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Appendix B: Glossary

Agency: See Institution

Alienation: Removal of records from the care and control of the Government of Canada. (Source: Information Management Services, Records and Information Life Cycle Management, Stage 6: Disposition)

Application Profile: In DCMI [Dublin Core Metadata Initiative] usage, an application profile is a declaration of the metadata terms an organization, information resource, application, or user community uses in its metadata. In a broader sense, it includes the set of metadata elements, policies, and guidelines defined for a particular application or implementation. The elements may be from one or more element sets, thus allowing a given application to meet its functional requirements by using metadata elements from several element sets including locally defined sets. For example, a given application might choose a specific subset of the Dublin Core elements that meets its needs, or may include elements from the Dublin Core, another element set, and several locally defined elements, all combined in a single schema. An application profile is not considered complete without documentation that defines the policies and best practices appropriate to the application.
(Source: Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, DCMI Glossary,

Attribute: See Element Attribute

Authority: See Records Disposition Authority

Classification: Systematic identification and arrangement of business activities and/or records into categories according to logically structures conventions, methods, and procedural rules represented in a classification system. Not to be confused with security classification.
(Source: ISO International Standard 15489-1:2001)

Container: A file jacket, Shannon file, expansion folder or similar object that provides methods for inserting or removing records on a specified function/activity/subject which is arranged therein in some sequence, usually by date order.
(Source: Based on Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Finance and Administration Manual Glossary, January 2000)

Controlled Vocabulary: A list of standardized terminology, words, or phrases, used for indexing or content analysis and information retrieval usually in a defined information domain. It is characterized by consistent format and syntax and may include synonyms and cross-references. In a controlled vocabulary, one of a set of possible terms representing a concept can be used as the representative term for that concept. Consequently, all resources about, or pertinent to, that particular concept, within a body of information resources, can be indexed using this representative term.
(Source: Government On-Line Metadata Working Group - Controlled Vocabulary Sub-Group, Guide for Implementing Controlled Vocabularies in the Government of Canada)

Department: See Institution

Destruction: The definitive obliteration of a record or file beyond any possible reconstitution.
(Source: Based on ARMA Glossary of Records and Information Management Terms, 2nd Edition, 2000)

Digital: Representing information through a sequence of discrete units, especially binary code. 'Digital' is distinguished from 'analog', the latter representing information as a continuous signal. Often used as a synonym of automated, computerized, electronic or the prefix e-. 'Digital' and 'electronic' are often used synonymously, although 'electronic' may include analog as well as digital formats.
(Source: Society of American Archivists, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology,

Disposition: Range of processes associated with implementing records destruction or transfer decisions which are documented in disposition authorities or other instruments.
(Source: Based on ISO International Standard 15489-1:2001)

Disposition Authority: See Records Disposition Authority

Element: Formally defined terms which are used to describe properties of a record or file.
(Source: Based on Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, DCMI Glossary,

Element Attribute: A characteristic of an element.
(Source: Based on ISO International Standard 11179-3:2003)

Essential Records: Records essential to continuing or re-establishing critical institutional functions; examples include records that:

  • Affect the basic, legal, property, and other rights of individuals and corporate bodies;
  • Have the greatest use and demand;
  • Would require an inordinate commitment in terms of time, money, and labour if the records themselves and the systems have to be reconstructed;
  • Are common to those selected by other government institutions as part of their essential records program; and
  • Are required to be maintained by law or regulation
    (Source: Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat, Policy on the Management of Government Information, 2003,

File: In the analog environment, a collection of related records grouped together usually in reverse chronological order. In the digital environment, a named set of records stored or processed as a unit electronically.
(Source: Based on ARMA, Glossary of Records and Information Management Terms)

Function: (1) Any high level purpose, responsibility, task or activity which is assigned to the accountability agenda of an institution by legislation, policy or mandate;
(2) Typically common administrative or operational functions of policy development and program and/or delivery of goods or services;
(3) A set or series of activities (broadly speaking a business process) which, when carried out according to a prescribed sequence, will result in an institution or individual producing the expected results in terms of the goods or services it is mandated or delegated to provide.
(Source: Information Management Services, Business Activity Structure Classification System (BASCS) Guidance,)

Government Institution: See Institution

Institution: A government institution listed in Schedule I to the Access to Information Act or the schedule to the Privacy Act or any institution designated by the Governor in Council.
(Source: Library and Archives of Canada Act, 2004, c.11,

Life Cycle of a Record: The life cycle of information management encompasses the following: planning; the collection, creation, receipt, and capture of information; its organization, use and dissemination; its maintenance, protection and preservation; its disposition; and evaluation.
(Source: Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat, Policy on the Management of Government Information, 2003,

Metadata: Data describing context, content and structure of records and their management through time.
(Source: ISO International Standard 15489-1:2001)

Metadata Element: See Element

Metadata Schema: See Schema

Office of Primary Interest: The federal government institution - department, agency, board, office, or commission - to which the authority, responsibility, and accountability to perform a particular function on behalf of the Government of Canada has been specifically assigned by legislation, regulation, policy, or mandate.
(Source: Information Management Services, Multi-Institutional Disposition Authorities)

Property: See Element.

Record: Any documentary material other than a publication, regardless of medium or form.
(Source: Library and Archives of Canada Act, 2004, c.11,

Records Management: Field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.
(Source: ISO International Standard 15489-1:2001)

Resource: Anything that has identity. Familiar examples include an electronic document, an image, a service, and a collection of other resources. Not all resources are network "retrievable"; e.g., human beings, corporations, and bound books in a library can also be considered resources.
(Source: Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, DCMI Glossary,

Retention Schedule: A comprehensive list of records series titles, indicating for each series the length of time it is to be maintained. May include retention in active office areas, inactive storage areas, and when and if such series may be destroyed or formally transferred to another entity such as an archives for historical preservation.
(Source: ARMA, Glossary of Records and information Management Terms, 2nd Edition, 2000)

Schema: Framework that specifies and describes a standard set of metadata elements and their interrelationships.
(Source: ISO Technical Specification 23081-1:2004)

Scheme: A source of information that provides instructions for the encoding of a data value, such as a metadata element.
(Source: New South Wales, NSW Recordkeeping Metadata Standard,

Transfer: The record has archival value and care and control will be transferred to Library and Archives Canada at the end of the retention period or removed from the care and control of the Government of Canada (i.e. the act of alienation).
(Source: Information Management Services, Records and Information Life Cycle Management, Stage 6: Disposition)

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