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From the French Wikipedia page [1]

A guide departmental archives is a book published in France in the second half of the xx th century by a service of departmental archives of a French department to introduce this service to the public, mainly Archives which he is responsible. It is entitled, for example, "Ain Departmental Archives Guide" or "Guide to the Tarn Archives".

As the name suggests, each guide is designed as the first orientation tool for the reader who is unfamiliar with the service, often before he even goes there or speaks to him: the staff in communication with the public will more easily take over in this orientation if the reader has a minimum knowledge of the conditions and possibilities of the service.

Although intended for an undifferentiated public, it remains a specialized work close to official publications, which leads to limited draws without appeal to a publishing house . In principle, it is part of the fund of documentation centers of the sector and each service has the guides of other departments. As long as the edition is not exhausted, it presents its own guide to the purchase with other printed research instruments of which it is at the origin. The author - according to the cover of the book - is usually the director of the Archives ( Director of Archives since the 1990s), but some are signed by two or more people and better that of Maine-et-Loire is signed in 1978 by the formula "by the Departmental Archives Personnel".

With the continued growth of fonds and their research instruments, archival guides are rapidly becoming obsolete to the point of foregoing the production of new editions. Also at the end of the xx th century , the line-up Internet more or less detailed presentations of the funds has taken over traditional printed books.

The frame of classification as a frame Edit

A guide to Departmental Archives consists mainly of chapters synthetically presenting each of the different series - old and new - as defined by the current ranking framework (one chapter per series); series of chapters preceded and followed by some chapters of general presentation, such as the history of the service or presentation of certain services such as an educational service 1 . Although many departments - about half - do not have such guides, the size of the volume varies greatly from one department to another, partly because of the volume of the archives themselves 2  : (for example, if guide of Alpes-Maritimes of 1974 devotes only half a page to the series U , others approach the ten or so pages).

Each chapter of the guide provides the keys to the composition of the funds in the series to which it is dedicated. In the limited space available since there is at least one series per letter of the alphabet and therefore as many chapters, this amounts to specifying the origin of the funds and giving only the overall plan, and this especially since the fund is quantitatively important. This is often supplemented by a few words about its importance and linear footage is often specified for the entire series or for each background that it includes. For example, the chapter of the 1973 Gironde guide dealing with the U series (Justice 1800-1940) begins as follows:

  • (2000 linear meters, unclassified.)
  • (Directories: see above, page 71, No. 66.)
  • Origin of fonds: Prefecture, various courts.

In his presentation, more or less explicitly, 3 the drafter is concerned with the concordance between what should be there according to the 1965 classification framework - qualitatively and quantitatively 4 - and what is actually there in view of the local history and the events that have affected these archives since their creation - both prior to payment to the Archives and since this payment, tri-included - For example some bombings have caused massive destruction of documents in the institutions that possessed them and others in the archive repositories themselves.

Then, the heart of each chapter develops according to the layer provided by the subdivision of funds and details as much as possible - often summarily - the sub-series by some indications on the origin and type of document and the period concerned. With these data, the researcher can make a first verification of the adequacy of his research object and of the communicable and possibly non-communicable documents: if his conclusion is positive, he notes at least the name of the sub-series which interests him. with a possible information specifying the nature and situation of the directory of this sub-series, indispensable directory which has sometimes been published but which will more often be present in the form of binder (s) (or even computer station) in thereading room or nearby. From one guide to another, because of the national ranking framework, old at this level, the series are very usually designated by the same letter, while the numbers that are assigned to each of their sub-series present variations. more or less important and which can be causes of error in case of simple transpositions, for example in the series E, the civil status will ordinarily be the subject of the sub-series 3 E , but also sometimes "4 E" elsewhere assigned for example to notarial deeds .

Finally, each chapter lists the main complementary (!) Guides , ie the detailed directories (in terms of archivist , digital directories ) that provide the required dimensions for the communication of documents. These research tools, which are essential for researchers, are often summarized in annex chapters, but new ones are permanently created by the staff and are not mentioned there. His work of exploration can be also assisted by some bibliographical elements.

The presentation of the series is sometimes extended by research tracks related to these funds in other repositories, such as the Communal Archives , if a part of the volume is not entirely devoted to these inventories.

Variable contents and supplements Edit

According to the administration to which the service is attached, according to the times, a brief preface is signed by a political figure, presidents of general councils essentially.

Some guides devote chapters to the Communal Archives of Department 5 as well as to the Hospital Archives . Some also have pages of advice specific to different research, for example in local history or genealogy . On the other hand, very few guides have at least one index.

In terms of illustrations, depending on the printing capacity of the time and the budget, the guides often reproduce documents that appear to be the most remarkable or representative in this department. Some guides are also illustrated with views of the building exterior or interior, or portraits of former archivists and depot managers ( curators ). Some maps of historical geography are sometimes included, and particularity, the Loiret guide ends with an appendix of fourteen cards.

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