Series are registered as part of the transfer process to document the unique set of records and the recordkeeping system they were part of.
Examples of series include correspondence files, minutes and school admission registers.
Before you register a series, check previous transfer documentation within your agency and search the catalogue, ArchivesSearch, to see whether the series has already been registered. A Government Records Series (GRS) number indicates the series has been registered.
How to register a series
Information to include on a series registration form includes:
- date range during which the records were being created
- a description of the recordkeeping system and any file or volume numbers used
- the records management application used to manage the records, e.g. Objective, RecFind, TRIM
- relationships to other record series
- whether the records have a register or index
- the agency/ies that created or maintained the records (agency recording) and the dates this occurred
- the agency responsible for the records and the date from which the agency began to be responsible for the records
- a brief description of what the records are, their purpose, and what they record
- the Records Disposal Schedule (RDS) or General Disposal Schedule (GDS) used to identified the records as permanent
- a description of the physical format and characteristics of the records, if that information is significant to their use.
The preferred format for series titles is - type of records, system of arrangement – agency creating. For example ‘Objective’ files, annual single number series with ‘SR’ prefix – State Records of South Australia
When the series has been registered, a Government Record Series (GRS) number will be issued to your agency.
If no system of arrangement is apparent, or if you are unsure about identifying series, email the Archive Team. If you are able to provide a listing of the records and scans of some of the records, this will help us to provide you with advice.
In some cases it may be necessary for an Archivist to visit and view the records before series advice can be provided.
What is a series?
A series is a set of records with the same system of arrangement. A series may be recorded by a single agency or by successive agencies.
The series system is an Australian method of describing records and their contexts of creation and management over time (Describing Archives in Context: A guide to Australasian practice, p2). It provides archive users with administrative and recordkeeping context for the records that they research, and also provides a means by which an archive can control and track records.
Identifying a series
Series identification involves identifying sets of records with the same system of arrangement. For example correspondence files which may be arranged:
- by annual single number, e.g. 2018/1476, or 18/1476 (a year prefix and sequential number)
- by single number, e.g. 17823
- two or three-tiered numerical, e.g. 10/24/1275 (where the numbers may be a code for a specific activity)
Relationships between series
It is important to identify and document relationships between series. For example:
- a set of records which previously documented the same transactions, processes or activity
- a set of records which subsequently documented the same transactions, processes or activity
- an index or register to the records.