n.a record consisting primarily of written words on paper or other hardcopy surfacesRieger 1962, 419Today most textual records in archival institutions are packed in document containers of the types shown in Figures 1 and 2 (see photographic insert).Dollar 1978, 423Current appraisal practices of machine-readable records differ in significant ways from those for textual records; and as computer technology progresses these differences will become even more pronounced.Taylor 1979, 420To those brought up on history written entirely from textual records, the written word has a certain respectability, a deceptive precision, a convincing plausibility that masks its limitations.Cameron 1983, 55Sometimes, however, machine-readable versions of the tracking or housekeeping type mentioned earlier may also present serious problems. First, they may not contain enough information from the textual case files to merit their retention in place of the textual records.Taylor 1988, 465This article has been restricted to consideration of the textual record in its many forms; to stray beyond these limits would extend the discussion too far. Texts must now be pursued to the point of departure from hard copy, to suspension within the computer. The disembodied sounds and voices over the radio and the power of these vibrations to persuade are, of course, familiar, as is television with its own set of compulsions and insistent language.Boles 2005, 122To the contrary, traditional archival literature focused on, and implicitly elevated above all else, textual records created on paper.Zastrow and Mosher 2010, 117Personal office archivists work with a wide variety of media—photographs, videotape, memorabilia, maps, framed artwork, and, of course, paper documents. Committee archivists traditionally have dealt solely with textual records, although electronic files have been gaining more attention in some committees lately.Cook 2011a, 624Why are archivists of textual records called “archivists,” but those of maps, photographs, paintings, or film are called “media archivists,” as if text on paper were not a medium?Wilsey et al. 2013, 6Our work with the donors to identify sensitive information in the textual records gave them the confidence that we would be able to identify and restrict similar records in the born-digital files.England 2017, 347–348In terms of the uniqueness, the Spiral Jetty site is theoretically more archival (although due to its physicality it cannot be placed in a memory-house-archives) than the visual and textual records (although these mediums are typically found in memory-house-archives).Burns 2019, 662An archives that relies solely on textual records would leave an incredible gap in human existence and expression. Visual materials comprise a significant portion of the historical record, and, when analyzed as documentary evidence, contribute significantly to the stories derived from archives.
Although various types of records may contain text, including digital and cartographic records, archivists have used the term textual record to refer to records on paper and parchment that predominantly contain information in textual form.