Glossary (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
This glossary of commonly used archival terms is based in part on and draws several definitions from "A Basic Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers," compiled by Frank B. Evans, Donald F. Harrison, and Edwin A. Thompson (The American Archivist 37 [July 1974]: 415-433). The glossary includes most important archival terms with specialized meanings. Terms that are adequately described in dictionaries; technical manuscript, records management, and preservation terms; and terms relating to automated data processing are not included.
The following glossary, developed by the then National Archives and Records Service in 1984 for A Modern Archives Reader: Basic Readings on Archival Theory and Practice, is provided on this website as an aid to persons unfamiliar with common archival terms. These definitions are not legally binding and do not represent NARA policy. The updated and more comprehensive A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers, compiled by Lewis J. Bellardo and Lynn Lady Bellardo, was published in 1992 and may be purchased from the Society of American Archivists.