The online catalogue provides descriptions of the archival holdings at various levels from the entire collection right down to individual items. Archives are arranged into collections and then sub-divided as needed into 'section', 'series', 'subseries' and 'item'. Below is a list of some of the terms you may come across in the catalogue.

Level

This indicates whereabouts in the catalogue structure a record can be found, the most common levels in use in this catalogue are:

Collection

All the records created or accumulated by a particular person or corporate body eg Collection of William Cullen. The collection level provides an overview of the whole collection with a description of the creator and the records held.

Section

A group of records within a collection which relate to each other eg Correspondence of William Cullen. For smaller collections this level may not be used.

Series

A series of related records within a section eg Consultation Letter Books of William Cullen. For smaller collections this level may not be used.

SubSeries

A group of closely related records within a series. For smaller collections this level may not be used.

Item

The smallest unit within a collection eg a single letter or volume. This is what you will be issued with if you make a request.

Extent

This field provides information about the quantity of material being described eg 2 volumes.

Hierarchy/Hierarchical context

Higher and lower levels of description show the relationship between records and additional information can sometimes be gained about a record from its position within its collection.

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