Loan agreements and accessions registers

Below is our guidance on drawing up loan agreements between repositories and private owners, for use by archivists:

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 information recorded
  • depositor: not creator unless the same
  • creator: not depositor unless the same
  • format: identify specialist storage requirements and preservation/conservation issues
  • description: overview of the scope of contents
  • date range of records
  • related records e.g. is this an accession relating to an earlier deposit?
  • quantity on receipt prior to weeding of the collection etc. – helps with space management
  • conditions of access or disposal – related to loan agreement information above
  • location: where are you going to store the material
  • lame of archivist recording information

This accessions information can be 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 annually to Accessions to Repositories Programme in which The National Archives invites collecting institutions to provide this information which is then edited and made available for researchers online.

If you want to create a listing of a collection after accession and prior to cataloguing, there is draft guidance about this available in the document below:

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