This paper argues that, within the recordkeeping community, perceptions of records are subject to the "prototype" effects identified in recent psychological studies. Archivists and records managers perceive certain records as prototypical, while other records are more distant from their mental prototypes. Prototype effects apply both to item-level records and to record aggregations. Moreover, the boundaries of the record concept are fuzzy, and some records are "boundary objects" shared with other communities. The characterization of records as persistent representations embraces nonprototypical records as well as those more central to the concept.

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