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3. Different types of manuals and textbooks

Dictionaries do not make a particular distinction between the terms "manual" and "textbook". The Oxford Dictionary for example regards them almost as synonyms. Francophone respondents to the above mentioned questionnaire also made no distinction between the two terms.

Specialist dictionaries for documentation and librarianship do not include the term "manual". The term textbook is defined as a book designed for teaching or as a didactic document setting out basic knowledge of an art, science or technique.(1)

The term manual has been defined as a book that tells you how to do something - or as a detailed and comprehensive guide to practice, manufacture or service.(2)

Most of the publications evaluated in this study have the character of manuals rather than that of textbooks, although they are used in a teaching context. Thus, publications have not been classified as either manuals or as textbooks. The criterium for their being included was that they are suitable for training.

In the bibliography, however, the word textbook has been used, when the work is directly used or usable in training. A work, which can be used on a day-to-day basis by archivists and which provides them with detailed information about professional practice, is called a manual.

It was originally intended to evaluate publications according to their suitabilities for training groups at different levels. But since both, professionals and paraprofessionals, may use the same basic manuals and textbooks, this type of classification proved to be inappropriate.

Therefore publications have been categorised according to their contents, although of course this cannot be always as precise as might be wished:

1. General manuals, divided into reference books, the "classic" manuals which are often out of date as far as the archival practice is concerned, manuals and textbooks covering more or less the whole field of archives administration and collections of articles or archives readers.

2. Works concerning terminology.

3. Works on legislation and the organization of archives services.

4. Theoretical studies on archival theory.

5. Books on the practical management of archives.

6. Works on conservation and document restoration.

7. Works designed to be used in specific types of archives, e.g. business archives, private archives, local archives, etc.

8. Works dealing with the management of specialized archival media, e.g. audiovisual archives, machine-readable archives.

9. Works dealing with new techniques.

10. Books on archival training: as far as training itself is concerned, course content and teaching methods are of great importance. Works concerning training and curricula have therefore been added to the bibliography.

Especially important and useful in the development of training programmes is the RAMP study "Guidelines for curriculum development in records management and the administration of modern archives", prepared by Michael Cook. He suggests a common basic training for all personnel involved directly in the professional management of archives and records. He stresses that apart from important differences of level and approach, a single body of basic training is appropriate to the whole field.


1 Wersig, Gernot, and Ulrich Neveling (ed.), Terminology of documentation, The Unesco Press, Paris 1976.

ISO 5127/2 Documentation and Information - Vocabulary - Part 2: Traditional documents. International Organization for Standardization, 1983.

2 Sinclair, John (ed.), Collins COBUILD English language dictionary. London; Glasgow: Collins; Stuggart: Klett, 1987, Draft British Standard Glossary of Documentation terms (revised), London, 1976.

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