Archive FAQ > Glossary


On Archive of Our Own (AO3), Abuse generally refers to the committee that handles abuse functions for the Archive, such as complaints and Terms of Service violations. You can contact the Abuse committee via their New Abuse Report form.


This acronym stands for the Accessibility, Design & Technology committee, which coordinates software design and development on behalf of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW). The sole project currently occupying the committee is the creation of an open-source software package, OTW-Archive, that runs the Archive of Our Own.


The acronym "AO3" comes from the initials of the English site title Archive of Our Own—an A and three O's. The Archive of Our Own is a noncommercial and nonprofit central hosting site for transformative fanworks such as fanfiction and, in the future, fanart, fan videos, and podfic.

Archive, The Archive

Refer to AO3.


In general, a blurb is a short description that praises something (such as a book) so that people will want to buy it (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). On the Archive, it is used to refer to the "boxed" details that appear on any works listing page, including: title and creator, recipient (if any), date posted or updated (whichever is more recent), fandom, rating, warnings, tags, work summary, language, and some statistics. Refer to the screenshot below for an example.

a work blurb containing title, creator, recipient, date updated, fandom, rating, warnings, relationship, character and additional tags, and the work summary, as well as the series it belongs to, the language the work is in, total word count, and the number of chapters and hits

The "boxed" information at the top of a specific work's page or on a series page (including rating, warnings, tags, language, collection, series, stats, etc.) is also sometimes referred to as a blurb.


A bookmark is something (such as a menu entry or icon) that allows you to go quickly and directly to something (such as an Internet site) that you have seen before (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). On Archive of Our Own (AO3), a logged-in user can use the bookmark feature to record a work or series to remember or access later. Refer to the Bookmarks FAQ for more details.


A challenge is an organized activity in which participants agree to perform or produce fan activities or fanworks according to some pre-determined criteria. (Fanlore).

On Archive of Our Own (AO3), a challenge can be run as a Prompt Meme or Gift Exchange.

Closed Collection

A closed collection on Archive of Our Own (AO3) is a collection that is not open to new submissions. For example, a collection or challenge with a specific time frame (such as "Christmas 2015 Secret Santa Fic Exchange!") may be closed after the time frame has passed. This is an option selected by the collection's owner.

Co-Author | Co-Creator

Both co-author and co-creator refer to an author or creator who collaborated with one or more others to create the work. Co-Author and Co-Creator are currently used interchangeably, as we move the Archive's language away from fic-centric terms.

Creator's Style

Creator's Style refers to a work skin the creator of a work has applied. Go to the Skins and Archive Interface FAQ for more information.


The Dashboard is your Archive account's homepage.


This acronym stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For more information on this Act and the Archive's policy regarding DMCA claims, please refer to our DMCA Policy page.


FAQ is an acronym for Frequently Asked Question(s). The FAQs answer some common user questions about Archive of Our Own (AO3) and can be found from the main menu by selecting "About" and then "FAQ". You can also find a selection of Tutorials in this index.

Freeform Tag | Additional Tag

An Additional Tag, also known as a Freeform Tag, is a tag that can be added to a work on AO3 to provide information about its contents that doesn't fit into the other tag types. You can add anything at all in this field that you'd like users to know about your work. Refer to What are the different types of tags? for more information.

Gift Exchange

A Gift Exchange on Archive of Our Own (AO3) is a challenge that matches participants based on their sign-up requests and offers. They then create fanworks for the person they are matched with and receive works created for them in return. Refer to the Collections and Challenges FAQ for more details.


Hits is the number of times your work has been accessed. Refer to What is a hit? for more information.


A kudos is a digital token a visitor can leave on a work to show they have enjoyed it. Refer to What are Kudos? for more information.

Marked for Later

Marked for Later is a subsection of your History. It's an option that allows you to flag a work you've accessed and wish to return to at a later time. Refer to What does the "Mark for Later" button do? for more information.

Moderated Collection

A moderated collection on Archive of Our Own (AO3) is a collection where a moderator must approve a submitted work before it appears in the collection. This is an option selected by the collection's owner.


Orphaning is an alternative to deleting a work completely. Orphaning can remove your username and pseuds from a work, but keeps the work accessible on the Archive for other users and visitors. Refer to the Orphaning FAQ for more information.


"OTW" is the acronym for the Organization for Transformative Works, the parent organization of the Archive of Our Own (AO3). The OTW is a nonprofit organization established and run by fans, dedicated to the access of fanworks and the preservation of fan culture and history. Refer to the OTW's mission statement for more information on what the Organization for Transformative Works stands for.

Prompt Meme

A prompt meme on Archive of Our Own (AO3) is a challenge wherein participants can submit one or more fanwork prompts that other participants can choose to fill. Refer to the Collections and Challenges FAQ for more details.

Pseud & Default Pseud

Pseud is short for pseudonym, or pen name, and it is an optional additional name associated with your account. When you post using a pseud, the pseud appears alongside your username. Your default pseud is the pseud automatically associated with all your works, comments, series, and bookmarks unless you choose otherwise.

If you haven't selected a different default pseud, your username and default pseud are the same.

For more information about how pseuds work and are used on the Archive, refer to the Pseuds FAQ.


A skin is a customized stylesheet that changes the presentation of the Archive for logged-in users. They are created using the CSS coding language. A site skin changes the way the Archive looks only for you. A work skin changes the way your work looks for other users, but they can turn it off if they want to. Refer to What is a skin? for more information.


A tag is a keyword or phrase that is added to works or bookmarks to make them easier to find. Refer to What is a tag? for more information.

Tag Wrangler

Tag Wranglers are the team of volunteers who organize (or "wrangle") the tags behind the scenes. Refer to What (who) are the tag wranglers? for more information.


"ToS" is the acronym for "Terms of Service". The ToS are the agreement between you and the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) that governs your use of the Archive of Our Own (AO3). For more information, refer to the Terms of Service page or the ToS FAQ.