Course:3: Processing
Lesson:Lesson 4: Description
Topic:More About Description

More About Description

The Process

You began the descriptive work when you accessioned the records. (We covered accessioning in Course 2.) At that stage you began to understand and document the contents and physical nature of the records. When you began getting ready to process the collection by researching the creator, reviewing the records, and deciding on an arrangement scheme, you continued to gather descriptive information.

The preservation work you do on a collection also affects the description. Refoldering and relabeling materials results in a list of folders, which can serve as an inventory of the records.

What Will Your Description Include?

A description of your historical records collections should provide enough information to allow you both to manage and to provide appropriate access to the collection. It will include information about:

        The location of the collection on the shelves

        The source of the collection

        The content of the collection

What Descriptive Tools Do You Need?

Descriptive tools range from catalogs to sophisticated computer systems.  In this course, we will offer a simple, streamlined approach to description that you can adapt to your own programís needs and existing processes.


Tip icon

Now's the time to use the notes you took during the arrangement process.



While there are many kinds of descriptive tools, we're recommending a simple and streamlined approach.