day-to-day management. It can also be assumed that superior agencies will consult subordinate controlling agencies when necessary. In some cases internal agreements are made within departments to preserve confidentiality or respect the statutory interests of subordinate agencies.

While the Archives abides by the principle not to issue records to agencies that do not control them, the Archives, ultimately, cannot interfere in the internal politics of an institution.

Controlling agency for copies

Where the Archives has made copies of original records for reference or preservation purposes, the agency with functional responsibility remains responsible for the originals. However, different aspects of control over the copies may be shared by the agency and the Archives, and this needs to be ascertained before making the entry. Where this is the case, indicate in the Comments fields for each agency the extent of their control over the copies. Often the Archives' office that made the copies will be indicated as an agency controlling the series in respect of the copies only, eg

Comments: controls disposal of copies only

The agency inheriting the function recorded by the series may have an entry similar to the following:

Comments: controls original series and controls access to copies
Controlling agency for donated records

The agency controlling records which have been donated to the Commonwealth or to a Commonwealth institution is the Archives office holding the records or the Commonwealth institution respectively.

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.4.1

 

Person controlling

Definition

A person controlling is a person who owns or has legal authority to determine access to, and disposal of, private records within a series. It is also a person who, during his or her lifetime, is deemed to have certain privileges in relation to the Commonwealth records in a series.

Purpose

The purpose of this field is to facilitate ongoing management of the series, mainly for access and disposal purposes.

Relative importance

This field must be completed where applicable, to provide essential context or facilitate management (category 2). List each person controlling if there is more than one and if the series is not controlled solely by an agency. It is possible to refer to unregistered persons controlling in the descriptive note, but this practice is not recommended.

Sources of information

Sources include the person recording, depositor or estate, through liaison by the Archives program primarily responsible for personal records.

Standards for content

There are several elements: person number, name, date range of control and a comment (optional). Personal privacy considerations may apply - check for relevant agreements made between the Archives and the person controlling not to disclose personal information. The full date format is day-month-year, characterised as DD Mon YYYY, for example, 15 Jan 1951, though month and year, or year only can also be used.

Expression of dates

All dates in predetermined date fields are subject to validation to facilitate searching, sorting, validations and consistency in reports. It is not necessary to enter day, month and year if the full date is not known. Use a date qualifier only if the year is in doubt. (Unless notes are kept to indicate the part or parts of the date to which a qualifier applies, the use of the qualifier can be misleading, especially when just year ranges and qualifiers are presented in reports.)

Date range conventions

Start date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

Start date

1952

May 1952

23 May 1952

End date qualifier

(only if year is in doubt)

circa

by

End date

1978

November 1978

23 November 1978

Amendments

This attribute does not need to be updated when changes in person controlling take place that would involve registering a person who does not fit the usual criteria for registration as a Commonwealth Person. Remove superseded entries after update. Whenever person controlling information is updated, check to see whether any unregistered persons controlling have subsequently been registered - if so, delete the entry in the Unregistered Links Note and update the registered person controlling linkage.

Application notes

There can be one or more persons controlling for a single series. Similar considerations apply as for agency controlling. In practice, the Person Controlling field is seldom updated beyond the entry made at the time of transfer of a personal record series. See the Personal Records Service Manual for further information.

Documenting an unregistered person controlling

Make a reference to any unregistered persons who control a portion of the series in the Series Descriptive Note or as a comment against the registered person controlling. This could apply where the person dies and the estate inherits records, eg

        Person controlling: CP852 May Lynch controlled by estate of ..

        Person controlling: CP852 May Lynch controlled by David Lynch

Relationship to ISAD(G): 3.4.1