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The discussion of file v. folder was making me a bit confused (and giving me
horrendous thoughts about whether or not I'd marked up my finding aids
correctly), so I took a look in _A glossary for archivists, manuscript
curators, and records managers_  (SAA's Archival fundamentals series) and
found the following:

FILE

1.      An organized unit (folder, volume, etc.) of DOCUMENTS grouped
together either for current use or in the process of archival ARRANGEMENT.
2.      A series of FILES.
3.      In DATA PROCESSING, two or more RECORDS of identical layout treated
as a unit....
4.      Storage equipment, such as a filing cabinet.

FOLDER

        A folded sheet of cardboard or heavy PAPER serving as a container
for a number of DOCUMENTS.

Indeed, it appears from this (if one accepts the definitions) that one
merely has to decide if a folder is indeed being used as a file.  Why does
this sound too easy?  Is the discussion (and my confusion) merely occasioned
by the tendency to use the word "folder" instead of the more inclusive term
"file" (which is very natural in a setting where all or most of your files
are contained in folders)?  I also took a look at the LC web pages on EAD,
but did not see anything like a glossary that would help explain any other
meaning for FILE.

I'd love to hear opinions and alternate definitions.



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Kate Bowers
Assistant Curator for
Bibliographic Control and Special Media
Harvard University Archives
Cambridge, MA 02138
voice:  (617) 495-2461
fax:    (617) 495-8011
email: [log in to unmask]
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