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Glossary of terms

What's the difference between restoration, preservation and conservation? Why does the word 'cataloguing' mean different things to different people? The staff at the LMA will tell you all about the words and phrases they encounter on a daily basis.

Archives & Cataloguing


This involves making judgements based on the potential value of records as archival material. In short, it means either commending records to heaven (the archive) or hell (the incinerator)!


Archives are records created by individuals and institutions ranging from churches to breweries and football clubs. Archives come in a large variety of forms - maps, photographs and audiotapes - and while some archives may be ancient, others may have only been created this year.


The process of arranging and describing archives to produce an easy-to-use list or catalogue. The catalogues include helpful histories and introductory summaries which give details of the creators of the records and the subjects covered.


The overall range of collections of records held in an archive. Some archives are specialised and collect only records relating to particular themes. Others collect a wide range of material relating to a particular geographical area.


Indexing builds an easy and quick reference to the records, listing the records either alphabetically or under subjects and names.


The recorded evidence of the transactions of an individual or organisation. They come in a variety of formats from audio visual, photographic, electronic to paper and parchment.