Welcome to the Multilingual Archival Terminology , an interactive, online, database of archival terminology usage.

Type: Terminology

What you will find in this resource:

Access the MAT database

The Terminology is:

  • An international source for the terminology and definitions used by many traditions to express shared archival concepts
  • A dynamic instrument that will reflect international archival practice and its evolution over time
  • A product created by archival professionals from around the world using authoritative sources and common practice
  • A tool maintained by its users – professionals, academics, researchers, and archival students in the international archival community
  • A constantly up-to-date reference for students and professionals alike
  • The terminology reference for the ICA Education Modules, Digital Records Pathways: Topics in Digital Preservation
  • An opportunity for its users to inform the archival world about the development of new concepts identified by specific terms and definitions

The Multilingual Archival Terminology project is led by Dr. Luciana Duranti, University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada.

It is hosted by the CISCRA,Centre for the International Study of Contemporary Records and Archives.

The database is intended to facilitate communication and understanding of records-related concepts across a variety of languages, cultures, and traditions of archival practice.
As terminology is a living entity, this database provides a dynamic resource that can benefit from the affordances of digital networks, and the wisdom of crowd sourcing within the archival community. It is presented as a wiki, and registered users can add terms, definitions, links between definitions, and comments.

The goal of the database is to reflect, as much as possible, national/regional archival traditions through the choice and definition of terms. Although the database was initiated with 320 English terms that were then interpreted in several other languages, the result is a resource that does not preference one language or tradition over another, but presents terms and definitions as they are used by records professionals where they live and work.
As some of the languages represented in the database do not have equivalents for all the concepts expressed by the English terms or for the terms themselves, some terms and definitions have been translated from a standard English language source, identified by citations.
Thus, the database offers a tool to disseminate archival practice and research, and expand the archival discourse. Throughout, however, the desire to reflect national or regional practice remains paramount.

The choice of languages reflects the human resources available to the developing team, and is indicative of the high degree of international participation and cooperation.
More languages will be included as records professionals from around the world will start using the database, which is capable of accommodating any languages at any time.
The definitions are in the order in which they have been entered, rather than in authoritative order.  



  • Arabic
  • Belarusian
  • Catalan 
  • Chinese 
  • Croatian 
  • Dutch 
  • English 
  • Farsi 
  • Finnish 
  • French 
  • German 
  • Greek 
  • Hebrew 
  • Indonesian  
  • Irish 
  • Italian 
  • Japanese 
  • Korean 
  • Polish 
  • Portuguese 
  • Punjabi 
  • Romanian 
  • Russian 
  • Spanish 
  • Swedish 


Visit the Section for Education and Training (SAE) pages

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