Index of terms used in RASCAL

1) Collection Level Records

Defined as records which identify and describe research and special collections relating to Ireland of particular interest to researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Records conform to a standardised template for collection description prepared for use by RSLP-funded projects by UKOLN (the UK Office for Library Networking based at the University of Bath, 2000) and provide links to on-line catalogues and digital resources where available. The model details a wide range of attributes through which a comprehensive description of a collection can be compiled. Fields included such elements as collection title, description, dates, custodial history and accrual, access conditions, institutional contacts and location etc – everything and anything a researcher could wish to know about a collection in order to quickly assess whether it is worth consulting or not.

2) Collection Description

Is a relatively new area of activity for information professionals, it is a useful supplement to the standard itemised listings of materials that researchers normally encounter. It focuses on top-level information about collections, so that they can be described as a whole and so made available for use much more quickly and efficiently than they might otherwise have been with detailed itemised cataloguing.

In terms of definition, RASCAL was established to include “collections containing rare or unique material, irrespective of format, or those that have attained a critical mass, which would make it attractive or perhaps essential for a researcher to visit.” Although quite broad in scope, the criteria which this definition established are quite useful as it allows participating institutions to surface information about a wide range of collections, whether bibliographic, archival or digital, regardless of age, format or extent. Single item collections are also represented. The focus is limited primarily to Humanities and Social Sciences collections, although this in itself is interpreted in the widest sense to include, for example, the history of science and the history of medicine.

3) Collection Title

The title assigned to a collection by the holding institution. Titles of collections or archives are usually a strong indication of the focus of a collection e.g. Percy Collection is the personal library of Bishop Thomas Percy (Queen’s University Belfast) or Allison Collection relates to the photographs and business records of the photographic firm, Allison & Co., Armagh (Public Record Office Northern Ireland)

4) Creator

Person, family or organisation who authored or collected the materials together e.g. Edith Somerville; Annesley Family; Contemporary Music Centre.

5) Dates

Dates will range from the time period covered by the collection, through to the period during which the collection was accumulated to the period during which the materials in the collection were actually produced. A collection focused on ancient history may have been compiled in the 20th century but comprise materials from the 16 to 19th centuries.

6) Digital Content

These collections are web based resources and can be searched by using the Filtering option when searching the Institutions or Collections content, for example Cain Project or Online Research Bank (ORB).

Just as RASCAL does not have responsibility for the archival and special collections holdings in the institutions listed on RASCAL we do not have responsibility for maintaining links and online resources associated with these digital collections.

7) Help

This option is available on all RASCAL pages

8) Homepage

RASCAL landing page www.rascal.ac.uk

9) Identifier

Reference numbers assigned to collections by the hosting institution.

10) Organisation

Organisations noted by cataloguer indicates a collection has a particular association with the Organisation

11) Person

Personal names noted by cataloguer indicates a collection has a particular association with the Person

12) Place

Place names assigned by cataloguer as index terms, indicates a collection has a particular association with the place

13) Reference

Reference numbers assigned to collections by the hosting institution

14) Repository

The name of the holding institution

This option is available on all RASCAL pages

16) Search by Index Term

Subjects, places, names

NOTE: Not all descriptions are indexed with subjects, places and names, this level of detail will depend on cataloguing practices at the holding institution. Please bear in mind that indexing is not comprehensive, particularly with archives and special collections and especially so with collections which have not been used much, if at all, for research. 

17) Subject

Assigned by cataloguer to describe particular strength of a collection.

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