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', and 'items'.

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, e.g. Colne & District Co-operative Society Ltd

Sub-Fonds level
A subdivision of the fonds level, e.g. Trawden Co-Operative Society Ltd.

Series level
A series of records within the collection, e.g. Minutes of the Committee of Management.

Item level
The smallest intellectually indivisible archival unit within the series, e.g. a single letter or photograph.

Reference Number
This is our unique reference to a document or group of documents.

This field provides information about the quantity of material which is being described (e.g. 2 boxes, 1 volume).

Physical description
This field provides relevant information about any important physical characteristics which might affect a record’s use.

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