n.the position of an aggregation of archival records within a hierarchy of arrangementHolmes 1964, 23–24In all 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.Haller 1985, 403Every successive conceptual level of arrangement breaks the accession into distinct units, each of which in turn can be further refined (or ignored) as the processor sees fit.ICA 1992, 11In the Appendix, the Commission has set out a hierarchical model of the levels of arrangements for the fonds and its constituent parts. These are levels of description, with differing degrees of detail, appropriate to each level of arrangement. It is expected that these will be the subject of rules to be developed from these Principles. Thus, there may, for example, be a fonds-level description, a series-level description, or a file-level description. Intermediate levels, such as a sub-fonds or sub-series, are to be expected. Each of these levels may be further subdivided according to the complexity of the administrative structure of the organization which generated the archival material and the organization of the material. As the model shows, it is possible in a given case for some levels to be absent. By contrast, repositories may sometimes need to introduce other descriptive groupings to serve a particular management need, such as groups of fonds within a given repository (for a guide) or accumulations of individual documents received together as one accession; these ‘management levels’ are not the concern of the present Principles.the degree of completeness to which archival records have been prepared for useGreene and Meissner 2005, 246The first objective is to describe the whole of the materials at a level of detail appropriate to that level of arrangement.Weideman 2006, 275We instituted what we call “minimum standards”—the minimum level of arrangement and description that would meet the needs of researchers to locate specific boxes of materials (and sometimes specific folders) and meet the expectations of donors.Thayer 2012, 397The volunteers did little to no processing during this time, and the collection remained at a very basic level of arrangement.
Traditional levels of arrangement are repository, record group, fonds, collection, subgroups, series, subseries, file, and item.