The first two editions of the glossary were, from their titles, "For Archivists, Manuscript Curators, and Records Managers." This glossary targets a wider audience of anyone who needs to understand records because they work with them. It attempts to build a bridge between records, information technology, and business communities by interpreting archival concepts for people in other disciplines, while at the same time explaining those other disciplines to archivists and records professionals.
This glossary is based primarily on archival literature in the United States and Canada, in that order. In a few instances, terms, definitions, and citations from other English-speaking communities are included when relevant. This glossary includes terms that relate to the types of records that someone is likely to encounter when reading archival literature or when working with a fairly typical collection of records, and it emphasizes terms relating to electronic records. It also incorporates terms from the literature of preservation, law, and micrographics, as well as common form and genre terms from architectural and technical drawings, motion picture and video, photography, and sound recording. It includes some words that are no longer in common use, but which are useful when reading older literature; for example, Spindex. The glossary does not include many words specific to affiliated professions, such as rare books or printing.
In general, words with no archival connotation were excluded. While aisles are common in archives, any good dictionary will provide an adequate definition of the term. A few entries are common words or phrases which function as guide terms to illustrate the relationships between other terms. For example, box needs no definition but is included as a bucket term to group cross-references to related terms, such as Hollinger box, Bankers Box, and Phase box. Similarly, the phrase "preservation methods and techniques" is used to point to other entries scattered throughout the alphabet.
The glossary contains more than 2,000 defined entries and more than 600 lead-in terms, and nearly 700 citations from some 280 sources. Some 2,500 cross-references (not counting lead-in terms) in the syndetic structure illustrate relationships between terms.