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Athabasca University


Accession Record(s): A case file containing all records associated with the legal and physical transfer of archival materials to the Athabasca University Archives (Archives) including, but not limited to, purchase agreements, appraisals, receipts, copyright information, correspondence, etc.

Acquisition: Archival materials to which Athabasca University has legal title; the documented transfer of such title to Athabasca University. Archival materials may be acquired through purchase, donation, transfer, or exchange.

Appraisal: The process of identifying materials offered to an archives that have sufficient value to be accessioned (archival appraisal) or the process of determining the fair market value of an item (monetary appraisal).

Archival Records: Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs that are preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator.

Archives: A repository for archival records. Also a collection of archival records (records of enduring value).

Arrangement: The process of organizing materials with respect to their provenance and original order, to protect their context and to achieve physical or intellectual control over the materials.

Athabasca University Art Committee: (Art Committee) A Presidential Standing Committee governed by their Terms of Reference.

Athabasca University Community: All staff, faculty, tutors, board members, contractors, students and/or volunteers who may create or receive records in the course of carrying out official University business.

Attribution: The assigning of authorship or creative origin to an object.


Collection(s): A grouping of records and/or artifacts with some unifying theme or characteristic;
an accumulation of objects gathered together for a particular purpose.

Conservation: The repair or stabilization of materials through chemical or physical treatment to ensure that they survive in their original form as long as possible.

Custodian: An individual or organization having possession of, and responsibility for, the care and control of material.


Deaccession: The process of permanently removing archival material from the Archives. Deaccession includes formally reviewing, approving, and recording the removal of the work of art. Deaccession is followed by disposal.

Deed of Gift: A contract establishing conditions governing the transfer of title to donations and specifying any restrictions on access and use of the materials being donated.

Description: The process of analyzing, organizing, and recording details about the formal elements of a record or collection of records, such as creator, title, dates, extent, and contents, to facilitate the work's identification, management, and understanding.

Disposal: The appropriate disposal of archival material through a formal transfer of legal ownership to another owner or by deliberately destroying and/or discarding the materials.

Donation: A voluntary transfer of property of value for which the donor expects and receives nothing in return. The term "gift" may be used interchangeably with "donation".


Exchange: Trading of objects and their legal title.


Fair Market Value: The price at which a collection might reasonably be expected to change hands between a willing seller and a willing buyer dealing at arm's length.

Fonds: (French origin) Term used within the archival disciplines to describe the highest level of organization for a body of records (i.e. the complete conceptual framework, including all the inter-related links between discrete records within the chief archive unit).

Format: The physical form in which material appears – books, slides, photographs, film, recordings, compact disc, etc.


GAU: Governors of Athabasca University.


Historical Research Records: Records and manuscripts acquired by the University Archives which are primary source material that enhance the resources of the University's teaching and research programs and complement the secondary sources in these fields held by the University Library.

Holdings: The whole of a repository's collections.


Loans: Works of art that are provided to the University for temporary exhibition or that are provided by the University to other institutions for temporary exhibition.

Loan Agreement: A contract establishing conditions governing the temporary transfer of materials from one institution or individual to another institution or individual.


Medium (Media): The physical form of recorded information. Includes paper, film, magnetic tapes and disks, CDs, etc.


Official Donation Receipt: A receipt issued by Athabasca University to a donor for income tax purposes.


PAASH: (Provincial Archives of Alberta Subject Headings) Developed in 1982 to provide a standard indexing vocabulary for archival descriptions.

Personal Records: Records created, acquired, or received by an individual in the course of their affairs or by University related organizations or individuals. Examples may include correspondence, reports, research materials, minutes, photographs etc.

Preservation: The protection of archival materials by minimizing chemical and physical deterioration and damage to prevent loss of information and to extend the life of materials.

Provenance: The origin or source of an individual record or collection of records, and a fundamental organizing principle of archives.

Public Trust: The obligation of AU to serve the general interests of the people at large, including the preservation of cultural resources for the long-term benefit of the public.


Record: Recorded information of any kind and in any form or media, either originated or received by Athabasca University as part of Athabasca University's business transactions.

Respect des fonds: Relates to provenance, and can be summarized in the two major principles: Never mix records of the same provenance with those of a different provenance, and maintain the original order of records as found.


Transfer: A form of donation in which one institution gives an object and its legal title to another institution.


University Art Collection: All works of art acquired by Athabasca University.

University Records: Records that are created, received and accumulated by all University offices and officers and by the various governing bodies of the University. Examples may include correspondence, reports, minutes, registers, directives, announcements, publications, architectural and building plans, and other material produced by the University in pursuance of its functions.


Work(s) of Art: Applied, decorative and fine art representing a wide variety of media and styles, including but not limited to paintings, sculptures, works created in new media, original prints and drawings, photographs, architectural drawings and models, products of the decorative and minor arts, and works of art that are part of the fabric of buildings, including stained glass windows in situ. Depending on the context, a work of art may be a single item or an integral unit made up of its component parts.

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Updated August 13 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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