Classified Registration Cards for General Correspondence
||? 1906 - 1958
||Series in Custody
||Circa 1906 - 1958
||Circa 1906 - 1958
|Format of Records:
|Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series|
|Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series|
|Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series|
- How to use the Records
NOTE: This series is only retrievable at unit level.
This series provides access to correspondence received before late 1958. Most correspondence received before 1928 is in VPRS 3844 General Correspondence Files (Alphabetically Re-arranged Inactive Portion of VPRS 6008, pre-1928 Files), Single Number System. Some of the correspondence top-numbered since 1928 can be found in VPRS 6008 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number Systems.
How to retrieve files from VPRS 3844:
It is not necessary to use this series to retrieve files from VPRS 3844, which is arranged alphabetically. It is quicker to simply consult the records description list for VPRS 3844. However, if there does not appear to be a relevant file in VPRS 3844 and there is no entry in VPRS 9474 Register of General Correspondence Files (Alphabetically Re-arranged Inactive Portion of pre 1928 Files, Single Number System, it will be necessary to track individual items of correspondence. To do this, follow the steps below.
How to retrieve correspondence from VPRS 3844 and VPRS 6008:
1. Consult the records description lists for VPRS 6009 Classified Registration Cards for General Correspondence and retrieve the cards which refer to items of interest. The cards are arranged according to primary and secondary subject headings. Note: consult the records description lists for both consignments in the series.
2. Examine the relevant card to locate a particular item of correspondence. Note the correspondence number.
3. Consult VPRS 6010 Attachment Books (Microform Copy of VPRS 6012). Examine the fiche which refers to correspondence within the required number range.
4. In VPRS 6010 locate the required correspondence number in the 'Correspondence Number' column. Note the number which is adjacent to it in the 'Attached to' column.
5. If the 'Attached to' column in VPRS 6010 contains a whole number (e.g. 126) rather than a later correspondence number, the correspondence will be found in VPRS 3844 General Correspondence Files (Alphabetically Re-arranged Inactive Portion of VPRS 6008, pre-1928 Files), Single Number System. These 'Attached to' numbers are old file numbers within VPRS 3844. Consult VPRS 9604/P1 Register of File Numbers for Alphabetically Re-arranged Inactive Portion of pre 1928 General Correspondence Files (Refer to Microfiche Copy, VPRS 14628) to find the new number which replaced the old. Note the new number, consult the records description list for VPRS 3844 and retrieve the file.
For example, using VPRS 6010, correspondence numbered 27/4072 is shown as attached to 126. 126 is an old file number. VPRS 14628 - microfiche copy of VPRS 9604 shows that the new number that replaced 126 is 536. 536 is the file that can be retrieved from VPRS 3844; all the correspondence is in 536.
6. If the number in the 'Attached to' in column in VPRS 6010 is a later correspondence number, locate that number in the 'Correspondence Number' column of the relevant fiche. Repeat this step until the 'Attached to' column is empty. The correspondence will be filed in VPRS 6008 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number Systems under the last correspondence number. Consult the records description lists for VPRS 6008 and retrieve the file with that number.
For example, correspondence numbered 1927/5333 was attached to 27/7919, which was in turn attached to 27/10223, and so on through several more attachments until 28/9781. All the correspondence is filed with 28/9781 on the file of that number.
7. If the 'Attached to' column in VPRS 6010 contains both a later correspondence number and an old file number, there are two files. Follow step 5 above for the old file number and step 6 above for the correspondence number.
- Function / Content
This series appears to have served three recordkeeping functions in relation to correspondence now contained in VPRS 3844 General Correspondence Files (Alphabetically Re-arranged Inactive Portion of VPRS 6008, pre-1928 Files), Single Number System and VPRS 6008 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number Systems. Firstly, the series was possibly used to classify correspondence according to a predefined scheme. The classification system was undergoing constant changes throughout its active life with a significant number of additional headings added to the original system over time. The final version of the classification scheme was recorded in VPRS 9471 Lists of Classified Indexable Headings (Refer to Microfiche Copy, VPRS 14727). Secondly, summary information about each item of correspondence received was recorded on the registration cards. Thirdly, by classifying correspondence by subject this series was a means of retrieving correspondence. Although the cards are actually entitled Registration Cards, the series was known by agency officers as a subject index.
An entry was made in this series for every item of correspondence registered by the Records Branch. However, the Records Branch did not register all correspondence. Some correspondence was forwarded directly to the Division concerned without being registered by the Records Branch. For example, at various times correspondence dealing with personnel, water diversion permits and hydrotechnology appear to have been forwarded directly to the respective Divisions. It is not known how that correspondence was controlled by other Divisions.
The following details were recorded for every item of correspondence registered:
- the registration number of the letter [allocated by registers including, by 1954, VPRS 9614 Registration Journals for General Correspondence]
- the date of the letter's registration
- from whom the letter was received
- the sender's address
- the date of the letter
- the subject [i.e., a short summary of the letter's content].
- Recordkeeping System
Original Recordkeeping System: How It Worked.
This series appears to have originally served its three recordkeeping functions in relation to all correspondence registered between 1906 and late 1958. When correspondence was received it is likely that the following steps occurred:
After date-stamping, correspondence was registered by being stamped with the next available number from a register of inward correspondence. The form which this register took for most of the period is not known. The only extant registers related to the period 1954 to 1958 - see VPRS 9614 Registration Journals for General Correspondence.
After receiving a registration number, a new piece of inward correspondence was classified according to VPRS 9471 Lists of Classified Indexable Headings. The classification was recorded in the register. An officer would then record the number and a precis of the new correspondence on the relevant card in this series (VPRS 6009). Previous entries on the card were then checked to identify related correspondence which had been received previously. The earlier correspondence was retrieved and attached to the new letter. The file of correspondence was then controlled by the number of the new letter.
In this way correspondence was top-numbered whenever later correspondence was received on the same subject. Top-numbering was recorded in VPRS 6012 Attachment Books. Step 6 of How to Use the Records above shows an example of top-numbering. Files of correspondence created by the top-numbering process also contained internal and outward correspondence.
Even though many letters might have been recorded on a card in this series (VPRS 6009) because they had the same classification, they were not necessarily related. Cards in this series comprised the primary and secondary classifications in a three-tiered hierarchy. The subject of a letter - that is, entries on a card - comprised the third tier.
For example, within the primary subject heading Alexandra Trust cards were created for the following secondary headings:
Alexandra Trust: Audit Reports
Alexandra Trust: Engineering
Alexandra Trust: Financial
and so on. All correspondence dealing with Alexandra Trust: Engineering was recorded on the card of that title - even though any number of different files might have contained papers dealing with Alexandra Trust: Engineering. If there were more than one card for a secondary subject the cards for that secondary subject were numbered.
Some classifications which generated large volumes of correspondence required another tier in the hierarchy. In these cases, the cards comprised the primary, secondary and tertiary classifications, while the entries comprised the quaternary tier.
Although this series was used as a retrieval tool, it appears that various subject indexes were more useful in this regard. It is likely that these other indexes, which were arranged alphabetically, were more convenient than this classified index, which was arranged according to a hierarchical scheme. Only two of these other indexes from this period have survived, however. See VPRS 9468 Keyword Index Cards to General Correspondence Files and VPRS 9605 Index to Special Correspondence.
Changes to the recordkeeping system
In about 1954, old correspondence - correspondence received before 1928 - was rearranged into alphabetical subject files, probably to provide for quick retrieval. That meant that, for correspondence received before 1928, this series became redundant unless a thorough search was required. Most registered correspondence received before 1928 is now contained in VPRS 3844 Water Supply Correspondence Files.
Some correspondence, however, had already been top-numbered before the rearrangement occurred. Correspondence which had been top-numbered to a number later than a 1927 number, and all correspondence registered from 1928, is now contained in VPRS 6008 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number Systems. VPRS 6008 was kept in its original, annual single number sequence, and so VPRS 6009 must still be used to locate correspondence in that series.
Current Arrangement of the Records
The series no longer exactly reflects the alphabetical arrangement in which it was first created. There are probably three reasons for this. Firstly, over time, as the number of cards grew, old cards were removed to another location to make way for more recent or more frequently used cards. Secondly, the classification scheme changed over time and so some cards would have been removed from one spot in the series and put in another to reflect the changed scheme. Thirdly, some classifications had enough files to warrant being stored separately, even though they were registered by the Records Branch. For example, it appears that all correspondence dealing with local authorities was stored by the Local Authorities Division for at least some of the period of the series; it is likely that cards relating to local authorities were stored separately for at least some of the period.
The series was transferred to the Public Record Office in the order in which it was last used by the Rural Water Corporation. This means that, for the reasons mentioned above, the current arrangement of the cards does not exactly reflect any one classification scheme provided by VPRS 9471 List of Classified Indexable Headings.
This series was closed in October 1958 when document-level registration and control of correspondence ceased. Document-level registration and control was replaced by registration and control at the file level only. The card series which comprised the classified register of files was VPRS 9472 Classified Registration Cards for Correspondence Files.
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