Archival Control System


The Archival Control System of the Northern Territory Archives Service (NTAS) is derived from the Commonwealth Record Series (CRS) system, developed for use in the Commonwealth Archives Office (now National Archives of Australia). The NTAS system is based on the related archival principles of provenance and original order.
The principle of provenance involves establishing the administrative context in which records were created and used. The provenance of records includes their original creators and users, and subsequent administrators who were responsible for the recordkeeping system in which the records were kept. Knowing who created the records and why assists researchers in assessing the significance and relevance of the archives.
The principle of preserving the original order of records, relates to the relationships between individual record items. It involves maintaining records in their original arrangement when in active use so that the evidence of government decisions and actions is preserved. For this reason records are not rearranged or described according to their subject matter.
Both of these principles aim to allow archival documents to be used by researchers with their original context fully intact and with evidence of their relationship to their creators and users and to other documents preserved. Maintaining the integrity of archival documents in this way provides researchers with the opportunity to interpret their meaning and significance.
The components of the NTAS system are as follows.


An agency is an administrative unit or person that has or has had responsibility for the creation or maintenance of records. Each Agency has an independent recordkeeping system. An agency may be a government department, a community organisation or a person. When agencies are registered in the Archival Control System they are assigned an agency number.
For example, 707 Northern Territory Electricity Commission.

Northern Territory Record Series (NTRS)

A series is a group of records which have been created or maintained by the same agency (or agencies) and which:

For example, NTRS 246 Correspondence files with “PL” prefix (pastoral lease).
A series may have a legacy number (or previous series number) if it has been reprocessed by the NTAS. This occurs with series that have transferred from another archival institution, such as from National Archives of Australia. The series will have been assigned a series number while in the custody of the previous archival institution, e.g. F628 and this will be recorded as a legacy number when the series is reprocessed and assigned a new NTRS number. If you are aware of the previous series number, you may search using the legacy number field on Direct Search.


A consignment comprises record items belonging to a single record series and transferred to the custody of NTAS as part of the one accession. A consignment may comprise the whole or only part of a series. Each consignment is given an alpha numeric number consisting of an alpha code to indicate the retention status (P = Permanent) and a sequential number to differentiate it from other consignments within the series e.g. NTRS 246/P0001.


A unit is a storage unit used by NTAS to store records and to provide physical control over them. A unit may be a box, bundle, map drawer, tube etc., containing individual record Items. A unit may also be a single volume. Each unit has a physical location within a NTAS repository.


This is a single recordkeeping item that exists as a discrete entity. An item could be a group of folios fastened together to form a file, a single volume, card, map, photograph, film, sound recording, computer tape or any other document. Within a series there may be only one record Item or there may be several thousand or more.