Electronic Records Research 1997: Resource Materials
Compilation Copyright, Archives & Museum Informatics 1998
Article Copyright, Author
WHAT IS A COMPLETE RECORD IN THE TRADITIONAL ENVIRONMENT?
COMPLETE RECORD = a record that has all the elements of form required by the juridical system in which it is created. Completeness is conferred to a record by the presence of all required elements of its intellectual form, specifically the features of content articulation and the annotations.
Intellectual form = the characteristics of the internal composition of the record
They are, in any order:
entitling = name, title, capacity, or address of the physical or juridical person issuing the record or of which the author of the record is an agent (eg. letterhead)
title = name of the record. It refers either to the form of the record (eg. indenture, minutes) or to the act carried out by the record (eg. agreement, oath of office)
date = place (topical date) and time (chronological date) of the compilation and/or issuing of the document and/or of the act which the record concerns
superscription = name of the author of the record and/or of the act (eg. "I, John Smith,declare..." or "John Smith, of the first party"). In letters, it often takes the form of entitling.
inscription = name, title, and address of the addressee of the record and/or of the act
salutation = a greeting (eg. "Dear sir")
subject = statement signifying what the record is about
preamble = statement expressing the ideal motivation of the act, or the ethical or juridical principles inspiring it, or the articles of law on which the action is based
exposition = statement of the concrete and immediate circumstances generating the record and/or the act
disposition = expression of the will or judgement of the author
appreciation = a wish for the realization of the disposition
complimentary clause = a brief formula expressing respect (eg. "yours truly")
attestation = the subscription of those who took part in issuing the record (i.e. author, writer, countersigner, and/or witnessess). It might or might not take the form of signatures
qualification of subscription(s) = title and capacity of the subscriber(s)
secretarial notes = initials of typists, mention of enclosures, indication that the record is copied to other persons
Some other elements of content articulation are particular to certain record forms and contribute to their identification by being necessary to their completeness. They are:
invocation = mention of the higher power in the name of whom the type of act is carried out (eg. "In the name of the law")
formula perpetuitatis = sentence declaring that the rights put into existence by the record are not circumscribed by time
notification = publication of the purport of the record (eg. "Know you" as in a letters patent)
corroboration = enunciation of the means used to validate the record and guarantee its authenticity
clause of injunction = expression of the obligation of all those concerned to conform to the will of the author
clause of prohibition = prohibition to violate the enactment or oppose it
clause of derogation = expression of the obligation to respect the enactment notwithstanding other orders or decisions contrary to it, opposition, appeals, or previous dispositions
clause of exception = expression of the situations, conditions, or persons which are excepted from the enactment
clause of obligation = expression of the obligation of the parties to respect the act for themselves and for their successors or descendants
clause of renunciation = expression of the consent to give up a right or a claim
clause of warning = treat of punishment, should the enactment be violated
promissory clause = expression of the promise of a prize if the enactment is respected
The minimum required elements of content articulation for a record to be complete are:
a. date (for identifying the topical and temporal context)
b. superscription or attestation (for identification of the author)
c. inscription (for identification of the addressee)
d. disposition (for identification of the action)
With non textual records, that is, with graphic or image records, the minimum required elements of content articulation are:
b. superscription or attestation
d. title or subject (for identification of the content)
The disposition is represented by the graphics or the image.
In addition to these, other elements of content articulation are required within each given juridical system for each given record form.
Annotations = additions to the content of the record made after its compilation. They can be distinguished in categories in relation the procedural moment in the treatment of the affair in which they were added to the record in question:
Annotations added in the execution phase:
authentication = the express, legal recognition that a record or the signature(s) on it is what it purports to be (particular to certain record forms)
registration = the reference to a transcription of the record made in a register by an office different from the one creating the record (particular to certain record forms)
Annotations added during the handling of the record:
instructions = the mention of previous or following actions, directions for transmission, disposition, classification, etc.
dates of hearings or readings
signs besides the text = notations added by the reader, such as check marks, question marks, etc.
Annotations added during the management of the record:
registry number = the consecutive number assigned to incoming and outgoing mail in offices using the registry system
classification code = the code which identifies a record by its documentary relationships in the receiving and/or generating offices
cross-references = the indication of the classification code of related files
date of receipt = chronological date of the receipt of the record
name of recipient = name of the receiving office (usually affixed by a stamp) or individual.
The annotations required for a record to be complete are entirely dependent on the context of the creator
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