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International Standard For Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings

ISDIAH: International Standard For Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings

Main Page > Requirement sources > ISDIAH

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Preface

1. Introduction

2. Related standards and guidelines

3. Glossary of terms and definitions

4. Structure and use of the standard

5. Elements of description

6. Relating archival institutions descriptions to archival materials and their creators

Appendix: full examples


1 Introduction

1.1

This standard provides general rules for the standardisation of descriptions of institutions with archival holdings, thus enabling:

  • the provision of practical guidance on identifying and contacting institutions with archival holdings, and accessing holdings and available services
  • the generation of directories of institutions with archival holdings and/or authority lists
  • the establishment of connections with authority lists of libraries and museums and/or developing common directories of cultural heritage institutions at a regional, national and international level; and the production of statistics on institutions with archival holdings, at a regional, national or international level.


1.2

These descriptions may be used:

  • a. to describe institutions as units within an archival descriptive system;
  • b. to serve as a standardised access point for institutions with archival holdings, within a directory, archival information system or network; and/or
  • c. to document relationships between institutions and between those entities and the archives they hold


1.3

The main purpose of the standard is to facilitate the description of institutions whose primary function is to keep archives and to make them available to the general public. But other entities such as cultural institutions (libraries, museums), businesses, families or individuals may hold archives. This standard or an appropriate subset of its elements can be applied to all entities which provide access to the records they hold.


1.4

In addition, this standard makes provision for linking from information about institutions to descriptions of the records they hold and their creators. These descriptions should comply with ISAD(G) and ISAAR(CPF). Links to archival materials may be established according to arrangement or classification schemes applied by the institutions with archival holdings, enabling them to maintain intellectual control over their fonds.


1.5

As corporate bodies, persons or families, the holders of archival materials may be described in ISAAR(CPF) compliant authority records including the appropriate elements of description as indicated in ISDIAH. Otherwise, the description of holders may be included in separate authority files. In this case, links between the relevant authority records should be made.


4. Structure and use of the standard

4.1

This standard determines the type of information that could be included in descriptions of institutions with archival holdings and provides guidance on how such descriptions may be deployed in an archival information system. The content of the information elements included in the descriptions will be determined by the conventions and/or rules that the agency follows. It is recommended that each country should establish and maintain a unique identifier for each institution with archival holdings. This should be consistent with any other systems for codifying cultural institutions developed at an international level.


4.2

This standard consists of information elements, each of which contains:

  • a. the name of the element of description;
  • b. a statement of purpose for the element of description;
  • c. a statement of the rule(s) and data constraints applicable to the element; and
  • d. where applicable, examples illustrating implementation of the rule.


4.3

Paragraphs are numbered and these numbers are given for citation purposes only. They should not be used to designate elements of description or to prescribe the order or structure of descriptive resources.


4.4

The elements of description for institutions with archival holdings are organised into six information areas:

1. Identity Area

(where information is conveyed which uniquely identifies the institution with archival holdings and which defines standardised access points)

2. Contact Area

(where information is provided on how to contact the institution with archival holdings)

3. Description Area

(where relevant information is conveyed about the history, current structure and collecting policy of the institution with archival holdings)

4. Access Area

(where information is given about how to access the institution with archival holdings: public opening hours, any restrictions to access, etc.)

5. Services Area

(where relevant information is conveyed about the technical services offered by the institution with archival holdings)

6. Control Area

(where the description of the institution with archival holdings is uniquely identified and information is recorded on how, when and by which agency the description was created and maintained).


4.5

This standard also makes provision in Chapter 6 for linking from information about institutions with archival holdings to multilevel descriptions compliant with ISAD(G) and to descriptions of corporate bodies, families and persons as creators of archival material compliant with ISAAR(CPF). Note that the description of an institution may be linked to as many descriptions of archival material and/or authority records as required.

4.6

The appendix provides full examples of descriptions of institutions with archival holdings compiled in accordance with this standard. See also 4.11.


4.7

All the elements covered by these rules are available for use, but the following elements are mandatory:

  • Identifier (element 5.1.1);
  • Authorised form(s) of name (element 5.1.2); and
  • Location and address(es) (element 5.2.1).


4.8

In a description of an institution with archival holdings, the use and format of optional elements of description will be determined by the nature of the institution being described and the intended use of the description within a particular information system or network.


4.9

When the standard is applied to describe entities other than institutions whose primary function is to keep archives, use the appropriate subset of elements. For example, privacy requirements must be considered when the custodian is an individual or a family.


4.10

Many of the elements in the description of an institution with archival holdings, established in accordance with the present standard, can be used as access points. Rules and conventions for standardising access points may be developed nationally or separately for each language. Vocabularies and conventions to be used in creating or selecting the data content for these elements may also be developed nationally or separately for each language.


4.11

Examples provided throughout the standard are illustrative and not prescriptive. They illuminate the provisions of the rules to which they are attached, rather than extend those provisions. Do not take the examples, or the form in which they are presented, as instructions. To clarify the context, each example is followed by an indication in italic text of the name of the agency that supplied the example. Further explanatory notes may follow, also in italics, preceded by the word Note.


4.12

This standard is intended to be used in conjunction with ISAD(G) - General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd edition, ISAAR(CPF) – International Standard Archival Authority Records for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, 2nd edition, ISDF – International Standard for Describing Functions, 1st edition, and with national archival descriptive standards. When these standards are used together within the context of an archival descriptive system or network, descriptions of institutions with archival holdings will be linked to descriptions of archival material and to authority records, and vice versa. See Chapter 6 for guidance on how these links may be created.


4.13

This standard addresses only some of the conditions needed to support the exchange of information about institutions with archival holdings. Successful automated exchange of information about institutions with archival holdings over computer networks is dependent upon the adoption of a suitable communication format by the repositories involved in the exchange. This standard is intended to be used as the basis for a development of communication and/or data exchange formats.


5. Elements of description

5.1 Identity area

5.1.1 Identifier

Purpose:

To provide a unique numeric or alpha-numeric code identifying the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record the numeric or alpha-numeric code identifying the institution with archival holdings in accordance with the relevant international and national standards.


5.1.2 Authorised form(s) of name

Purpose:

To create an authorised access point that uniquely identifies the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record the standardised form of name of the institution with archival holdings, adding appropriate qualifiers (for instance dates, place, etc.), if necessary. Specify separately in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.6.3) which set of rules has been applied for this element.


5.1.3 Parallel form(s) of name

Purpose:

To indicate the various forms in which the Authorised form of name of an institution with archival holdings occurs in other languages or script form(s).

Rule:

Record the parallel form(s) of name of the institution with archival holdings in accordance with any relevant national or international conventions or rules applied by the agency that created the description, including any necessary sub elements and/or qualifiers required by those conventions or rules. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.6.3) which rules have been applied.


5.1.4 Other form(s) of name

Purpose:

To indicate any other name(s) for the institution with archival holdings not used elsewhere in the Identity Area.

Rule:

Record any other name(s) by which the institution with archival holdings may be known. This could include other forms of the same name, acronyms; other institutional names; or changes of name over time, including, if possible, relevant dates.


5.1.5 Type

Purpose:

To identify the type of an institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Identify the type of the institution with archival holdings.

Note: different consistent systems of criteria can be used and/or combined to classify institutions with archival holdings, in accordance with any relevant national or international conventions, rules or controlled vocabularies.


5.2 Contact area

5.2.1 Location and address(es)

Purpose:

To provide all relevant addresses for the institution with archival holdings, both physical and electronic.

Rule:

Record the location(s) for public access to the institution with archival holdings (streetaddress, postal code, city, province, county or state, country, etc.). Indicate any other relevant addresses (for example addresses of other facilities). Also record the electronic address used by the institution (for example the URL of their website).


5.2.2 Telephone, fax, email

Purpose:

To provide details necessary to contact the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record the telephone, fax, and/or email addresses and other electronic tools which can be used to contact and/or communicate with the institution with archival holdings.


5.2.3 Contact person

Purpose:

To provide users with all the information needed to contact members of staff.

Rule:

Record the name, the contact details and the position of the members of staff (first name, surname, area of responsibility, email, etc.). This information may relate to the Administrative structure element (5.3.4).


5.3 Description area

5.3.1 History of the institution with archival holdings

Purpose:

To provide a concise history of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

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.


5.3.2 Geographical and cultural context

Purpose:

To provide information about the geographical and cultural context of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Identify the geographical area the institution with archival holdings belongs to. Record any other relevant information about the cultural context.


5.3.3 Mandate / Sources of authority

Purpose:

To indicate the sources of authority for the institution with archival holdings in terms of its powers, functions, responsibilities or sphere of activities, including territorial.

Rule:

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.


5.3.4 Administrative structure

Purpose:

To represent the current administrative structure of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Describe, in narrative form or using organisational charts, the current administrative structure of the institution with archival holdings.


5.3.5 Records management and collecting policies

Purpose:

To provide information about the records management and collecting policies of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

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.


5.3.6 Building(s)

Purpose:

To provide information about the building(s) of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

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.


5.3.7 Archival and other holdings

Purpose:

To provide a profile of the holdings of the institution.

Rule:

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. See chapter 6 for guidance on how to establish links to archival databases and/or detailed descriptions of the holdings.


5.3.8 Finding aids and publications

Purpose:

To provide a general overview of the published and/or unpublished finding aids and guides prepared by the institution with archival holdings and any other relevant publications.

Rule:

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. See chapter 6 for guidance on how to establish links to online archival catalogues and/or finding aids.


5.4 Access area

5.4.1 Opening times

Purpose:

To provide information on opening times and dates of annual closures.

Rule:

Record the opening hours of the institution with archival holdings and annual, seasonal and public holidays, and any other planned closures. Describe times associated with the availability and/or delivery of services (for example, exhibition spaces, reference services, etc.).


5.4.2 Conditions and requirements for access and use

Purpose:

To provide information about the conditions, requirements and procedures for access to, and use of institutional services.

Rule:

Describe access policies, including any restrictions and/or regulations for the use of materials and facilities. Record information about registration, appointments, readers’ tickets, letters of introduction, admission fees, etc. Where appropriate, make reference to the relevant legislation.


5.4.3 Disabled access

Purpose:

To provide accessibility information related to the institution and its services.

Rule:

Record information about travelling to the institution and details for users with disabilities, including building features, specialised equipment or tools, parking or lifts.


5.5 Services area

5.5.1 Research services

Purpose:

To describe the research services provided by the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record information about the onsite services provided by the institution with archival holdings such as languages spoken by staff, research and consultation rooms, enquiry services, internal libraries, map, microfiches, audio-visual, computer rooms, etc. Record as well any relevant information about research services, such as researchundertaken by the institution with archival holdings, and the fee charge if applicable.


5.5.2 Reproduction services

Purpose:

To provide information about reproduction services.

Rule:

Record information about reproduction services available to the public (microfilms, photocopies, photographs, digitised copies). Specify general conditions and restrictions to the services including applicable fees and publication rules.


5.5.3 Public areas

Purpose:

To provide information about areas of the institution available for public use.

Rule:

Record information about spaces available for public use (permanent or temporary exhibitions, free or charged internet connection, cash machines, cafeterias, restaurants, shops, etc.).


5.6 Control area

5.6.1 Description identifier

Purpose:

To identify the description of the institution with archival holdings uniquely within the context in which it will be used.

Rule:

Record a unique description identifier in accordance with local and/or national conventions. If the description is to be used internationally, record the code of the country in which the description was created in accordance with the latest version of ISO 3166 Codes for the representation of names of countries. Where the creator of the description is an international organisation, give the organisational identifier in place of the country code.


5.6.2 Institution identifier

Purpose:

To identify the agency(ies) responsible for the description.

Rule:

Record the full authorised form of name(s) of the agency(ies) responsible for creating, modifying or disseminating the description or, alternatively, record a code for the agency in accordance with the national or international agency code standard.


5.6.3 Rules and/or conventions used

Purpose:

To identify the national or international conventions or rules applied in creating the description.

Rule:

Record the names, and where useful the editions or publication dates, of the conventions or rules applied. Specify separately which rules have been applied for creating the Authorised form of name. Include reference to any system(s) of dating used to identify dates in this description (e.g. ISO 8601).


5.6.4 Status

Purpose:

To indicate the drafting status of the description so that users can understand the current status of the description.

Rule:

Record the current status of the description, indicating whether it is a draft, finalized and/or revised or deleted.


5.6.5 Level of detail

Purpose:

To indicate whether the description applies a minimal, partial or a full level of detail.

Rule:

Record whether the description consists of a minimal, partial or full level of detail in accordance with relevant international and/or national guidelines and/or rules. In the absence of national guidelines or rules, minimal descriptions are those that consist only of the three essential elements of an ISDIAH compliant description (see 4.7), while full descriptions are those that convey information for all relevant ISDIAH elements of description.


5.6.6 Dates of creation, revision or deletion

Purpose:

To indicate when this description was created, revised or deleted.


Rule:

Record the date the description was created and the dates of any revisions to the description. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.6.3) the system(s) of dating used, e.g. ISO 8601.


5.6.7 Language(s) and script(s)

Purpose:

To indicate the language(s) and/or script(s) used to create the description of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record the language(s) and/or script(s) of the description. Include the appropriate ISO codes for languages (ISO 639-2 Codes for the representation of names of languages) and/or scripts (ISO 15924 Codes for the representation of names of scripts).


5.6.8 Sources

Purpose:

To indicate the sources consulted in creating the description of the institution with archival holdings.

Rule:

Record the sources consulted in establishing the description of the institution with archival holdings.


5.6.9 Maintenance notes

Purpose:

To document additional information relating to the creation of and changes to the description.

Rule:

Record notes pertinent to the creation and maintenance of the description. For example, the names of persons responsible for creating and/or revising the description may be recorded here.


6. Relating archival institutions descriptions to archival materials and their creators

Descriptions of institutions with archival holdings are created primarily to provide details on the holders of archival materials and to give information required to access the documents. To make this documentation more useful it is necessary to link the descriptions of institutions which hold archives to descriptions of the archival materials. When such linkages are made it is important to describe the nature of the relationship between the institution with archival holdings and the linked archival materials. Authority records of the creators of records held by these institutions can be linked as well and used as an additional access point. This Section provides guidance on how such linkages can be created in the context of an archival descriptive system.

Note: links between institutions which hold archives and archival materials may be made according to classification schemes and/or other arrangement criteria applied by the institution with archival holdings to give a meaningful order to the fonds held. Usually, the classification schemes or arrangement criteria aim to represent State structure, sequence of political regimes and/or typology of archival materials and/or of their creators (governmental, private, business, etc.).


6.1 Title and identifier of related archival material

Purpose:

To identify the related archival material and/or enable the linking of the description of the institution with archival holdings to a description of the related archival material, where such descriptions exist.


Rule:

Provide the title and the identifier for the related archival material.


6.2 Description of relationship

Purpose:

To define the relationship between the institution with archival holdings and the fonds or collection according to a classification scheme and/or arrangement criterion.

Rule:

Qualify the relationship between the institution with archival holdings and the fonds or collection, applying the classification scheme and/or the arrangement criterion adopted by the institution with archival holdings.

Describe the classification scheme and/or the arrangement criterion in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.6.3).


6.3 Dates of relationship

Purpose:

To provide the dates of the relationship between the institution with archival holdings and the related archival material.

Rule:

Record any relevant dates of the relationships between the institution with archival holdings and the related archival material.


6.4 Authorised form(s) of name and identifier of related authority record

Purpose:

To identify the related records creator by linking the description of the institution with archival holdings to a description of the related records creator, where such descriptions exist.

Rule:

Provide the authorised form(s) of name and the identifier of the authority record for the related records creator.

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