The description is the formal title of the document.

As a rule, the Database of VOC Documents uses the same formal descriptions of the documents as listed in the inventories (or catalogues) of the archives.

Sometimes, the description of the document in the inventory is not the same as the authentic title on the cover of the document, used by the VOC itself.
However, references to these authentic titles would cause confusion.

In cases when a volume or bundle contains various kinds of records, e.g. in the series of documents sent from Asia and Africa to the Board of Directors in the Netherlands, the so-called Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren, each separate document in the volume has been described. When these volumes include an authentic list of contents, we have used the authentic descriptions.
Some abbreviations in these lists and references like the sentence dito dito datum idem or words like gemelte, alsvoren, voornoemd, ut supra and ad idem have been solved, as they loose their meaning (context) in a database. The same is the case with references to dates like anno stantii, anni hajus, anno passato, etc.

When the authentic list of contents is missing, new descriptions have been made based on the content of the documents. Incidentally, when a description lacked vital information, e.g. the year of the document or the name of the person to whom a letter was addressed, this vital information has been added. Incidentally, when the authentic description of the documents is obviously wrong or confusing, extra information has been added between [square] brackets.

Sometimes, the authentic list of contents of a volume mentions Missiven met bijlagen (letters with annexes). Often, these annexes include an additional list of contents of the enclosures (Register der bijlagen). In the framework of the running project it was not possible to list all these separate enclosed documents in the Database of VOC Documents, due to the large amount of documents in the annexes, Note, that these annexes can include all kinds of documents, like diaries (dagregisters), bookkeeping reports, etc. ! Unfortunately, in order to know which documents are included in the annexes, researchers have to consult the annexes themselves. When a specific document seems to be missing, e.g. an explicit diary, researchers are advised to consult the annexes in the relevant period (or if available the Register der bijlagen).