This glossary provides an overview of some of the terms you may come across when searching for records in our catalogue.

Level The way our records appear in the catalogue reflects the structures that surrounded their creation. This is called "hierarchical description". The most common levels in use in our catalogue are:

Collection All the records created or accumulated by a person or corporate body e.g. the Collection of the United Africa Company (UAC).

--Section A group of records within a collection which relate to each other e.g. UAC Board: Corporate Records. This is usually only used for bigger collections.

----Series:Documents arranged in accordance with a filing system or maintained as a unit because they result from the same accumulation or filing process, or the same activity; have a particular format; or because of some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt or use

------Item An individual record or file of records

--------Piece Used where an item has component parts that have been catalogued e.g. a file of correspondence will be described at item level whereas an individual letter within that file would be described at piece level
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