A catalogue record can correspond to many documents (as in
archival groups), to a volume (album or sketchbook), or to an
individual item (such as a drawing or photograph). Document Classification is a broad categorization that establishes the level
of cataloguing and classifies the material according to its physical
form, use, or intellectual content.
It must always be recorded whether an entry corresponds to a
group of documents, a volume, or an item.
Groups are defined by repositories, and they often
have several subgroups, established according to archival
principles of provenance. A catalogue record will correspond
to one level of a group, be it the group, subgroup, series,
subseries, etc. This level is indicated in the category Group
Volumes are albums or sketchbooks: bound volumes,
with contents that may or may not vary in subjects and media.
Only volumes that are currently bound are considered
in this category, since levels of description in core cataloguing
are delimited by the current status of items. Reconstructions
of historical volumes are not included for this reason, except
as part of a descriptive note (see also Related Items, one
of the top level categories in Groups/Items).
are individual sheets, folios, or pages to which media have been
applied to form images and/or texts. They may have overlays or
ancillary supports affixed, and they may be part of a volume.
The item level is the most specific level of core cataloguing.
The Catalogue Level category states whether a record is of
a group, volume, or item. If it describes a group or volume,
the quantity of documents it contains can be expressed under
Extent. The broad physical form, function, use, and/or subjects
of the document or documents (e.g., travel sketchbook,
architectural drawings) are recorded in the category Document
Designation of the catalogue entry as corresponding to a group
of documents, a volume, or an item.
This category makes it possible to distinguish among entries for
different levels and establishes an entry's relative place within a
hierarchy of groups, volumes, and items. Hierarchies reflect the
relationships within groups of documents and may or may not
correspond to administrative hierarchies within the originating
organization or office.
As noted in the introductory discussion of Groups/Items,
it is a matter of repository policy to decide whether holdings
lend themselves to being arranged and catalogued in groups,
and, if so, on which hierarchical levels those groups should
group, volume, or item
It is important to relate records hierarchically, i.e., a group
record to all its subgroup records, at the level of data structure.
This category does not fulfill that need. It should therefore be
supplemented by other mechanisms, depending on the type of system
Designation of the relative scope or hierarchical level chosen
for a group catalogue record. (See the introductory discussion
If the repository's policy allows for more than one level of group
cataloguing across its collection, this category may be especially
useful for retrieving all records of a certain level (e.g., all
project- or series-level records). If, on the other
hand, the repository intends to limit cataloguing to one level (e.g.,
series), this category may not be necessary.
Terminology for this category may be difficult to standardize. It is
recommended, however, that terminology be defined and applied
consistently within the various divisions of any repository .
Typical vocabulary includes record group, collection, project,
fonds, series, subseries.
A descriptive statement concerning the quantity, or volume, of
documents in the group or volume to which the catalogue entry
corresponds. Extent is usually expressed by the number and kind of
21 cubic feet
3 items, 8 sacks, and 25 boxes
14 pages and endpapers
This category gives researchers an approximate idea of the amount of
material in the group or volume and thus allows the user to estimate
the amount of time it may take to examine it. A group's or volume's
bulk or size is the focus of this category. Contents, purpose, media,
or document types are covered in other categories.
Classification of the document by any of the following
- Broad physical form or method of production (e.g., albums,
sketchbooks, sets, drawings, photographs, prints, coins,
- Broad function, purpose, or use for which the items were made
(e.g., specifications, guidebooks, pattern books,
administrative records, contract documents, bidding documents,
land surveys, business records, church records, government
records, personal papers).
- Broad class of subjects to which the items belong (e.g.,
architectural documents, maps). The focus of the
Guide is architectural drawings and related
documents. This class includes any medium that graphically depicts
structures, parts of structures, or designs, whether built or
unbuilt. That is, any depiction of any portion of the built or
unbuilt environment can be considered an architectural
document. Subjects include furniture, engineering designs,
naval architecture, urban design, textiles, architectural
ornaments, landscape designs, and stage designs.
The variety of concepts embraced by Document Type reflects
the varied applications it may have in different repositories.
Large collections are often classified, and sometimes physically
arranged, by their subjects, genres, provenances, or media.
A repository in this case will have its own classification
lists. There is considerable latitude in these schemes. Retrieval
will depend on how the concepts are related to one another
through a thesaurus or other means. To increase the possibility
for a more standardized approach, concepts deemed particularly
important for retrieval are specified in other categories;
see, for example, Technique, one of the top level categories
It is suggested that the term architectural drawings (or,
more broadly, architectural documents) be included to
facilitate retrieval. The ability to find all repositories with
architectural documents, for example, would be reduced if that
broad classification were not present. This is desirable even for a
repository possessing only architectural documents, even though the
classification may seem too broad to be useful. In this instance, the
goal of sharing information may motivate repositories to enter basic
information that otherwise seems obvious.
Examples of Repository Classifications by Document Type:
1. Modell, Zeichnung, Pause, Druck, Collage
2. Skizze, Entwurfszeichnung, Ausf\xFChrungszeichnung,
3. Einzelblatt, Konvolut, Buch
Institute of British Architects (Drawings Collection):
drawings, sketchbooks, albums
architectural casts and fragments
architects' office furniture
The definition of this category is meant to be consistent with the
scope of the Information Forms (VW) hierarchy in the AAT.
However, broad terms from the Visual Works (VC) hierarchy may also be
In groups and volumes, there can be several broad document types.
These may all be listed, since this category can be repeated.