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Navigating and searching in ArchivesSpace

Glossary of terms and symbols

  • Archives are materials created or received by a person, family, or organization that are preserved because of the enduring value of the information they contain.
  • Collections are groups of materials assembled by a person, family, or organization. They can be divided hierarchically into series, groupings, and files.
  • Containers are anything that houses or stores archival materials. A container might be a standard size archival box, a record carton, an oversize box, a map case drawer, cold storage, etc.
  • Digital records are born-digital and digitized materials that are available online.
  • Finding aids, also known as collection guides or inventories, allow users to discover, understand, and access archival collections. Finding aids describe the creation, arrangement, content, and context of archival materials.
  • Name records are the people, families, and organizations that create archival materials. In finding aids, users can view name records to see all of the collections created by a person, family, or organization. The staff chooses the name records from established lists, including the Library of Congress.
  • Subject records are topics, places, and genres used to describe the context and content of archival materials. In finding aids, users can view a subject record to see all of the collections relating to that topic, place, or genre. The staff chooses the subject records from controlled lists, including the Library of Congress.


  • Use the Citation button to generate a formatted citation for the material you are viewing. Citations can be generated at all levels of a finding aid, including at the folder or item level.
  • Use the PDF Print button to access a fully formatted PDF of a finding aid.


  • Click the Digital Object button in a folder to view the digital version of the folder or item.
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