Abolish Date: The date on which an organization was terminated, disbanded, inactivated, or superseded. The date may be qualified by a "ca." to indicate if the date is approximate or a "?" if an uncertainty exists regarding the date.

Access Restrictions: Information about restrictions that may affect your access to the archival materials. Access to all or part of the archival materials may be restricted based on national security considerations, donor restrictions, court orders, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions, or other statutory or regulatory provisions.

Agency Note: Comments or notes that the creating organization provided to describe the contents of a column or data element within a file.

Archival Description: See description.

Archival Materials: Records, personal papers, and artifacts in any form or media created, received, or accumulated by a person or organization in the course of official business and preserved because of their continuing value.

ca.: An abbreviation for the term "circa." Used if a date is approximate.

Circa: Abbreviated as "ca." Used if a date is approximate.

Coded Value: Numbers and/or letters that represent a meaning within a particular field. For example, the coded values for the field "Sex of Person" might be "M" and "F" representing "Male" and "Female." The list of all codes and their meanings is contained in a Code List next to each relevant field.

Code List: A list of all coded values for a particular field and the meanings they represent. A code list can be associated with multiple columns in a single data file or multiple data files.

Collection: 1) Archival materials, regardless of form or media, organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular person, family, or non-governmental organization in the conduct of personal or organizational activity. 2) An artificial accumulation of archival materials brought together on the basis of some characteristic (such as means of acquisition, creator, subject, language, media, form, name of collector) without regard to the provenance of the archival materials.

Collection Identifier: A unique identifier assigned to a collection of archival materials.

Contributors: Names of organizations or people, other than the archival creator, who are responsible for the intellectual, technical, artistic, or financial production of the archival materials, such as contractor, distributor, programmer, or originator.

Coverage Dates: The date range for the subject(s) contained in the archival materials. For example, a series created in the 1970s about the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor would have Coverage Dates of 1941 and Inclusive Dates of 1970-1979. The date may be qualified by a "ca." to indicate if the date is approximate or a "?" if an uncertainty exists regarding the date. Further explanation of the dates may appear in Date Note.

Creator: The name of the person or organization responsible for the creation, accumulation, or maintenance of a series of archival materials when it was in working (primary) use. For organizations, the Establish Date and Abolish Date (if applicable) will appear. For people, the Birth Date and Death Date (if applicable) will appear. People and organizations that contributed to the authorship of the series or its smaller parts, such as individual documents or reports, are called Contributors. Creators can be either Most Recent or Predecessor creators.

Custodial History Note: A description of the ownership history of the archival materials from the time of their creation to the time of their accessioning by NARA. This information may be particularly important for donated materials or for federal records that come to NARA outside the regular government records transfer process. It can provide information on changes of ownership or breaks in the government chain-of-custody that is significant for the authenticity, integrity, and interpretation of the archival materials.

Data Element: See field.

Data Field: See field.

Data Files: 1) A structured collection of data that is stored together and treated as a unit by a computer. 2) Related data (numeric, textual, or graphic information) and fields that are organized in a strictly prescribed form and format. Examples of data files include databases, spreadsheets, and email. Data files are not the same as textual documents recorded on electronic media.

Data Layout: A description of the way the data is structured in the data file. The data layout is composed of a list of all the field names, field titles, data types, start position, and width. The AAD data layouts include links to code lists, and field specific notes.

Data Table: The organization of information into a group that is presented in rows and fields. Each row represents a person, place or thing described by the table. The fields are the columns or elements of information that describe each row. The data layout lists the characteristics that govern the creation and representation of the logical data records in the data table.

Data Type: Character or numeric specific formats and values allowed within each specific field. Data types in AAD are alphanumeric, date, and numeric.

Date Note: Provides more information about one or more of the dates in the description. This note might explain date spans for which there are a lot of archival materials (sometimes called "bulk dates") or point out gaps, or it might explain why there are multiple dates in the description.

Description: 1) The process of analyzing, organizing, and recording information that serves to identify, manage, locate, and explain the holdings of archives and manuscript repositories and the contexts and record systems from which those holdings were selected; 2) the written representation or products of the above process. Archival materials are described hierarchically using different levels of description. The archival principles of provenance and original order call for the description of series of archival materials before describing at the file unit or item level. Descriptions of series provide a unified overview of the archival materials to help you understand the context of the individual file units and items within a given series of archival materials.

Documentation Package: See Technical Information.

Electronic Record: A record that is created, transmitted, received, or stored in digital format. See Record.

End Position: The position within a record that indicates where the contents of a specific column end.

Establish Date: The date on which an organization was established. The date may be qualified by a "ca." to indicate if the date is approximate or a "?" if an uncertainty exists regarding the date.

Extent: The measurement or amount of the archival materials themselves - the number of data files and the linear measurement and page count of the creator's documentation - that make up the particular copy of the materials.

Field: An element of information in the same position for every record within a data file. Used interchangeably with "data element" and "data field."

Field Name: The term or abbreviated name the creator gave to a field. Where this name is a word that the AAD operating system reserves for special operations, NARA has added additional characters. For example, the field name DATE has been changed to DATE_1.

Field Title: The full name or description given by the creator to a field. Occasionally, the field name and the field title are the same.

Fielded Search: An AAD search that is limited to a specific field within a specific file.

File Unit: An organized unit of archival materials grouped together either for current use or in the process of archival arrangement. A file unit is the intellectual grouping of the archival materials, which may or may not equal the physical grouping. For the electronic records in AAD, a file unit is synonymous with a data file, or file.

Finding Aid(s): Tools that help you find information in archival materials. There are many different types of finding aids including published or unpublished inventories, container and folder lists, card catalogs, calendars, indexes, registers, databases, technical information packages, or institutional guides. Finding aids can be formal publications or accessioned archival materials.

Free-text Search: An AAD search for words in all of the fields or their meanings in the records of one or more files.

Function and Use: A description of the activities that resulted in the creation of the archival materials. This information explains why the archival materials were created.

General Note: Significant information not captured in any other field.

Inclusive Dates: The date range during which the record group, collection, or series was created, maintained, or accumulated by its creator. The date may be qualified by a "ca." to indicate if the date is approximate or a "?" if an uncertainty exists regarding the date. Further explanation of the dates may appear in Date Note.

Index Terms: Uniform terms used to describe the topics, people, organizations, and geographic areas that are the subject of or contributed in some way to the archival materials.

Item: The smallest intellectually indivisible archival unit (e.g. a letter, memorandum, report, leaflet, logical data record or photograph).

Level of Description: Materials are described according to their position within the archival hierarchy. The materials are first described as groups, and depending on available resources and access needs, also described down to the item. The two highest levels are record group and collection. Record groups and collections contain series. Series contain file units and/or items, and file units contain items. AAD includes series and file unit descriptions. AAD does not contain item level descriptions.

Logical Data Record: A set of data processed as a unit by a computer system or application independently of its physical environment. Examples include a word processing document, a spreadsheet, an email message, each row in each table of a relational database, and each record in an independent logical data file.

Most Recent: Indicates that the creator is the one last responsible for the archival materials' creation, accumulation, or maintenance. If the creator were the one first or previously responsible for the creation, accumulation, or maintenance of the archival materials, this type would be Predecessor.

NARA Note: Information provided by NARA to assist you in understanding the contents of a field.

Notes: Narrative information found in AAD that describes or explains a data table, a colum, or specific fields. A note can be provided either by the creating organization (Agency Note) or by NARA (NARA Note).

Numbering Note: The explanation of an agency or NARA-assigned numbering scheme. May also include instructions for how you should cite a specific sequence, format, or content of the numbering scheme when requesting the archival materials.

Operators: See Search Operators.

Other Title: Additional or variant titles by which the archival materials are known.

Parent Field: A field that has a second field whose meaning is contingent upon it. You must select a value in this parent data field first in order to find a value or values for the secondary (or child) field.

Predecessor: 1) In the description of archival materials, indicates that the creator is the one first or previously responsible for the archival materials' creation, accumulation, or maintenance. If the creator was the one last responsible for the creation, accumulation, or maintenance of the archival materials, this type would be Most Recent; 2) In the organization description, the name of the organization that previously had the mission or program areas of a successor organization.

Record: All books, papers, maps, photographs, machine-readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the government or because of the informational value of data in them. See also Logical Data Record.

Record Group: A grouping created by NARA that comprises the records of a large organization, such as a government bureau or independent agency.

Record Group Number: A unique number assigned to each record group.

Reference Unit: The NARA unit that provides reference services for the archival materials.

RG: See Record Group.

Sample Values: A display of the first 20 distinct values from the first 1,000 records for a field that you can use to see examples of the data in the field.

Scope and Content Note: A narrative description summarizing what the archival materials are (their scope) and what kinds of information they contain (their content).

Search Operators: Search operators are used to define searches of a field in a data table. The search operators available differ depending on the data type of the field being searched. Some examples of search operators include WITH ALL OF THE VALUES, WITH ANY OF THE VALUES, WITH THE EXACT PHRASE, EQUALS, and BETWEEN. You can use either a % or a * for a wildcard with some of the AAD search operators. A complete list, along with definitions and examples, is available in AAD Help.

Series: File units or items arranged in accordance with a filing system or maintained as a unit because they are from the same accumulation or filing process, the same function, or the same activity; have a particular form; or because of some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use.

Start Position: The position within a record that indicates where the contents of a specific field begin.

Table: See Data Table.

Technical Information: A NARA-created compilation of text-based materials needed to understand a series or file unit. May include materials produced by the creator and NARA, such as a listing of the contents, data layouts, manuals, user notes, and publications. For AAD some technical information packages and parts of technical information packages have been digitally scanned and are made available as PDF files.

Title: The name assigned to the archival materials. At the record group, collection, and series level, NARA almost always creates the title. At the file unit level, the creator usually supplies the title. NARA-assigned titles may be indicated by brackets, or may appear in the Other Title field.

Type of Archival Materials: The general form of the archival materials. Currently this may be Architectural and Engineering Drawings, Artifacts, Data Files, Maps and Charts, Moving Images, Photographs and Other Graphic Materials, Sound Recordings, or Textual Records.

Values: The content of a column in a specific record within a data file. Its meaning may be apparent, or it may be coded, e.g. M = male and F = female in a field identifying Gender.

Variant Control Number: A number or identifier assigned to the archival materials either by the creator or by NARA. Each variant control number will be identified by type and may have a note providing more information.

For additional help in AAD please see What help is available for me?

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