This glossary explains some of the terms used in detailed catalogue records.


This is the archival term for where the record can be found in the hierarchical catalogue structure. The levels most often used in the catalogue are:

  • Collection/Fonds Level
  • Summary details of an archival collection, for example the archives of a particular organisation such as Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, or a person, such as John McGahern. A collection-level record will provide background notes on the creator of the archive. It will also provide an overview of the different types of material available in the collection.

  • Series Level
  • Details for a series of records within a collection, for example a series of financial records for an organisation, or a series of records relating to a particular subject or event within a collection.

  • File Level
  • A group of related records within the series, for example a photograph album.

  • Item Level
  • The smallest archival unit within the series, for example a single letter or a photograph.

Ref No

The reference you will need when requesting further information, or if you wish to request access to the material in the reading room.


A description of the quantity of material being described.

Physical Description

This field provides information about any important physical characteristics that might affect its use, such as its size or fragility.

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