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Archival Research

A guide on conducting archival research. Includes instructions on finding archival material at the Dalhousie Libraries.

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