The entire collection has probably been reorganised several times and was certainly moved and taken out of the college, particularly during the French Revolution. Certain documents have been ripped up, the seals of medieval charters have been cut or torn off with a part of the document. Traces of mould give the impression that the collection was stored in a damp place, perhaps a cellar. A system of classification marks can be seen on the XVIIIth century documents, but we do not have the information at our disposal to clearly establish how it was organised. Labels have been stuck on some of the documents and registers, probably in the XIXth or XXth century, which leads us to believe that a second identification system was used. Once again, we do not have any further information to clarify the situation. The only inventory is that which was performed by Father Liam Swords in 1979. He made an inventory of the entire collection by attributing classification marks to each document and each file. These classification marks are composed of a number and a letter (example: 1A), the figure corresponding to the box number and letter designating the file. When Liam Swords wanted to add to the level of description (to sub-file or document), he added a third, or even a fourth element to his classification mark (example: 3D1j). During his work, he probably made an inventory of a section of the files by leaving them in the order and the condition in which he had found them. He also artificially recreated certain files, either by classifying them by themes, or by classifying them by dates. His inventory is partly typed, partly handwritten. There was then no more work done on the collection until the Centre Culturel Irlandais started to evaluate its cultural heritage, including its Old Library. Since 2002, the archives have been stored in a specially designed room in the Centre Culturel, beside the Old Library and adjoining the reading room. This room contains seven stained-wood cabinets with glass doors, each being composed of six or seven shelves. The archived documents were mainly stored in the green and brown cardboard "notary" boxes. There were also files inside two black metal trunks on which the words "Collège des Irlandais Paris" are written. Finally, several bundles were placed in removal boxes, in wooden crates as well as a desk, also made of wood. The documents were stored in paper holders on which the classification marks attributed by Liam Swords were placed, as well as information on the content of the files.
As the original classification drawn up by the producer has been lost due to the successive handling of and work on the files, we decided to reclassify the entire collection by using a thematic organisation, which involves the creation of a new listing system. During the checks, one or several themes were determined for each archived file. If the documents contained in a file covered several themes, this was arranged according to the identified themes. Tests have also been carried out on the documents, particularly for the medieval archives, but also for several photographs, works, etc. The classification marks of Liam Swords have been retained in order to establish a correspondence between his listing system and the new classification marks. For the files not listed by Liam Swords, a replacement classification mark was used in the form of a letter. These files appear in the concordance table of the classification marks with the note "not listed" preceding the letter (Example: not listed (B)). The classification plan created is thematic with a chronological classification of the documents within the files.
The classification plan is formed by the following six categories:
- A – College
- B – Scholarship and mass foundations
- C – Other institutions
- D – Church
- E – Documentation
- F – Other documents
The classification marks are constructed in the following way:
- A capital letter that corresponds to the category
- A number that corresponds to the sub-category
- A small letter that corresponds to the theme
- A number that corresponds to the file number.
Example: the classification mark A1a1 corresponds to category A (college), sub-category 1 (Collège des Lombards), theme 1 (notarial deeds), file number 1 (deed of sale on parchment for two houses in rue Saint-Hilaire, sold by Jean Jourdain, curate, and his sister Yolène, wife of Jean Misieu, to Michel Chosse, cleric, on the Thursday following Saint Honoré 1316, i.e. 20 May 1316)
At the same time as creating the inventory and classification of the Archives, a procedure for removing dust and repairing the documents was carried out by In-Extenso. Reconditioning with specific substances appropriate to the documents (parchments, photographs, registers, etc) took place following this work.
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Centre Culturel Irlandais
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