Collection Information Policy

Mission Statement

The aim of Gwynedd Archives Service is to protect the archival heritage of the county by collecting, preserving, giving access to and promoting the use of archives to offer experiences that will enrich, inspire, educate as well as enjoy.


Collections Information Policy Aims

The main aim of the policy is to convey how the Service collects and provides information about its collections.  The policy should be read and used alongside other relevant policies.


Statutory and Legal Status of the Service

Gwynedd Archives Service collects in accordance with the powers given under the Local Government Acts 1962 and 1972, and Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994.

 In accordance with the Scheme made under Section 60 of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 the Service has transferred collections proven to belong to Conwy with the agreement of their depositors.  Such transfer is subject to the overriding principles that the integrity of the archival groups should be preserved as far as possible and practicable.

Gwynedd Archives Service’s Record Offices have been appointed as places of deposit by the Lord Chancellor as repositories for local public records under the Public Records Act 1958.

Gwynedd Archives Service is recognised as a repository for parochial records by the Representative Body of the Church in Wales and to acquire records within the area as defined by its agreement with the Service.

Gwynedd Archives Service is recognised by the Master of the Rolls as an official repository for manorial and tithe records under the Law of Property Act, 1922, the Law of Property (Amendment) Act, 1924 and the Tithe Act, 1936.

Gwynedd Archives Service abides by current archives legislation including:

  • Public Records Act 1958
  • Local Government Act 1962
  • Local Government Act (Wales) 1994
  • General Data Protection Regulation 2018
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Environmental Regulations 2004



Scope of information collected

Gwynedd Archives Service captures information at various points of the life of a collection from initial deposit through to access.  This policy clarifies how this information is gathered at each of the following stages:

  • At point of deposit and accessioning
  • During cataloguing (including accruals) and indexing
  • Through location and movement control
  • About demand, usage and disposal
  • About physical condition, preservation and conservation activities



Since their inception, both offices of Gwynedd Archives Service have maintained separate accession registers, Caernarfon Record Office since 1948 and Meirionnydd Record Office since 1952.  These record the legal status of the collections including ownership and access conditions.   From 2001 all new accessions are also accessioned on a CALM database.

Since 1974 the Service has maintained an Accession Form that is completed by the depositor, this information is then inputted onto the CALM database and used to complete the hard copy accession register.   Conditions of Deposit are explained to each depositor and a receipt and copy of the Conditions of Deposit is sent to the depositor.  The Accession Form and copy of the receipt are kept permanently alongside any correspondence relating to the collection and any subsequent correspondence or relevant documentation.

Gwynedd Archives Service participates in The National Archives’ annual Accession to Repositories Survey.


Cataloguing and Indexing

All accessions since 2001 have been catalogued on a CALM database using the mandatory elements of the International Council on Archives, General International Standard of Description [ISAD(G)].  Prior to the adoption of ISAD(G) the service used an in-house standard.

Smaller deposits are catalogued on accession. All uncatalogued collections are noted on the Collections Backlog List and cataloguing prioritisation is determined according to anticipated demand, usage and size of the collection.  This information is then used when formulating individual staff work programmes.  This information is also used to identify collections that are appropriate for Bangor University students who choose to spend their Work Placement Module with the Service.

The Service has large uncatalogued collections where we need to seek external funding in order to make them accessible.

Accruals to existing collections are added to the collections but it is made clear in the hard copy catalogue that the deposit is an additional deposit.

All catalogues are indexed, with each individual item description indexed according to personal name, parishes and place names and also subject following an in-house subject thesaurus that broadly conforms to the NCA Rules for the construction of personal place and corporate names.


Location and movement control

All items are retrieved through the completion of a Document Request Slip which notes the name of the researcher their CARN ticket number and the document reference number.  Request Slips are retained indefinitely.

The location of all collections is noted on the location plan, and additional location guides are available for photographic collections and maps and plans.

Some items are loaned to the Museum Service for specific exhibitions, and a loan form is completed and a conservation survey is made prior to withdrawal.



Access is restricted to some of the collections held.  Restrictions mostly relate to the existence of personal information within the records.  Restrictions are noted on catalogues and outside of boxes or on relevant secondary packaging. These restrictions do not prohibit researchers from accessing their own data through the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.  In this instance Gwynedd Archives Service asks the individual concerned to complete a Subject Access Request Form.  These requests are kept with other administrative information relating to the collection.



Permanent withdrawals are discouraged, and depositors are made aware at the point of deposit through the Deposit Agreement that the service reserves a right to charge for any work on the collection.  All permanent withdrawals are noted in the accession register and in the catalogues.

All withdrawals require the depositor to provide written confirmation, identification and to complete document request slips for all items before completing the withdrawal form.  The written confirmation is filed alongside any other information relating to the collection, and the withdrawal form and document request slips are kept together until the items are returned, whereby the withdrawal form is filed. 



At the point of deposit the Service adheres to its Appraisal Policy and Depositors Agreement and will therefore:

  • Evaluate and select for return or destruction, documents not deemed to be worthy of permanent preservation in accordance with the wishes and requirements of depositors.
  • Transfer groups of archives to a more suitable repository if it felt that the documents and the users of those documents would benefit from their re-location.

The above information is recorded on the Accession Form and filed.

Prior to cataloguing collections from the Cataloguing Backlog List collections are reappraised.  A reappraisal flowchart is followed and decisions relating to the chart are conveyed to the depositor in a letter explaining the reappraisal and listing the items / collection to be returned along with a reappraisal form asking the depositor to agree for the Service to return the material or for it to be collected or destroyed. Both the letter and decision form are then filed.


Physical condition, preservation and conservation

The physical condition of all new accessions are assessed at the point of deposit, and during the accessioning process.  Any related information is noted in the accession register and on CALM, and a conservation work sheet is completed and given to the Conservator in order for the Conservator to assess the material and prioritise the work in the annual conservation work programme.  Prior to any conservation work being conducted a condition report is carried out.