The English word minutes can of course be used to refer to a period of time, but another slightly less frequent meaning is 'a summary of what happened at a meeting'. Thus, it corresponds to the Swedish term protokoll.
In terms of language use of the term, we can talk about someone taking the minutes or keeping the minutes to refer to the act of recording what is said and decided during a meeting.
The way minutes are written varies in terms of style and detail. However, in general, to be effective, minutes should be clear, accurate and impartial. Some of the more common points of information that the minutes of a meeting typically contain are (based on Kolin 2010):
- date, time and place of meeting
- names of those present and those absent
- the approval or amendment of the minutes of the previous meeting (if the meeting is part of a series of meetings)
- For each major point (action item), indicate:
-who said what
-what was discussed/suggested/proposed
-what was decided and the vote, including abstentions
-what was continued (tabled) for a subsequent meeting
-time of next meeting
Other things that could be recorded are the name of the person acting as the chair (or chairman, chairwoman, chairperson), the time when the meeting was officially concluded, and, in terms of absent members, whether any apologies had been received before the meeting.
If the meeting happened for a specific purpose and is not part of a regular meeting series, then its purpose should be recorded.