Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How is the digital repository organised?
How are the archives organised?
What is the Australian Series System?
Where do I go to see physical archives?

How is the digital repository organised?

The digital repository is split into unique collections. Each council participating in the Archives Central project has their own collection, where the series and items that make up their archival material are listed. The entries for the agencies that created those series and items, across all council collections, are stored together in a single separate agents collection. All items, series and agents provide links to the related entries, regardless of what collection they are based in.

You can restrict your search to one particular collection or search over all collections. See the Finding Things section for more information on searching or browsing for items.

How are the archives organised?

While libraries arrange their books by subject, records in an archive are arranged in the order in which they were received. Records are not identified by their subject but by who made them or used them. There are several different ways to organise archives, but the ones listed here are arranged using the Australian Series System.

What is the Australian Series System?

The Australian Series system is an archival control or metadata system, used primarily to describe records in the custody of archival institutions. Under the Australian Series System there are three important and related elements: agencies (agents), series (record sets) and items (records). A single agent may have created many series, and a series may consist of thousands of individual items or as few as one.

The Australian Series System recognises that creating agencies change names, split and dissolve over time, providing a flexible framework to arrange their records across the different agencies that all share the same organizational content. These record series are relational in that they are linked to their historical creating agencies in their various forms to reflect changes in organisational structure over time.

Where do I go to see physical archives?

Whanganui District Council and Palmerston North City Council store their own archives. Requests for information from these collections need to be made to them. The other seven councils store their archives in a shared facility at 40 Bowen Street, Feilding.