Archival documents. How to work with them

Everyone who works in the archive needs knowledge of information retrieval techniques.

The main stages of the search for documents are:

  • Establishment of fund-builders, in whose activities they had the opportunity to appear materials that contain data of interest to you.
  • Search at the inter-archival level in order to establish the titles of archives, museums, libraries, in which materials on the topic of study are stored.
  • Search at the archive level, while the archive sets or updates the titles or numbers of funds in which the necessary documents were deposited.
  • Search at the fund level, at a time when you want to set the numbers of cases to be leafed through.
  • Search at the case, document level.

The main thing in the search is to correctly establish the archive code, that is, the totality of the search data that allows you to accurately search for the required document in the archives. When extracting extracts from archival files, you need to correctly draw them up, following the order of references to the used archive documents and the scientific and reference apparatus for them.
Methodology of working with archival documents.

The opening of archives for a large group of researchers allows us to set concrete practical tasks before creative work and to reveal them at a higher scientific level using the evidence base of real documents.

But the use of archival documents, their presentation in the work will only be effective when the researcher can correctly determine what is needed and how to obtain material from this particular archival source.

For this, it is necessary to determine a certain sequential algorithm of work:

  • The study of a certain circle of historical literature on the topic of research.
  • Revealing in the literature the list of used archive funds and document types.
  • Definition of the archive for work, its composition of funds (Work with the guide in the archive). Thus, the main task will be to determine the numbers of funds on the research topic by the guide.
  • Extract of the names and numbers of the guidebook funds, inventory numbers corresponding to the chronological period; the head of the reading room orders these inventories in the archive.
  • Work with inventory, catalogs. In the inventories the names of the documents are presented and their main content is annotated, the extreme chronological dates of the materials presented are given. The catalogs contain information cards arranged strictly according to thematic and chronological principles. The name of the document is written on the cards, the date and place of its creation, the date of the output (fund, inventory, case number, sheet). In the process of working with inventory and reference manuals of archives, it is necessary to write out search data (ciphers) and headings of storage units.

The title of the written case (document) indicates the principle of the formation of the case.
After completing work with inventories and compiling cards on matters of interest (documents), an order is made with the head of the reading room of the archive on a special form. On this form all initial data, the beginning of the name of the case, the number of pages, the chronological period of the case are indicated.

Thus, extracts made by researchers from archival documents should and after some time answer the questions: where, when, by whom, and what the document was developed and drawn up to, who it was intended for and whether it was executed when it happened. In addition, it is useful to note, also with reference to the relevant documentary sources, which circumstances led to the compilation of the document.
The order of links to archival documents.

Links to sources of information make it possible to verify this information, make it possible to judge their reliability, and facilitate the continuation of the study. Without reference, the very fact reported in the study and the scientific value of the work carried out are called into question.

Links differ from the annotation system. In the latter, the semantic meaning of an incomprehensible term is revealed, the abbreviations are given, historical data on enterprises, specific personalities, etc. are introduced. After such texts, it is also necessary to put the output data of the source (literature or archive).

Good luck in finding.