n. the establishment and tracking of the location of holdings in a repository’s custodyScott 1966, 497It has provided a nonrigid, flexible approach for the physical control and processing of archives and has allowed considerable development in the control of administrative context.Fisher and Evans 1967, 344Although archivists and manuscript curators share with librarians and documentalists a concern for establishing intellectual or subject-content control over their holdings, traditionally their primary concern has been for establishing physical control—control in terms of the form and identity of the unpublished units of research material in their custody. Of basic importance is the recognition that what is involved is not two mutually exclusive types of control, but rather two levels of control that necessarily complement each other. Thus accession inventories, registration statements or similar accession controls, and finding aids of all types—guides, catalogs, descriptive and series-title inventories, registers, special lists, calendars, etc.—which may or may not contain indexes, are intended in varying degrees to establish both types of control over unpublished materials. In fact, identification for physical control is impossible without some degree of description, which contributes to intellectual control.Papenfuse, Levine, and Lee 1977, 325Over the past two years, however, we have developed plans for three pilot inventory programs that, if fully implemented, not only should bring our total archival resources under proper intellectual and physical control by the year 2000, but also should provide an efficient, economical model for other states to follow.Slotkin and Lynch 1982, 155Archivists view themselves as intermediaries between the creators and users of records. Critical to this role is the archivist’s responsibility to process collections, to impose intellectual and physical control on archival and manuscript collections.Peterson 1986, 130Perhaps the most significant evolution has been the increasing recognition that physical control over records can be divorced from intellectual control, i.e., that the order of the records on a shelf does not necessarily reflect the position of the information about those records in a finding aid.Gilliland-Swetland 1991, 167Following the lead of the Library of Congress, major historical manuscripts repositories began incorporating the central practices of the public archives tradition, using arrangement according to provenance as the basis for intellectual and physical control over holdings.Bastian 2002, 81Prior to the twentieth century, custody played an uneven but important role in the keeping of records. Although the contemporary concept of custody as the legal and physical control of records by an archival institution is a relatively recent phenomenon, studies of archives in ancient times indicate that some notion of controlling public and even private records through physical custody in a central facility, in addition to the desire to retain records as evidence of actions and transactions, has been present since early records creation.Hackbart-Dean and de Catanzaro 2002, 131Seven critical stages of processing allow archivists to gain intellectual and physical control over a large collection: background research, preliminary inventory of records with preliminary groupings, identification of series and arrangement, review for weeding and sampling, physical arrangement and basic level of preservation, the preparation of the finding aid, and the creation of a catalog record.Roe 2005, 11Arrangement and description are the essential processes by which an archivist gains intellectual and physical control over a body of records.Evans 2007, 389After appraisal and collecting, the next priority of any archival institution must be to gain initial legal, intellectual, and physical control through accessioning and basic processing.Daines 2014, 314It discusses the importance of identifying the creator of the materials and taking legal and physical control of them through the process of accessioning.Hooper and Force 2014, 25Physical control refers to the implied control an archivist has over individual documents through knowledge of their physical location within the larger collection. Through knowing where items should be located within a collection, physical control makes it possible to more readily recognize when and which items are missing. Physical control also provides better access to a collection’s materials.Williams and Berilla 2015, 89The institutional archivist and the head of technical services developed a plan to reassert intellectual and physical control of the institution’s digital collections.
This archival function often occurs as part of accessioning or processing. Physical control ensures that archival resources are stored where descriptions indicate. Intellectual control includes descriptive efforts to identify potentially relevant materials and point to where those materials should be stored. Sometimes the pointers are absolute, indicating a specific box on a specific shelf in a specific room. In other cases, the pointers may be relative, directing users to a collection and box number that are positioned within a range of similar numbers.