Appendix A. Fonds and collection level cataloguing


A.1. Introduction
A.2. Fonds level cataloguing
A.3. Collection level cataloguing

A.1. Introduction


This appendix briefly considers the concept of fonds level and collection level cataloguing.


It is included for information, with the recommendation that existing standards such as ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. Ottawa: ICA, 1994; Rules for Archival Description. Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists, 1990 and Steven L. Hensen (comp.), Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts: A Cataloging Manual for Archival Repositories, Historical Societies and Manuscript Libraries. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983, be used to assist the preparation of cataloguing records for fonds and collections, and their series and files.


By outlining these concepts here, it is not intended to encourage fonds and/or collection level cataloguing as the only approach for managing and providing access to sound and audiovisual collections.


Clearly, many sound and audiovisual archives and libraries must describe, manage and give access to individual documents and even to parts of these documents (e.g. tracks on recorded sound compilations) with considerable efficiency and precision. In such cases a fonds level or collection level catalogue record alone would not be sufficient to serve the information needs of these organisations or their users. Indeed, this level of description may not be necessary in some audiovisual archives and libraries (e.g. organisations maintaining their own archive only and/or which have high or intensive use of items in their collection, such as gramophone record libraries, or programme archives and stock shot collections in broadcasting organisations).


Conversely, other audiovisual archives and libraries may be legally or administratively required to apply fonds and collection level description for the material they hold. Yet other organisations may find this approach helpful for some (if not all) parts of their holdings.


A.2. Fonds level cataloguing


Traditionally, organisations dealing with government records, corporate records or personal collections first describe and control these documents at the fonds level. Documents may then be systematically maintained as (archival) series within the fonds or collection, as necessary and appropriate. The archival series may also be sub-arranged into files of documents.

Cataloguing entries prepared at these levels provide basic description, control of and access to these fonds, collections, series and files.


Time permitting, an inventory of the individual documents and/or their contents may be prepared so providing increased access to the material.


This approach assists a) documenting provenance and b) maintaining order of provenance.


Also, it assists organisations with the management and control of what are often very large volumes of material.


In addition this approach allows for the content of the fonds and collections to be broadly described within the historical, cultural and social context surrounding their creation.





  • A.3. Collection level cataloguing


    Where organisations hold large collections of similar material, they may initially employ collection level cataloguing to broadly describe and control these materials and to provide basic access to them. Series, files and inventories of the material in these collections may be subsequently prepared. Two examples of collection level catalogue records follow. Calwell, Arthur A. (Augustus), 1896-1973

    Calwell collection : [sound recordings]


    18 sound discs (lacquer) ; 30 cm

    2 sound discs (lacquer) ; 41 cm

    1 sound disc : 33 1/3 rpm ; 30 cm

    3 sound cassettes : analogue

    5 sound reels ; 13 cm

    2 sound reels ; 17 cm

    Addresses, election and referendum speeches by Arthur Calwell; together with speeches by John Curtin and A.B.Chifley and Dr Evatt

    Australian politician elected to Parliament as federal member for Melbourne in 1940, Arthur Calwell became Minister for Information in 1943, and Australia's first Minister for Immigration 1945-49, initiating a programme of large scale non-British immigration. He became deputy parliamentary leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in 1951, and leader 1960-67, retiring from Parliament in 1972

    Listing available. Manuscript materials held in the National Library

    Access points:

    I. Curtin, John, 1885-1945. II. Chifley, J. B. (Joseph Benedict), 1885-1951. III. Evatt, H. V. (Herbert Vere), Dr, 1894-1965. 1. Australia -- Politics and government -- 20th century. 2. Australia -- Emigration and immigration. 3. Australian Labor Party

    Melba, Nellie, Dame, 1861-1931

    Hogarth-Melba collection : [sound recordings]


    1 sound disc (lacquer) ; 25 cm

    11 sound discs : 78 rpm ; 25 cm

    106 sound discs : 78 rpm ; 30 cm

    2 scrapbooks

    Full range of Melba's repertoire, opera, songs and ballads, including the 1926 Covent Garden farewell performance, collected by William Hogarth

    Melba studied with Pietro Cecchi in Melbourne, and later with Mme. Marchesi in Paris. She made her operatic debut in Brussels in 1887 and subsequently won international acclaim, touring extensively in Europe, the United States and Australia. Her last performance at Covent Garden was in 1926, and her last Australian appearance was at Geelong, Vic. in 1928

    Listing available

    Access points:

    I. Hogarth, William. 1. Operas -- Excerpts. 2. Songs (High voice)