Glossary of record selection and transfer terms

Chinagraph pencil: A waxy pencil originally used to write on china, glass or other hard surfaces. Chinagraph pencil is ideal for writing references on file covers since it is fairly permanent and does not easily smudge.

Collection Care Department: A department at The National Archives consisting of trained conservators and specialists in the physical preservation and repair of records. Through liaison with the Transfer Team, Collection Care can offer expert advice and help with difficult and unusual conservation problems.

Digitised records: Digital scans of physical records where the resultant digital images will become the legal public record for permanent preservation.

Digital surrogates: Digital scans of physical records where the resultant digital images will become digital surrogates with the original paper records being retained and remaining the legal public record.

Endorsed: Usually used to mean written on the back (referring to the writing of the The National Archives reference in HB pencil on the back of loose papers). However, endorsed can sometimes be used to just mean written on.

Extract: A section of file which is extracted from an open record because it is retained or closed and therefore, not available to the public. For example, this can be a whole page, a redacted page, a number of consecutive pages or a photograph.

Freedom of Information (FOI) Schedule: A document detailing records whose closure under the Freedom of Information Act has been agreed by the relevant authority.

Glassine paper: Glossy, transparent, moisture-proof paper used to traditionally store photographs and photographic negatives. Glassine paper should be replaced by polyester sleeves.

Historic value: The contribution of the information to the long-term memory of society and the corporate memory of organisations.

Item: Part of a piece created during the transfer process. This can either be the result of a file which has been split because of its size or the creation of closed extracts.

Macro appraisal: Appraisal at a departmental level, involving understanding the organisation as a whole (its purpose, functions, context, business processes and the information created) to make high-level decisions on which groups of records or categories of information to select for preservation.

Parent piece: The piece which an item, photograph or loose doucment belongs to (e.g. ‘Endorse the loose document with the corresponding reference of its parent piece’; ‘The closed extract has been opened and can be reunited with its parent piece’).

Piece: A separate, individual record. This may take a number of forms such as a file, a volume or a rolled map.

Polyester sleeve: Chemically stable transparent plastic pocket used for the storage of photographs, torn pages, etc.

Redaction: A part of a document within a piece which is retained or closed and not available to the public (e.g. a few words or a paragraph on a page).

Retention Instrument (RI): A document signed by the Secretary of State confirming their approval to retain the records detailed on the relevant Retention Schedule under the Public Records Act. Retentions approved before December 2015 were via an Instrument signed by the Lord Chancellor (known as LCIs).

Retention Schedule: A document detailing records whose retention under the Public Records Act has been approved by the Secretary of State.

Series: A distinct, usually sequential, collection of records, normally created by a branch of a government department to deal with a particular area of work (e.g. a series of reports, a registered file series). The series is created on The National Archives catalogue, Discovery.

Silversafe: Material that has been developed for photographic conservation. Silversafe is ideal for interleaving paper in the storage of photographic material such as negatives.

The National Archives reference (TNA reference): The alphanumerical reference code applied to all pieces and items transferred to The National Archives. It consists of a department lettercode, a series number, a piece number and (if applicable) an item number, written in a prescribed way (e.g. CAB 130/45/1).

Transfer Team: The National Archives’ staff who are responsible for advising transferring bodies on matters relating to the transfer of records, including cataloguing and physical preparation.

Uplift: The physical logistical process of delivering records from a transferring body to The National Archives.