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Guide to Archival Research

A guide on using archival materials held in the Dalhousie University Archives

How is archival material organized?

Archives are typically organized into fonds.  A fonds is the entire body of records of an organization, family, or individual that have been created and accumulated as the result of an organic process. Each fonds is kept separately from other fonds to prevent the records from becoming intermingled and disorganized. 

Fonds are then sub-divided in a hierarchical structure consisting of "series," "sub-series," "files," and "items." A typical fonds might look like:

Diagram of a fonds