About the Records Guides
Arrangement of records
Records held by the Oregon State Archives are arranged according to the state agency or local government that created them. Therefore, the records of the Agriculture Department are maintained as one "record group" and the records of the Fish and Wildlife Department are maintained as another group. In most cases, the records are maintained in the "original order" that was set by the agency when the records were created and used. This helps to preserve the valuable relationships between records that would be lost if they were reorganized by subject or some other scheme.
Records guides are organized by the record groups described above. Therefore, the records guide for the Agriculture Department lists and describes all of the records for that agency. Within the records guide, the records are described to the "record series" level. A record series is simply a set of records that are maintained together because of function, filing system, or some other commonality (e.g., probate case files, administrative correspondence, etc.). In some cases, folder listings or indexes provide more detailed descriptions of the records.
Many of the state agency records guides have several basic components (some variation exists depending on available records and information):
Agency history or overview: This usually includes a narrative summary of an agency's statutory responsibility, mission, structure, function, and programs from its creation to the present or to its dissolution.
Scope and content note: This is a brief overview of the record group that summarizes the major types of records, overall date spans and size, and highlights especially noteworthy or problematic records.
Record series descriptions: These describe in more detail the date spans, size, arrangement, types of records, and topics included in each record series. These often provide brief descriptions of photographs, maps, audio or video tapes, film, or other media that are separated from the general records to better preserve them. They may also have links to more specific indexes or folder lists.
Appendix: These include useful related documents such as agency organization charts from different time periods.
Image slide show: These include sample photographs, drawings, or illustrations that are designed to give researchers a taste of the available visual resources and highlight some of the major responsibilities of the agency.
Web links: These are hyperlinks to other Web resources related to the agency to assist in expanded research. They often include statutes, administrative rules, contact information, records retention schedules, and budgets.
Search state agency records guides: This is a search engine designed to find information specifically in state agency records guides. It is particularly useful for finding topics that may be important to more than one state agency. For example, the word "salmon" may appear in many state agency records guides.