Collecting archives

It is crucial to keep an organised record of all your community group’s items and archives. This is so any information can be easily referenced and located.

Taking something in

When you accept an item, you need to know and record

  • Its provenance
    • Will the material belong to you or is it a loan?
    • How is it being given to you? For example, is it a gift, a bequest, a purchase, a deposit, a temporary deposit for copying?
  • The name and address of the donor/depositor
  • Any conditions that may have been attached to the gift/loan
  • Whether the donors/depositors are happy for their items to be mixed with other collections or would prefer them to be kept separate

This information needs to be kept together
Consider keeping a register of collections. This could be either in electronic or manual form.
Include a summary description of the material contained in each collection and details of:

  • Date received
  • Name and address of donor/depositor
  • Note on status
  • Condition
  • Copyright

The donor/depositor should be clear about the terms of the gift/loan
Consider giving them a written receipt for the material, perhaps with some form of custody agreement.

A note on photographs and copyright
With photographs, copyright law is complicated. Make sure you find out as much as possible from the owners of the photographs, and record this in the register of collections, and also when you come to list the photographs individually.

Storage of archives


Some recent projects have produced guidelines on how to catalogue archives. They are quite detailed and devised for specific projects, but give some useful basic information:


Hampshire Record Office
Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8TH
tel 01962 846154

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