Collections that come to the archive lacking any recognizable order must be examined, sorted, and arranged in some fashion prior to cataloging.  Customary types of arrangement include:

by source or provenance;

by content or topic;

by date of work or group, i.e., in chronological order;

in alphabetical order.

Collections consisting of large numbers of individual works are normally divided into ranges of hierarchical groupings commonly referred to as record groups, series, file units, and documents.  Additional guidance in these matters may be found in Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts by Fredric M. Miller.

See also:

Appendix C2.  Arrangement

Appendix C:  Collection-Level Cataloging