Rules for Archival Description

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Main Page > User manual > Add/edit content > Add/edit archival descriptions > Rules for Archival Description

The Canadian Rules for Archival description (RAD) is maintained by the Canadian Council of Archives and a full copy of the standard is available at http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/archdesrules.html.

Contents

Title and statement of responsibility area

Edit RAD description: title and statement of responsibility area

The title and statement of responsibility area contains fields that map to RAD area 1.1 and the .1 rules in the media chapters. It is used for recording the title and identifiers of the unit of description.


Title proper

"The chief name of a unit being described, including formal or supplied titles, but excluding parallel titles and other title information" (RAD Glossary). For rules and examples, see RAD 1.1B and the .1B rules in the media chapters.


General material designation

"A term indicating the broad class of material to which the unit being described belongs" (RAD Glossary). ICA-AtoM ships with a default value list of GMD terms based on RAD's prescribed terminology; the list can be customized by editors and administrators (material type taxonomy).

Select as many GMD terms as are appropriate. For rules and examples, see RAD 1.1C and the .1C rules in the media chapters.

Parallel title

"The formal title proper in another language and/or script" (RAD Glossary), typically appearing in conjunction with the formal title on the chief source of information. For rules and examples, see RAD 1.1D and the .1D rules in the media chapters.


Other title information

"Title information usually appearing in or on the chief source of information in conjunction with a title proper, other than the title proper or parallel title" (RAD Glossary). For rules and examples, see RAD 1.1E and the .1E rules in the media chapters.


Statement of responsibility

"A statement that appears in conjunction with a formal title, relating to the personal author(s) of the document, to corporate body (bodies) or a family (families) from which the content emanates, or to person(s) or corporate body (bodies) responsible for the performance of the content of the document" (RAD Glossary).

Statement of responsibility applies only at the item level of description.

For rules and examples, see RAD 1.1F and the .1F rules in the media chapters.


Title notes

This is a multi-value field for registering and displaying the notes relating to the title of the unit of description. RAD includes 6 types of notes relating to title (see RAD 1.8B1 through 1.8B6).

  1. Enter the note.
  2. Select the type of note.
  3. When you click the "save" button in the button block the note will be registered and will now appear in the list above the data entry fields.

There is no limit to the number of title notes you can add, but as of the current version of ICA-AtoM (1.0.9 beta) you can only register them one at a time: i.e. enter the note, select the type, click the "save" button and repeat for each additional note.

Level of description

Select the level of description. The value list is drawn from the "Level of description" taxonomy and can be edited by system administrators and editors.


Add new child levels

See add a new archival description


Repository

Select a repository only at the highest level of description; leave this field blank at the lower levels if they are all held by the same repository. It is important to remember this because if a repository is selected for the lower levels then these lower levels will all be displayed in the holdings area of an archival institution's context menu.

Click on the "Repository" field and select the archival institution that holds the archival material being described. The names are drawn from pre-existing archival institution records. You can narrow down the list of choices by typing in the first few letters of the name. If the repository does not appear in this list, you can type it in and a new archival institution record will be created.


Identifier and reference code

Enter the code/number that uniquely identifies the unit of description within the archival institution. ICA-AtoM generates a globally unique identifier (reference code) by combining:

  1. the unit's identifier
  2. the institution's repository code
  3. the institution's country code (based on ISO 3166)

A country code and repository code will automatically be included in the reference code whenever the highest-level archival description is linked to an archival institution (see context area). The archival institution description must have the following fields filled out in order for this to happen: the identifier field in the ISDIAH identity area and the country field in the ISDIAH contact area.

Each child archival description will inherit reference code data entered at the parent levels of description. Information entered into the identifier field at lower levels of description will appear as part of the reference code when the archival description is saved and displayed.

The reference code will not be displayed on either the edit page or view page for any description that does not have its own identifier.


Edition area

The edition area contains fields that map to RAD area 1.2 and the .2 sections of the media chapters. It is used "only in item level description to record statements relating to versions of items existing in two or more versions or states in single or multiple copies." (RAD 1.2A1).


Edition statement

Enter edition statements relating to the item being described. For rules and examples, see RAD 1.2B.


Statements of responsibility

Transcribe statements of responsibility relating to one or more editions. For rules and examples, see RAD 1.2C.


Class of materials specific details area

The class of material specific details area contains fields that are applicable only to certain media types. It corresponds to the .3 sections in RAD's media chapters.


Cartographic records

Enter statements of scale, projection and coordinates. For rules and examples, see RAD 5.3 "Mathematical data area".


Architectural and technical drawings

Enter statements of scale. For rules and examples, see RAD 6.3 "Scale area".


Philatelic records

Enter information relating to the jurisdiction that issued the stamps and the denominations they represent. For rules and examples, see RAD 12.3 "Issue date area". ICA-AtoM combines what are two separate element in RAD into a single field because the relation is often 1 to many, i.e. one jurisdiction, many denominations (e.g. Canada: 5 cents, 40 cents).


Dates of creation area

The dates of creation area contains fields that map to RAD area 1.4. In ICA-AtoM it is used for registering both the dates of creation of the descriptive unit, as well as the name of the creator(s). Because of the way ICA-AtoM implements dates, this information area contains some element not found in RAD.


Events in ICA-AtoM

ICA-AtoM manages date ranges as events that links an actor (corporate body, person, or family), described in an authority record, to an archival unit in a type of role (e.g. creator, publisher, contributor, collector, broadcaster, etc.) over a certain period of time. At the highest level of description, the archival unit should always be associated with its creator over the date range of the material. At lower levels of description, enter the date range only to inherit the creator from the higher level (i.e. a description will inherit the creator if "Actor name" is left blank). At any level you can associate a description with multiple creators over different date ranges. At any level you can assign multiple types of relations; this will be primarily useful at the item level (e.g. date of publication vs creation).


Add a new event

  1. Click the blue Add new link on the left
    Under "Add new name and/or dates" click the blue "Add new" link to add a new event.
  2. Enter data into event dialogue box
    Enter data in the dialogue box as described below. When you are done, click "Submit".


Actor name

In the "Actor name" field enter the first few letters of the the actor's name. A list of names will appear in the drop-down menu (generated from the names of existing authority records). If the name does not appear in the menu, type the name and a new authority record will be created.

You can leave the "Actor name" field blank. Lower levels inherit creator information from higher levels: use only if the creator is different at the lower and higher levels. At the highest level of description, you should always include the creator.


Event type

Select the type of event from the drop-down menu: creation, contribution, collection, accumulation, broadcasting, etc. The value list is drawn from the event types taxonomy and can be edited by system administrators and editors.

When an authority record is attached to an archival description as a creator, the administrative history/biographical sketch of the of the creator is automatically added to the archival description. The information in this field is drawn from the "History" field of the related authority record.


Place

Select the place of creation, contribution, publication etc., if relevant, by typing in the first few letters and then selecting the place from the drop-down menu. If the place name does not appear on the list, type it in and a new place term will be created (note that this works only if you have taxonomy edit permission).


Date/End date

Enter the Date (i.e. start year) and End date. Do not use any qualifiers here (e.g. "ca.") or typographical symbols (e.g. "[194?]") to express uncertainty (see "Date display", below). If the start and end years are the same, enter data only in the "Date" field and leave the "End date" blank.

Complete at lower levels of description even if you are leaving the creator name field blank (e.g. when describing a series, you do not need to repeat the creator name from the fonds description, but you do need to enter the date range of the series).

Date display

If desired, enter the date range as you want it to appear in view mode. Add any additional text to qualify date range (e.g. "[ca. 1940]-1980" or "1940-1980, predominant 1973-1980"). For rules and examples, see RAD 1.4.

Whereas "Date" and "End date" are used internally for database searching and sorting purposes, this field is for display purposes. However, if you do not enter anything into "Date display" the "Date" and "End date" will appear as a date range when the record is saved.

Event note

Enter any additional information relating to the event.

Physical description area

The physical description area contains fields mapping to RAD area 1.5 and the .5 sections of the media chapters. It is used to record "the extent of the unit being described (including specific material designation), other physical details or the dimensions when appropriate." (RAD 1.5A1)

RAD contains four distinct elements in this area: "Extent of descriptive unit (including specific material designation)" (1.5B); "Other physical details" (1.5C); "Dimensions" (1.5D); and "Accompanying material" (1.5E). ICA-AtoM collapses these into a single "Physical description" field in order to accommodate multiple extent statements, each of which may contain different information relating to "other physical details", "dimensions", etc.

Publisher's series area

The publisher's series area contains fields mapping to RAD area 1.6 and the .6 sections of the media chapters. It is used "only for describing an item bearing a publisher's or artist's series title" (RAD 1.6A1). It contains the following text fields; for rules and examples, refer to the applicable RAD sections:

Title proper of publisher's series (RAD 1.6B)

Parallel titles of publisher's series (RAD 1.6C)

Other title information of publisher's series (RAD 1.6D)

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series (RAD 1.6E)

Numbering within publisher's series (RAD 1.6F)

Note on publisher's series (RAD 1.8B10)

Archival description area

Edit RAD description: archival description area

The archival description area maps to RAD area 1.7 and the .7 sections in the media chapters. It is used "to present information about the context and content of the unit being described" (RAD 1.7A1).


Administrative history/biographical sketch

This area displays data from the related authority records of any corporate bodies, persons or families registered in creation events in the dates of creation area. To edit, click the edit icon (pencil); this takes you to the related authority record for editing.

Note that the field label changes depending on the type of entity: "Administrative history" (corporate bodies), "Biographical sketch" (persons and families), "History" (entity type not entered).

Custodial history

"Give the history of the custody of the unit being described, i.e., the successive transfers of ownership and custody or control of the material, along with the dates thereof, insofar as it can be ascertained" (RAD 1.7C). For rules and examples, see RAD 1.7C and the .7C sections of the relevant media chapters.


Scope and content

"Give information on the type of function or activity to which the records comprising the unit being described pertain, the relationship between them, the organization of the records, and their documentary forms" (RAD 1.7D). For rules and examples, see RAD 1.7D and the .7D sections of the relevant media chapters.

Notes area

The notes area contains fields that map to RAD area 1.8 and the .8 rules of the media chapters. It is used "for descriptive information that cannot be fitted into other areas of the description" (RAD 1.8A1). RAD includes 30 elements as distinct types of notes in this area. A number of these have analogues in ISAD where they are treated as descriptive elements in their own right rather than "notes".

ICA-AtoM implements this RAD area as follows:

  • Those notes (13 in total) that have ISAD analogues are mapped to their own fields in this information area
  • The remainder are managed by a generic "Other notes" field with a "Note type" drop-down menu

There are several RAD notes that do not appear in this information area. These appear elsewhere in the RAD data entry template:

Standard number area

The standard number area maps to RAD area 1.9 and the .9 rules in the media chapters. It is used "only in item level description to record international standard numbers pertaining to the item" (RAD 1.9A1).


Standard number

"Give the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), or any other internationally agreed standard number for the item being described" (RAD 1.9B1). For content rules and examples, see RAD 1.9 and the .9 rules in the relevant media chapters.

Access points

Archival description: Access points area

There is no limit to the number of access points you can add in ICA-AtoM. When one term is entered, ICA-AtoM automatically provides fields for entering more terms. To delete an access point, click the delete icon next to it in the list.


Subject and place access points

Click on the "Subject" or "Place" field and select a term from the drop-down menu. You can narrow the list of choices by entering the first few letters of the term. If the term does not appear on the list, type it in and a new term will be created (note that this works only if you have taxonomy edit permission). For more on editing terms and adding to taxonomies, see add/edit terms.

Name access points

The values in the drop-down menu are all drawn from existing authority records. If the name you want to use does not appear in the list, type it in and a new authority record will be created (note that this works only if you have authority record create permission).

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