|• informal notes, usually attached to and commenting on files of papers, much like memoranda;|
|• brief, formal records of decisions taken at a committee, board or other formal meeting;|
|• descriptive reports of the proceedings at a meeting, summarizing the discussion and recording the decisions taken.|
Minutes as memoranda are used mainly in national and local government, and in the armed forces. They are informal but official internal documents, used principally to accumulate comments on papers (especially correspondence) in a file. For example, papers relevant to a given topic are assembled within a manilla file. A 'minute sheet' is fastened inside the cover of that file, and people who receive the file write their comments on the minute sheet, before they pass the file to the next person concerned with it. In that way, a dossier of comments builds up on the minute sheet. Readers of the file may record a point of view both on the documents in the file and on other comments on the sheet; they may provide additional information or commentary on a document in the file; or they may record executive decisions.
Minutes as memoranda are usually expressions of opinion, recognized as part of the internal management process of an organization. Since they are informal, usually hand-written, they are often written in a cryptic, abbreviated style; their