Description area

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Main Page > User manual > Add/edit content > Add/edit archival institutions > Description area

The description area contains fields conveying information "about the history, current structure and collecting policy of the institution with archival holdings" (ISDIAH 4.4).


"Record any relevant information about the history of the institution with archival holdings. This element may include information on dates of establishment, changes of names, changes of legislative mandates, or of any other sources of authority for the institution with archival holdings." (ISDIAH 5.3.1)

Geographical and cultural context

"Identify the geographical area the institution with archival holdings belongs to. Record any other relevant information about the cultural context." (ISDIAH 5.3.2)

Mandates/sources of authority

"Record any document, law, directive or charter which acts as a source of authority for the powers, functions and responsibilities of the institution with archival holdings, together with information on the jurisdiction(s) and covering dates when the mandate(s) applied or were changed." (ISDIAH 5.3.3)

Administrative structure

"Describe, in narrative form or using organisational charts, the current administrative structure of the institution with archival holdings." (ISDIAH 5.3.4)

Records management and collecting policies

"Record information about the records management and collecting policies of the institution with archival holdings. Define the scope and nature of material which the institution with archival holdings accessions. Indicate whether the repository seeks to acquire archival materials by transfer, gift, purchase and/or loan. If the policy includes active survey and/or rescue work, this might be spelt out." (ISDIAH 5.3.5)


"Record information on the building(s) of the institution with archival holdings (general and architectural characteristics of the building, capacity of storage areas, etc). Where possible, provide information which can be used for generating statistics." (ISDIAH 5.3.6)

Archival and other holdings

"Record a short description of the holdings of the institution, describing how and when they were formed. Provide information on volume of holdings, media formats, thematic coverage, etc." (ISDIAH 5.3.7)

Finding aids, guides and publication

"Record the title and other pertinent details of the published and/or unpublished finding aids and guides prepared by the institution with archival holdings and of any other relevant publications. Use ISO 690 Information and documentation – Bibliographic references and other national or international cataloguing rules." (ISDIAH 5.3.8)

Several ISDIAH elements overlap with similar elements in ISAAR. These are:

In ICA-AtoM, these fields actually reside in the institution's related authority record; any changes made here will also update the authority record.

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