Archival science is a discipline bringing together the principles, standards and techniques governing the functions of archive management (creation, evaluation, acquisition, classification, description, conservation and enhancement).
> ARCHIVES All information, whatever its date, nature or medium, organically gathered by a natural or legal person, public or private, for the very needs of its existence and the exercise of it functions, kept first for their administrative, legal or financial value, then kept for their testimonial or general information value.
> ARCHIVIST Professional in charge of managing archives.
> CURRENT, ACTIVE OR MANAGEMENT ARCHIVES Current or management archives include active documents that are essential to support and maintain the daily activities of a natural or legal person.
> DEFINITIVE OR HISTORICAL ARCHIVES The definite archives group together the documents kept or to be kept without time limit by a natural or legal person, for their value as testimony, general information or for research.
> ARCHIVES All documents of any kind automatically and organically brought together, created, accumulated and used by a natural or legal person or by a family in the exercise of their activities of functions.
The description of archival documents includes information relating to their content, their nature, their typology and their media. The main elements and units of description of archives are described here.
> ARCHIVES BOX Commonly called cardboard, material preservation unit in the form of a rigid box, of variable shape, structure and dimensions, intended to contain and protect archival documents, to facilitate their handling and storage.
> DOCUMENT The document is a set consisting of a medium and the information it carries, which can be used for consultation purposes of as proof.
> ANALOG DOCUMENT Document whose information is contained on a physical medium (paper, film, magnetic tape, etc.) and belonging to the pre-digital period.
> AUDIOVISUAL DOCUMENT Document composed of images, sounds and moving images whose reading requires the use of a machine.
> ICONOGRAPHIC DOCUMENT Document composed essentially of still images containing an element of drawing, graphic or photographic representation.
> NON-TEXTUAL DOCUMENT Document whose information consists of sounds, images, etc. (video, film, photography, maps and plans, etc.).
> DIGITAL DOCUMENT Document whose information, whether in text, image or sound form, is contained on a computer medium (optical disk, CD, diskette, etc.), and whose reading requires the use of a machine, computer of software.
> TEXTUAL DOCUMENT Document whose information is presented in the form of a text, a table, notes, etc.
> FILE Set of documents constituted either organically by the archive producer for the conduct or processing of a case, or by logical grouping during filing.
> PAPERS Usual expression used to designate personal and family archives.
> ITEM The smallest unit of description of an archival fonds (a photograph, a letter, a letter patent, a transcript of records, a diary, a performance recording, etc.).
> SERIES Set of files kept grouped because they result from the same activity, relate to the same function or the same subject, or take the same form.
> SUPPORT Material element (paper, tape or magnetic disk, video tape, optical disk, film, microfilm, etc.) on which written, sound, digital or visual information is attached to constitute and/or store a document.
Processing is the set of procedures and operations carried out in the context of the management of historical archives. The main processing operations are presented here in the order in which they are generally performed.
> EVALUATION Archival function aimed at determining the administrative usefulness, historical interest and final treatment (conservation or disposal) of documents.
> SORTING Operation consisting in separating, in a set of documents and according to an evaluation, those which must be kept because of their historical or heritage interest from those which are destined for elimination.
> CONSERVATION Functions and set of measures taken to ensure the physical conservation, readability and durability of information and to ensure the safeguarding, after sorting, of documents that are not intended for destruction.
> DESTRUCTION Physical operation to eliminate documents whose retention is no longer justified.
> CLASSIFICATION Classification is a material operation which consists of the intellectual and physical ordering of archival documents within files, and files within a fund, carried out according to chronological, geographical, numerical, alphabetical or thematic. Filing makes it easier to locate and consult documents.
> QUOTATION Quotation is the assignment of a quotation to an item. The call number is a set of symbols (letters, numbers, signs) identifying a fonds, file or item and corresponding to its place in the classification or to its place of storage.
> DESCRIPTION OF THE ARCHIVES Intellectual and material presentation of a unit of description (archive, series, file, item) made to give an exact and unique identification, to explain its original context and to allow its administrative or historical exploitation.
The archival heritage is the set of historical archives kept as part of the written, historical and cultural heritage of a community, a company, a natural or legal person, public or private. The digital age has brought new challenges for the preservation of information and collective memory.
> ACQUISITION Set of documents from the same source taken over by an archive service on a given date, following transfer, deposit, donation or bequest, purchase or exchange.
> COMMUNICATION, DISSEMINATION AND VALUATION OF ARCHIVES Activities consisting in promoting archives, using them and making them accessible, whether through exhibitions, publications, documentaries, digital platform, etc.
> DIGITAL PRESERVATION Digital information is in the form of data collected in files. Preserving digital information consists in avoiding the loss or erasure of data, in preserving them intact and in preserving their readability, their intelligibility and the possibility of reusing them. This implies the sustainability of media, formats, computers, software and operating systems.
> DEPOSIT Act by which a holder of archival documents hands over all or part of his documents to the curator of an archival repository for a given period and under certain conditions.
> LEGAL DEPOSIT Legal disposition involving the delivery to national heritage conservation institutions (BAnQ) of any literary or artistic, textual, graphic, sound and audiovisual production.
> DONATION Delivery of documents or funds, made free of charge, to an archive service resulting from a transfer of ownership by a private, natural or legal person.
> LEGACY Delivery of documents to an archive service consisting of a donation of documents resulting from the execution of a will.
> DIGITIZATION Electronic process for reproducing an archival document.
> OBSOLESCENCE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES In computing, technology struggles to stand the test of time. Machines, storage media, operating systems, software and file formats quickly become obsolete and their replacement cycle is short.