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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.  An archival fonds is the entire body of records created and accumulated by an organization, family, or person. Archives describe and store each fonds 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