Series are registered as part of the transfer process to document each unique set of records and the recordkeeping system they were part of.
Examples of series include:
- GRS 13332 Correspondence files, annual single number with 'OFT' prefix - Office for the Ageing
- GRS 12836 Council minutes - District Council of Blyth
- GRS 11079 Admission register - Millicent School.
Before we register a series we search our ArchivesSearch catalogue to check if the series has already been registered.
We allocate a Government Records Series (GRS) number when we register a series.
This is the main identifier for the agency and public to access the records in our custody.
When an agency submits a transfer proposal we collect information about the records and the recordkeeping system to help use identify the series.
This information 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, if applicable e.g. Objective, RecFind, TRIM
- relationships to other records, for example, is there a register or index to files
- the agency that created or maintained the records (agency recording) and the dates this occurred
- the agency responsible for the records now, and the date from which the agency became responsible for the records
- a brief description of the records, 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].
Sometimes State Records will ask for a listing of the records or photos of some of the records to identify the series.
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 group of records created or maintained by an agency that:
- are in the same numerical, alphabetical, chronological or other identifiable sequence; or
- result from the same accumulation or filing process and are of similar function, format or informational content.
A series may consist of a single item, eg an index book, if it is one of a kind.
Series identification involves identifying sets of records with the same system of arrangement or control. For example, records may be arranged:
- by annual single number, where dockets or files are registered with a sequential number within a calendar year e.g. 2018/1476, or 18/1476
- by single number, where the sequence continues over more than one year e.g. 17822, 17823
- two or three-tiered numerical, where the numbers may be a code for a specific activity e.g. 10/24/1275
- alpha-numerically, where a combination of letters and numbers are used e.g. A1, P230
- alphabetically, such as by subject terms e.g. Aardvark to Zoo
- chronologically in date order.
Relationships between series and agencies
To understand who created the records and who is now responsible for them we document their provenance.
Agency Recording - This is the agency or agencies which created and actively used the records.
A series may be recorded by a single agency or by successive agencies as a result of administrative changes within government or council amalgamations.
Agency Responsible - We also document which agency is currently responsible for the records. This is based on the principle that agencies inherit records based on the transfer of functions or assets.
Relationships between different series
We also document relationships between series.
Controlling Series - If records were registered or indexed in another records we show the register or index as a controlling series, because it controlled how the records were managed or accessed.
Controlled Series - If we are registering a register or index then we document the records which were controlled such as a series of dockets or files.
Previous Series - We also show how recordkeeping systems have changed over time by identifying if records documenting the same transactions, processes or activity were previously managed in a different system
for example to show transition from volumes to cards to files to a digital system.
Subsequent Series - Similarly, we show any subsequent records which documented the same transactions, processes or activity.
The series system
The series system is an Australian method of describing records and the agency contexts in which they were created and managed over time (Describing Archives in Context: A guide to Australasian practice, p2).
This ensures archives can be understood in their administrative context and provides a means by which an archive can track records.