This word list provides informal definitions of technical terms commonly found in this section of the website.

Administrative history

An outline of the history of a business, organization, or government agency. It would usually describe what the organization did, how it changed over time, and perhaps list its chief officers. Intended to give some idea of who created a given body of records and how those records may have originally been used.

Architectural drawings

Architectural drawings include building plans, interior design plans, and plans for plumbing, heating, and electrical systems.

Archival description

A description of an archival record or records. Descriptions provide contextual information about the material and are arranged into hierarchical levels (fonds, series, files, items).

City documents

These items consist mainly of published and unpublished reports by or pertaining to the City of Victoria. Many of them will also be found within various groups of City records, especially within the records of City officials who created the reports or received them as part of their work. City documents consist of extra copies of these reports that have been brought together for convenience.

City government records

Groups of related records created by City of Victoria departments or divisions.


Unlike a fonds, material that has been collected by a person or organization rather than created. While one person may donate his collection of postcards, another person may donate a fonds that includes an assortment of postcards received from friends and acquaintances over the years.

Community records

Community records (also called "private" or "non-governmental" records) consist of documents created in the normal course of affairs by a business, organization or family, such as correspondence, journals, ledgers, photographs, and property files.

Films and videos

Films and videos may also be described as moving images.

Finding aid

A document containing information about a group of records in an archives. Finding aids allow researchers to learn more about particular sets of records and determine whether or not they are relevant to their research. In addition to information about records, finding aids also usually contain biographical or administrative information about records creators.


All the records created by a person or organization during the course of their existence. We rarely have a whole fonds in our custody, but (by convention) we describe the records as if we did. Other archives may describe the same thing as a "collection". Pronounced in the French manner with a silent "d" and "s".

Graphic material

Graphic material refers to two-dimensional pictures. These include photographs, drawings, watercolours, and prints.


Also called cartographic material, maps are documents that represent the earth (in part or in whole), usually to scale. Compare with “Technical drawings” below.


Miscellanea refers to single or small accumulations of photographs donated and loaned to the City of Victoria Archives by private individuals, businesses, and organizations.


 Objects are defined as three-dimensional records (unless they are digital objects, as described above.) They include man-made objects or objects found in nature.

Sound recordings

Sound recordings refer to any media on which sound has been recorded and can be played back.

Technical drawings

Technical drawings include plans for stationary structures other than buildings (such as a bridges), and movable objects (such as machinery or ships). See also “Maps” above.

Textual records

Textual records are written records that can be read without the use of a machine - typically, old fashioned paper.