Deposit agreements and accessions registers

Below is our guidance to archivists on drawing up loan agreements between repositories and private owners:

Guidance note for record repositories: terms of loan (deposit) for privately owned archives (PDF, 0.13MB)

Capturing information about new accessions

An accession is a body of records transferred to an archives service at one time from the same source. To accession a group of records is to take both legal and physical custody of them. This formal receipt will usually be documented in an accessions register.

The information usually found in a register includes:

  • accession number: a unique identifying number
  • date of accession
  • date of information recorded
  • depositor: not creator (unless it’s the same)
  • creator: not depositor (unless it’s the same)
  • format: identify here any specialist storage requirements and preservation/conservation issues
  • description: overview of the scope of contents
  • date range of records
  • related records (e.g. if this accession relates to an earlier deposit)
  • quantity received before weeding the collection – helps with space management
  • conditions of access or disposal – related to loan agreement information above
  • location: where you are going to store the material
  • name of archivist recording information

If you want to create a listing of a collection after accession and prior to cataloguing, please read the guidance below:

Archive Principles and Practice: an introduction to archives for non-archivists (PDF, 0.29MB)

Benefits of accessions information

This accessions information is useful for a number of reasons. As well as securing physical and intellectual control, it can also provide you with some basic information for reuse in your findings aids. You may also be asked to submit this information to our Accessions to Repositories survey. This annual survey invites collecting institutions to provide accessions information, which is then edited and made available for researchers online.