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This week's term: recordness
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recordness

n. ~ the quality of being a record; the state of having the characteristics of a record  

Related Term  
record  

Notes  
The definition of “recordness,” just as the definition of “record,” changes according to purpose, law, and context, yet there are some features that most archivists agree are defining features of a record: a record preserves the content of some human action or activity, its content is fixed, and it encompasses at least some of the context needed to make it comprehensible beyond itself. However, meaning is pliable in both the content and the definition of a record. Especially with regard to electronic records, for example, fixity is more a property of ensuring that a record does not change over time after capture by an archives rather than the property that a record (say, in the form of a database or a webpage) does not change during its active use.  

Cited In
Bearman, David, “The Implications of Armstrong v. Executive of the President for the Archival Management of Electronic Records,” The American Archivist 56 (Fall 1993): 679.  

Gilliland, Anne J., Conceptualizing 21st-Century Archives (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2014): 170. 

Kumar, Sushil, Archives: Principles & Practices (New Delhi: Isha Books, 2011): 8-10.   

Sternfeld, Joshua, “Archival Theory and Digital Historiography: Selection, Search, and Metadata as Archival Processes for Assessing Historical Contextualization,” The American Archivist 74 (Fall/Winter 2011): 549. 
 
Williams, Caroline, “Chapter 1: Records and archives: concepts, roles and definitions,” in Caroline Williams, ed., Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into Practice (London: Facet Publishing, 2013): 14. 
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WHAT IS THIS? Word of the Week is a weekly email service of the Dictionary Working Group of the Society of American Archivists. Featured terms will be included in the new Dictionary of Archives Terminology, which is projected to be available in 2016.

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