Definition of archive in English:



  • 1A collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.

    [as modifier] ‘a section of archive film’
    • ‘In order to substantiate and expand the known information, she checked published transcriptions while combing through archives for new documents.’
    • ‘Through personal archives and institutions we compiled about 500 diaries and a few thousand postcards and letters.’
    • ‘Coleman and his wife Linda spent thirty years collecting firsthand accounts of the event from letters and diaries, archives, and newspapers of the day.’
    • ‘In addition to books it has a large collection of archives and photographs.’
    • ‘These are very important items for local history archives.’
    • ‘Currently, the site contains 2,000 images and maps from archive and history collections housed by the six boroughs.’
    • ‘This site is designed to open up a variety of outstanding collections of archives and manuscripts held by the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Heriot-Watt.’
    • ‘There are also section on county records, photo exhibitions, archives, art and local history.’
    • ‘State-of-the-art computer equipment will also make archives, local studies material and museum collections available to everyone, either in person or online.’
    • ‘All this plus York's incomparable collection of artefacts and archives, held everywhere from the Borthwick Institute and the Guild of Merchant Adventurers to the city's many museums.’
    • ‘With the advent of photography, film and modern institutional archives, works of art, their makers and patrons have become ever more richly documented.’
    • ‘Efforts searching St Mary's records and other archives for more information proved disappointing.’
    • ‘Shot by pioneering film-makers Mitchell & Kenyon, the discovery of this archive collection will rewrite British film history.’
    • ‘The historians were supposed to collect facts from documents, archives, records and present these facts in their own individual styles.’
    • ‘Rush spent time researching, accessing information from the archives and records of the Australian Victoria Police Museum.’
    • ‘State-of-the-art equipment will make archives, local studies material and museum collections available to everyone, either in person or online.’
    • ‘The institute holds the records of the Archbishops of York as well as numerous genealogical records, health archives, the Rowntree archive and various private collections.’
    • ‘Many had been given to the centre by local people and some had come from archive collections.’
    • ‘Entitled Maps and Aerial Photographs from 1800, the display includes many fascinating photos, some given to the centre by local people and some from archive collections.’
    • ‘Many public libraries also have local history sections containing archives relating to local musical activities and famous musicians.’
    records, annals, chronicles, registers, accounts
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    1. 1.1The place where historical documents or records are kept.
      ‘they were allowed to study in the archives’
      • ‘Beyond, I think, any journalist I have known, McKinnon seems to be happiest in archives and libraries, peering into microfiches and at computer screens.’
      • ‘The new complex, near Celbridge, will also include internal courtyards, offices, library, archives and reception rooms.’
      • ‘Local archives house valuable deeds documenting the glory of the mediaeval city, which has witnessed the coronation of 11 Hungarian kings and eight regal wives.’
      • ‘Not only do they have to spend much time and effort learning languages, they must also spend months or years abroad in the archives and libraries of their chosen fields.’
      • ‘The newspapers are preserved in the archives of the British Library, and are now published for the first time.’
      • ‘Col Babbitt and Mrs Zemp were invited to visit Rishworth School and yesterday saw the original Sowerby Parish Registers at the archives in the Central Library.’
      • ‘Laudably, the bill strives to achieve collection in the archives of all appropriate public documents.’
      • ‘The new gallery, with its associated study room and archives, is a £10m joint venture.’
      • ‘I stayed in America for six weeks and spent every moment, apart from Sundays when the archives were closed, studying my documents.’
      • ‘Plans for a ‘joined up service’, with libraries, archives, museums and galleries all together under one roof, have been launched by East Riding Council.’
      • ‘But she says there's a difference between a library and the archives.’
      • ‘Historical societies frequently have a library, archives, and museum.’
      • ‘A staggering 1,300 unpublished letters written by Nelson have been unearthed from archives at the museum and throughout the world.’
      • ‘It contains more than 65 full-color paintings and Civil War maps from the archives of the Library of Congress.’
      • ‘As I said, we hope to be able to raise the money to build a library and archives as well as some temporary exhibit space.’
      • ‘The holes in the roofs mean the torrential rains of the Cambodian wet season are washing away the brickwork, riddling the walls with damp and causing irreparable damage to the museum archives.’
      • ‘How are museums and archives and libraries to preserve the heritage of ‘film’ within the precepts of museum culture?’
      • ‘It's hard to access contemporary design independently - it's not in archives or libraries.’
      • ‘At that time, the archives housed approximately six collections that documented the lives and experiences of African American women.’
      • ‘The library and archives share the same building, which is a converted medieval chapel in Dean's Park.’
      record office, registry, repository, museum, chancery
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    2. 1.2A complete record of the data in part or all of a computer system, stored on an infrequently used medium.
      • ‘Even though the information exists, finding it in the data bases and archives can be challenging.’
      • ‘They retrieved the corresponding images from the data archives of these facilities for further analysis.’
      • ‘KVault's software allows e-mails to be stored centrally but also archives them so they can be produced at a moment's notice.’
      • ‘From the outset of planning the project, we sought to make the Web site more interactive than scores of digital archives now inhabiting the Internet.’
      • ‘What was saved and stored in electronic archives may be rapidly decaying or unable to be easily retrieved due to the obsolescence of technology.’
      • ‘Modern, sophisticated systems automatically scan the archive periodically to determine the condition of the data.’
      • ‘A search may span several email servers and, in some cases, the personal archives on hundreds of desktop computers.’
      • ‘Animation is very expensive, and a well-designed digital archives management system can help keep costs down.’
      • ‘Kaspersky Anti-Virus, for example, can now detect protected Zip archives, scan the email body for the password and then unpack and check the attachment for viruses.’
      • ‘AOL has unveiled details of a new broadband TV service that will see the giant ISP raid the archives of sister company Warner Bros.’
      • ‘Video on demand systems store vast archives of material and, for a price, viewers with broadband lines can download any program at any time.’
      • ‘However, as messages sent to mailing lists are sometimes also stored in web accessible archives, the actual number of people accessing messages may be greater than assumed and may be impossible to determine.’
      • ‘One other important search-related function of archives is data mining, when the results of a query are retained as a new category.’
      • ‘Police first raided the company offices in Moscow in July, spending nearly 17 hours searching through computer archives.’
      • ‘Apple Computer gave away its archives to save money.’
      • ‘Second, many ILE faculty members were interested in building data archives with data sets from many different government agencies.’
      • ‘With archives, you specifically store only the files and directories required to describe the project - nothing more, nothing less.’
      • ‘Furthermore, the compression abilities of the Info-ZIP tools allow one to significantly reduce the size of the file archives on the Linux backup system.’
      • ‘At the same time the PRO will outline its digital archive system which will store electronic government records.’
      • ‘Optical media is also perfect for storing archives of critical corporate data, such as financials or personnel records.’


  • 1 Place or store (something) in an archive.

    • ‘The original source is here: but it only gives a summary, as the article is archived.’
    • ‘The British Library and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France are embarking on a programme to archive resources on the World Wide Web in their respective national domains.’
    • ‘Do you archive television broadcasts for use by library patrons or other educational or research purposes?’
    • ‘The recording was archived into the studio's sound effects library - and it was used in many of their films since.’
    • ‘There are some benefits to you as a publisher in having your publication archived by the Library.’
    • ‘Which means that they hadn't archived them - and relied on the underground to keep the data.’
    • ‘I tell him I've probably archived it, and will send it tomorrow.’
    • ‘At the height of every empire, there is a desperate urge to archive all cultural artifacts despite their quality, high art or low art.’
    • ‘He is archiving hundreds of thousands of his photographs, some of which even he has never seen before, discarded as they were on rolls of undeveloped film.’
    • ‘If you would like to reproduce, post, or archive any portion of this story, please contact me and obtain permission first.’
    • ‘I don't suppose anyone managed to archive a copy?’
    • ‘Festival events are archived so anyone missing them today can return to them over coming months.’
    • ‘The challenges involved in displaying and archiving information on the web are huge and the move to multimedia presentation is adding to the complexity of the task.’
    • ‘It has, you may have noticed, started archiving the texts of books in recent months - but the battle is far from over.’
    • ‘It's just this intense desire to catalogue and archive the people and the places around me.’
    • ‘An offsider is hauling together the thousands of different legal advices and papers published on the web, cataloguing and archiving them for accessibility.’
    • ‘It has archived thousands of titles, with sample texts available at the click of a mouse.’
    • ‘How do you archive these materials for later reference as well as maximize the material's life expectancy?’
    • ‘Liberation War Museum is a great initiative to archive the war of independence.’
    • ‘At present, the collection is archived but not available to the web-browser.’
    file, log, catalogue, pigeonhole
    store, record, register, chronicle, cache
    document, put on record, post
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    1. 1.1Computing Transfer (data) to a less frequently used storage medium such as magnetic tape.
      ‘the entire directory will be archived’
      • ‘You manage your e-mail by archiving it on cheaper storage devices.’
      • ‘Tape is the overwhelming computer medium of choice for archiving.’
      • ‘Tape remains a strong contender for long term data archiving and off-site storage.’
      • ‘As the data ages even more, eventually the same migration software archives it onto a data warehouse for analysis, or onto tape and out the door to off-site vaults.’
      • ‘Viacom has bought the storage system to archive Paramount's ‘Entertainment Tonight’ shows.’


Early 17th century (in the sense ‘place where records are kept’): from French archives (plural), from Latin archiva, archia, from Greek arkheia public records, from arkhē government. The verb dates from the late 19th century.