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Please note that ICA-AtoM is no longer actively supported by Artefactual Systems.
Visit 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 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)

Source quotations

Associated metadata requirements

Associated quality requirements

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

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). Administartors 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 field 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 across levels.

Use cases

User Manual sections

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