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Glossary

HALS Ref No
This is the reference of the document, or the item of production. You will need to state the HALS Ref No listed at file or item level in order to view the document in the Archive Reading Room at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.

View Tree
The code in this field displays the hierarchical structure of each catalogue. If there is no HALS Reference Number for a particular entry, click on the reference in the View Tree field to see the catalogue structure. Please note that you cannot order a document with the reference code from the View Tree field.

Title
This field should always comprise the most important information relating to a particular entry in the catalogue.

At Fonds level the title should include a place and a person where possible. With corporate bodies (societies, organisations, schools, councils, parishes etc.) the name of the organisation is included.

At File or Item levels the key information regarding the specific document is included, such as the type of record (eg baptism register, minute book), and persons, families, places or corporate bodies of specific relevance to that record.

Description
Any information in this field it is considered to be supplementary to essential contents of the Title field, such as additional significant persons or places, or specific dates or events noted in the document.

Date
The span of dates covered by the collection or the unit of production (eg the file or item). Any specific dates of significance will be included in the document description.

Extent
This field provides information about the quantity of material which is being described (eg 1 box, 1 vol (volume), 1 bdl (bundle))

Physical description
This field provides relevant information about any important physical characteristics which might affect a record’s use (eg size, fragility).

Surrogates
When there is surrogate copy of a document the reference will be included in this field (eg the reference for a microfilmed copy of parish records has the prefix ‘mf’ followed by a (film) number). Where surrogates exist, they should always be consulted instead of the original document so you must make a not of their reference to quote when you visit.

Collection browser
This shows the hierarchy or structure of the collection using the View Tree reference code. The HALS Ref No is not shown in the Collection Browser. To identify the HALS Ref No, please click on the record you are interested in to see the specific catalogue entry for that item including the document reference number.

Cataloguing structure

As well as detailed descriptions of the individual documents, the online catalogue also includes descriptions of entire collections. Archives are usually arranged in collections called Fonds and then sub-divided if needed (into Sub-fonds, Series, Files and Items). See below for further definitions of these levels in the cataloguing structure.

Level
This is the archival term for where the record can be found in the catalogue structure. The levels most currently used in the catalogues are listed below:

Fonds level
The whole of the collection, organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular person, family, or corporate body in the course of that creator's activities and functions. The fonds level provides an overview and a summary of the contents of each archive collection, (eg Aldbury, St Mary Parish Records).

Sub-Fonds level (sub-sub-fonds level etc)
A subdivision of the Fonds level (eg records of the Service of the Church)

Series level (sub-series-level etc)
A series of records within the collection, (eg all the baptism registers of an individual parish)

File level
A group of related records within the series, (eg a single register of baptisms covering a specific date, which contains many individual baptism entries which have been grouped together in a volume)

Item level
The smallest intellectually indivisible archival unit within the series, (eg a single letter or photograph)

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