Organising our holdings

The Archives identifies, describes, preserves and makes accessible records created by Australian Government agencies and significant individuals associated with the government.

The Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) System allows the Archives to keep track of the various government agencies, the series of records they produce and the individual items in those series by registering and describing each of these elements in RecordSearch, the Archives' main online database.

There are four primary elements to the CRS System: organisations, agencies and persons, series and items. The Archives gathers details of each of these elements, so that by looking at the information about an agency you can also find which organisation controls it, details of its predecessors and successors, the series it produced, and the individual items in those series. Information can also be traced in the other direction – that is, from the item to the series to the agency. This information is available online via RecordSearch.

The CRS System provides a way of describing records in their context, and allows the Archives to exert intellectual control while still respecting the provenance and original order of the records. It allows us to maintain the intellectual link between each record format in a series, and to store records in conditions appropriate for their format.

The CRS Manual contains an introduction to the CRS System and statements on descriptive policies and practices. The main part of the manual concentrates on the purpose and content of each element of description or attribute.

CRS registrations – organisations

Colony of Van Diemen's Land CO 30

CRS registrations – agencies

Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s CA 3993

CRS registrations – series

'Z Series' - [British] Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Reports, single number series with Z or ZB prefix A6454

CRS registrations – item

Mr Alan Bond (right), 30, came to Perth from England when he was 13 and by 1967 controlled a large property development group. In 1983, an Australian challenge led by Mr Bond won the America's Cup A12111, 1/1967/30/1

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019