n.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 materialsHolmes 1964, 23–24THE LEVELS OF ARRANGEMENT ¶ In all large archival depositories there can be distinguished, usually, at least five levels of arrangement: ¶ 1. Arrangement at the depository level—the breakdown of the depository's complete holdings into a few major divisions on the broadest common denominator possible and the physical placement of holdings of each such major division to best advantage in the building's stack areas. This major division of holdings is usually reflected in parallel administrative units (divisions or branches in the depository organization that are given responsibility for these major groupings). ¶ 2. Arrangement at the record group and subgroup levels—the breakdown of the holdings of an administrative division or branch (as these may have been established on the first level) into record groups and the physical placement of these in some logical pattern in stack areas assigned to the division or branch. This level should include the identification of natural subgroups and their allocation to established record groups. 3. Arrangement at the series level—the breakdown of the record group into natural series and the physical placement of each series in relation to other series in some logical pattern. ¶ 4. Arrangement at the filing unit level—the breakdown of the series into its filing unit components and the physical placement of each component in relation to other components in some logical sequence, a sequence usually already established by the agency so that the archivist merely verifies and accepts it. ¶ 5. Arrangement at the document level—the checking and arranging, within each filing unit, of the individual documents, enclosures and annexes, and individual pieces of paper that together comprise the filing unit and the physical placement of each document in relation to other documents in some accepted, consistent order. ¶ The above five steps refer to the arrangement of the records themselves, independently of their containers. They establish the order or sequence in which records ought to be placed in containers and in which the containers ought to be labeled and shelved. When all these steps have been completed the archival holdings of a depository may be said to be under control. This control may never be established completely (sometimes arrangement at the filing unit or document level may never be fully carried out), but it must be established to an acceptable degree before records description work is possible because finding aids have to refer to specified units in an established arrangement.Murphy et al. 2015, 447The first question, given that the materials did not arrive in any original order, was how to group the images and present them as an arranged collection. The priority was to ensure that the digital collection could be easily browsed, so that users with little or no knowledge of the collection would still be able to find interesting materials. The team considered traditional processing methods at this point, reflecting on procedures that require an archivist to predetermine a method of arrangement and then moving the physical materials around to reflect that decision. If that subsequent arrangement did not suit the needs of the library or its users, the materials would have to be physically and conceptually reorganized.the organization and sequence of items within a collectionJenkinson 1947, 4They came together, and reached their final arrangement, by a natural process: are a growth; almost, you might say, as much an organism as a tree or an animal.Holmes 1964, 21Archives are already arranged—supposedly, by the agency of origin while it built them up day after day, year after year, as a systematic record of its activities and as part of its operations. This arrangement the archivist is expected to respect and maintain. Arrangement is built into archives; it is one of the inherent characteristics of “archives,” differentiating them from nonarchival material.
Arrangement with respect to original order presumes such an order is discernable. Archivists may arrange such materials in a way that facilitates their use and management without violation of any archival principle.