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Please note that ICA-AtoM is no longer actively supported by Artefactual Systems.
Visit https://www.accesstomemory.org for information about AtoM, the currently supported version.

Describe archival materials at multiple levels of description

Main Page > System requirements > Functional requirements


Archivists must be able to describe materials at multiple levels, reflecting the levels of arrangement. Descriptions at lower levels should inherit information from higher levels (e.g. creator). Descriptions at higher levels should be consistent with information at lower levels (e.g. dates and extent). The application must support multi-level description with inheritance and consistency across levels.

Context (parent requirements)

FR-1 Establish a system of control

FR-1.2 Establish systems of intellectual control

Source quotations


ISAD(G) Section 1

ISAD(G) Section 2

OSARIS 1.1.1

OSARIS 2.1.1

Associated metadata requirements

MTD-1.1.3 Indicate the level of descripiton

Associated quality requirements

Provide drop-down lists to select level of description.

Provide pick-lists to select parent level of desription / assign position in hierarchy of arrangement.

Show inherited information at lower levels of descripiton.

Calculate values at higher levels of description from lower (e.g. date ranges).

Associated technical requirements

ICA-AtoM implementation

ICA-AtoM ships with a default schema for levels of description (fonds, sub-fonds, series, sub-series, file, item). Administrators can edit to reflect institutional policy / terminology.

ICA-AtoM imposes no limits on the number of levels that can be used. A unit's position in the hierarchy is determined by the value selected in the Parent level field.

A description is recognized as the highest level when the Parent level field is blank.

Discrete items (items not linked to a higher parent level) are permitted: simply leave the Parent level blank.

Known issues

ICA-AtoM (v1.0 beta) cannot currently calculate values at higher levels from lower (e.g. date range); these must be manually entered at each level. The application does not enforce consistency.

Use cases

USC-1.2.1 Implement an arrangement policy

User Manual sections

UM-3.1.4 Add / edit content > Archival descriptions > Data entry: Identity area

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