Standards for Archival Description: A Handbook
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The number of full entries in this section is rightfully small. It stands to reason that any particular professional group will use a single glossary as the primary source for standard definitions of its terminology. The Society of American Archivists has just released a new glossary and it is safe to assume that this volume will be accepted as that primary source for archivists and manuscript curators working in the U.S. for the next several years.

The other two full entries are for dictionaries of terminology, one on archives and one on conservation, compiled by the International Council on Archives. They serve a broader purpose than the SAA glossary, for they attempt to harmonize usage among six major languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Russian. As international cooperation becomes more common, it is essential that archivists have tools like this to facilitate communication and understanding among professionals in different nations.

As the Bellardos point out in the preface to the new SAA Glossary, "such a compilation of terminology serves to mark the current limits of professional concerns and responsibilities" and the intensive study of usage can provide great insight into the evolution of a profession. What the compilers found was a significant increase in the interdisciplinary nature of archival practice. "Archivists are reaching out anew to records management, while manuscript curators and archivists are managing their materials in increasingly similar ways. Records management is merging with information management, and the possibilities and constraints posed by the computer pervade all disciplines. As a result, professional boundaries are blurring, the terminology of the three professions is rapidly changing and blending, and in many cases nomenclature is less clear than a generation ago."1

While Webster's defines a glossary as "A collection of ... terms limited to a special area of knowledge or usage," the limits of archival practice are expanding rapidly in many directions. Archivists working in this environment need to be aware of standard sources from a range of allied professions to respond to these interdisciplinary demands. Therefore, the full entries for the SAA and ICA glossaries are followed by an extensive list of similar sources in the fields of library and information science, records and information management, museology, micrographics and imaging, preservation and conservation, and data processing and information systems.

A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators,
and Records Managers

Paper (46 p.). ISBN 0-931828-80-5.
Available from SAA. $19.00 members; $25.00 nonmembers.

Development, approval, and maintenance:

Lewis Bellardo and Lynn Lady Bellardo, compilers, for the Society of American Archivists. SAA has not established a formal maintenance process for this glossary. However, the compilers recommend in their preface that "the major national and international organizations representing archivists, manuscript curators, and records managers establish standing committees on terminology and mechanisms to ensure continuing liaison among those organizations."

Scope and structure:

The terms chosen for this glossary encompass the practices of three closely allied professional groups: archivists, manuscript curators, and records managers. They reflect usage of English-speaking archivists in North America. In those few cases when practices in the U.S. and Canada diverge, the resulting terminological differences are noted. The compilers also included a few European and Australian terms that convey important archival concepts but have no North American equivalents.

Entries for each preferred term include a definition plus cross references to related terms. Parenthetical notes indicate when the definition is drawn directly from another source. Cross references are also provided from nonpreferred to preferred terms. The volume concludes with a bibliographic essay and list of sources.

The compilers state that they "did not include terms if professional usage was clearly the same as the standard dictionary meaning." They did, however, place a special emphasis on including a number of document types because their use is central to archival practice.

Related standards:

The compilers of the SAA Glossary used the definitions given in the 1984 edition of the International Council on Archives Dictionary of Archival Terminology, changing them only when North American usage differed significantly. The 1988 edition of the ICA Dictionary is significantly different from the earlier version, omitting North American usage in some cases and using dated definitions in others.

The 1992 SAA Glossary supersedes the Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers compiled by Frank B. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson and edited by William L. Rofes (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1974; also published in the American Archivist 37 (July 1974): 415-433.)

Dictionary of Archival Terminology:
English and French with Equivalents in Dutch, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish

2nd ed., 1988.
International Council on Archives, Handbook no. 7.
Cloth (212 p.). ISBN 3-598-20279-2.
Available from K.G. Saur. Price: $43.00.

Development, approval, and maintenance:

Compiled by a committee of the International Council on Archives (ICA), Peter Walne, editor.

Scope and structure:

The entry for each of the 486 terms defined in the glossary contains the term itself in both English and French, definitions also in English and French, plus a list of equivalent terms when they exist in Dutch, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. The terms are sorted alphabetically using the English version. Numerous cross references are provided. When English terms are peculiar to a specific country, they are annotated with "UK" or "US" as appropriate. Indexes for the six languages other than English are also included.

Related standards:

The Dictionary of Archival Terminology, 2nd ed., is Volume 7 of the ICA Handbooks Series. It supersedes the 1984 DAT which was published as Volume 3 of the ICA Handbook Series. The earlier version is more compatible with North American usage.

Glossary of Basic Archival and Library Conservation Terms:
English with Equivalents in Spanish,
German, Italian, French, and Russian

International Council on Archives, Handbook no. 4.
Cloth (151 p.). ISBN 3-598-20276-8.
Available from K.G. Saur. $37.50.

Development, approval, and maintenance:

Compiled by the Committee on Conservation and Restoration, International Council on Archives (ICA); Carmen Crespo Noguiera, editor.

Scope and structure:

The ICA committee compiling this glossary "hopes the Glossary will be of service to anyone wishing to interpret and properly understand the conservation literature published in a language different from that of the user, that it will assist in the exchange of accurate information on conservation subjects between colleagues of differing nationalities, and that it will be a point of departure for glossaries of greater scope."

For each preferred term, the entry includes a brief definition plus equivalent terms in Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Russian. Cross references from nonpreferred to preferred terms are given. The entries are arranged alphabetically according to the term in English. Separate indexes are provided for each of the other languages.


Arranged by topic.


ISO 5127. Documentation and information--Vocabulary. ISO Technical Committee 46. Available from ANSI. Copies of draft standards (DIS) available from NISO.

Part 1: Basic concepts (1983). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 2: Traditional documents (1983). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 3: Iconic documents (1988). Paper (17 p.). $43.00.
Part 3A (will become Part 5): Acquisition, identification and analysis of documents and data (1981). Paper (23 p.). $48.00.
Part 4 (DIS): Archival documents.
Part 6: Documentary languages (1983).
Part 7 (DIS): Retrieval and dissemination of information.
Part 8 (DIS): Reprography of documents.
Part 9 (DIS): Administration and organization of archives, libraries, documentation centres and museums.
Part 10 (DIS): Legal aspects of information and documentation: Literary, artistic and industrial property (copyright/patents).
Part 11: Audio-visual documents (1987). $30.00.
Part 12 (DIS): Legal aspects of information and documentation: Data protection.
Part 13 (DIS): Museum documents.
Part 14 (DIS): Storage and preservation of documents.

Records and information management

A Federal Records Management Glossary. 1993. National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Records Administration. 39 p. Available from NARA. Free of charge.

"Glossary for Electronic Archives and Records Management," Annex V in Management of Electronic Records: Issues and Guidelines. 1990. Lynn Cox, comp.; Advisory Committee for the Co-ordination of Information Systems, United Nations. Available from UN. $35.00.

Glossary of Records Management Terms. 1989. Association of Records Managers and Administrators. Paper (22 p.). ISBN 0-933887-13-2. Available from ARMA. $20.00.

"Information Resources Management: A Glossary of Terms," in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, p. 92-161. Volume 41, 1986. 70 p. Available from Marcel Dekker.

Library and information science

The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science. American Library Association; Heartsill Young. 1983. Cloth (261 p.). ISBN 0-8389-0371-1. LC 82-18512. Out of print.

A Dictionary of Acronyms and Abbreviations in Library and Information Science, 2nd ed., 1985. R. Tayyeb and K. Chandna; Canadian Library Association. Available in U.S. from ALA. $20.00.

Dictionary of Information Science: English, French, German, Russian. 1989. E. Burger, ed. Cloth (2 vols., 903 p.). ISBN 0-444-98904-8. Available from Elsevier Science Publishing Co. $202.75.

Glossary of the Book: Terms Used in Papermaking, Prints, Bookbinding and Publishing with Notes on Illuminated Manuscripts and Private Presses. 2nd ed., rev., 1979. Geoffrey Ashall Glaister. Cloth (551 p.). Published by University of California Press. Out of print.

Harrod's Librarian's Glossary of Terms Used in Librarianship, Documentation, and the Book Crafts and Reference Book. 7th ed., 1990. Ray Prytherch; Leonard Montague Harrod, advisory editor. Cloth (672 p.). ISBN 0-566-03620-7. Available from Gower. $89.95.

The Librarians' Thesaurus: A Concise Guide to Library and Information Terms. 1990. American Library Association; Mary Ellen Soper, et al. Paper (164 p.). ISBN 0-8389-0530-7. LC 90-147. Available from ALA. $20.00.

Micrographics and imaging

AIIM TR2-1992. Glossary of Imaging Technology. Paper (79 p.). Available from AIIM. $30.00 members; $35.00 nonmembers.

ISO 6196 Micrographics--Vocabulary. Available from ANSI. Copies of draft standards (DIS) available from AIIM.

Section 01: General terms (1980). Paper (12 p.). $33.00.
Section 02: Image positions and methods of recording (1982). Paper (10 p.). $30.00.
Part 3: Film processing (1983). Paper (12 p.). $33.00.
Part 4: Materials and packaging (1987). Paper (24 p.). $51.00.
Part 5: Quality of images, legibility, inspection (1987). Paper (24 p.). $51.00.
Part 6: Equipment (1992). Paper (29 p.). $53.00.
Part 7: Computer micrographics (1992). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 8 (DIS): Application processes and techniques necessary for the distribution and use of microforms.

Audiovisual Material Glossary. 1988. Nancy B. Olson, drawings by Francoise Lamy-Rousseau; American Library Association, Resources and Technical Services Division (now ALA, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) Audiovisual Committee. Paper (x + 41 p.). Available from OCLC. $8.50.

Glossary of Filmographic Terms. 1989. International Federation of Film Archives Staff. Cloth (149 p.). ISBN 3-598-07565-0. Available from K.G. Saur. $55.00.

Preservation of library and archival materials

Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology. 1982. Library of Congress; Matt Roberts and Don Etherington. Cloth (x + 296 p.). ISBN 0-8444-0366-0. $27.00.

Preservation and Access Terminology--The Relationship Between Digital and Other Media Conversion Processes: A Structured Glossary. 1990. M.S. Lynn; Commission on Preservation and Access. Paper (68 p.). Available from Commission on Preservation and Access. $5.00.

Data processing and information systems

ANSI X3.172-1990. American National Dictionary for Information Systems (ANDIS). Paper (vi + 137 p.). Available from ANSI. $50.00

ANSI X12.3-1986. Electronic Data Interchange--Data Element Dictionary. Paper (82 p.). Not available separately; entire series of X12 standards available from ANSI for $600.00.

FIPS Pub 11-3. Guideline: American National Dictionary for Information Systems. 1991. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Paper. Available from NTIS. $52.00.

ISO 2382 Information processing vocabulary. ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1. Available from ANSI.

Part 01: Fundamental terms (1984). Paper (15 p.). $39.00.
Part 02: Arithmetic and logic operations (1976). Paper (31 p.). $56.00.
Part 03: Equipment technology (1987). Paper (13 p.). $37.00.
Part 04: Organization of data (1987). Paper (17 p.). $43.00.
Part 05: Representation of data (1989). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 06: Preparation and handling of data (1987). Paper (15 p.). $39.00.
Part 07: Computer programming (1989). Paper (24 p.). $51.00. [also an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard]
Part 08: Control, integrity and security (1986). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 09: Data communication (1984). Paper (24 p.). $51.00.
Part 10: Operating techniques and facilities (1979). Paper (16 p.). $39.00.
Part 11: Processing units (1987). Paper (18 p.). $43.00.
Part 12: Peripheral equipment (1988). Paper (46 p.). $69.00.
Part 13: Computer graphics (1984). Paper (22 p.). $48.00.
Part 14: Reliability, maintenance and availability (1978). Paper (10 p.). $30.00.
Part 15: Programming languages (1985). Paper (17 p.). $43.00.
Part 16: Information theory (1978). Paper (15 p.). $39.00.
Part 18: Distributed data processing (1987). Paper (13 p.). $37.00.
Part 19: Analog computing (1989). Paper (10 p.). $30.00.
Part 20: System development (1990). Paper (15 p.). $39.00. [also an IEC standard]
Part 21: Interfaces between process computer systems and technical processes. Paper (16 p.). $39.00.
Part 22: Calculators (1986). Paper (19 p.). $45.00.
Part 25: Local area networks (1992). Paper (12 p.). $51.00. [also an IEC standard]

ISO/TR 9544:1988 Information processing--Computer-assisted publishing--Vocabulary. ISO/IEC Joint Committee 1. Paper (43 p.). Available from ANSI. $65.00.

ISO/IEC TR 12382:1992 Permuted index of the vocabulary of information processing. ISO/IEC Joint Committee 1. Paper (246 p.). $139.00.

Telecommunications, Networking, and Internet Glossary. 1993. George S. Machovec, comp.; American Library Association, Library and Information Technology Association. LITA Monograph no. 3. Paper (106 p.). ISBN 0-8389-7697-2. Available from ALA. $18.00.


1 Lewis Bellardo and Lynn Lady Bellardo, A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1992), v-vi.

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Standards for Archival Description: A Handbook
© 1994 Society of American Archivists. All Rights Reserved.