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International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families

Main Page > Requirement sources > ISAAR(CPF)

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1. Scope and purpose

2. Related standards and guidelines

3. Glossary of terms and definitions

4. Structure and use of the standard

5. Elements of an authority record

6. Relating corporate bodies, persons and families to archival materials and other resources


1. Scope and purpose

1.1

This standard provides guidance for preparing archival authority records which provide descriptions of entities (corporate bodies, persons and families) associated with the creation and maintenance of archives.


1.2

Archival authority records may be used:

  • a. to describe a corporate body, person, or family as units within an archival descriptive system; and/or
  • b. to control the creation and use of access points in archival descriptions;
  • c. to document relationships between different records creators and between those entities and the records created by them and/or other resources about or by them.


1.3

Description of records creators is an essential activity of archivists, regardless of whether the descriptions are maintained in manual or automated systems. This requires full documentation and continuous maintenance of the context of records creation and use, most importantly the provenance of archives and records.


1.4

The companion standard to this document, ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, provides for the inclusion of contextual information within the description of archives at any level. ISAD(G) also recognises the possibility of capturing and maintaining contextual information independently and linking that contextual information to the combination of other information elements used to describe archives and records.


1.5

There are many reasons why separate capture and maintenance of this type of contextual information is a vital component of archival description. The practice enables the linking of descriptions of records creators and contextual information to descriptions of records from the same creator(s) that may be held by more than one repository and to descriptions of other resources such as library and museum materials that relate to the entity in question. Such links improve records management practices and facilitate research.


1.6

Where a number of repositories hold records from a given source they can more easily share or link contextual information about this source if it has been maintained in a standardized manner. Such standardization is of particular international benefit when the sharing or linking of contextual information is likely to cross national boundaries. The multinational character of past and present record keeping creates the incentive for international standardization which will support the exchange of contextual information. For example, processes such as colonialization, immigration and trade have contributed to the multinational character of recordkeeping.


1.7

This standard is intended to support the sharing of archival authority records by promoting the preparation of consistent, appropriate and self-explanatory descriptions of corporate bodies, persons and families that create records. It is intended to be used in conjunction with existing national standards or as the basis for the development of national standards.


1.8

Archival authority records are similar to library authority records in as much as both forms of authority record need to support the creation of standardized access points in descriptions. The name of the creator of the unit of description is one of the most important of such access points. Access points may rely on the use of qualifiers that are deemed essential to clarify the identity of the entity thus named, so that accurate distinctions may be made between different entities that have the same or very similar names.


1.9

Archival authority records, however, need to support a much wider set of requirements than is the case with library authority records. These additional requirements are associated with the importance of documenting information about records creators and the context of records creation in archival description systems. As such, archival authority records go much further and usually will contain much more information than library authority records.


1.10

The primary purpose, therefore, of this standard is to provide general rules for the standardization of archival descriptions of records creators and the context of records creation, thus enabling:

  • access to archives and records based on the provision of descriptions of the context of records creation that are linked to descriptions of the often diverse and physically dispersed records themselves;
  • understanding by users of the context underlying the creation and use of archives and records so that they can better interpret their meaning and significance;
  • precise identification of records creators incorporating descriptions of relationships between different entities, especially documentation of administrative change within corporate bodies or personal change of circumstances in individuals and families; and
  • the exchange of these descriptions between institutions, systems and/or networks.


1.11

An archival authority record that conforms to this standard may also serve to control the form of name and identity of a corporate body, person or family named in an access point that is related to the unit of archival description.


2. Related standards and guidelines

Note: This list includes the dates of relevant standards as they existed at the time of finalization of the 2nd edition of ISAAR(CPF) in late 2003. Future readers are encouraged to refer to the latest version of each standard.
  • ISAD (G) - General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed., Madrid: International Council on Archives, 2000.
  • ISO 639-2 - Codes for the representation of names of languages, Alpha-3 code, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1998.
  • ISO 690 - Documentation - Bibliographic references - Content, form and structure, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1987.
  • ISO 690-2 - Documentation - Bibliographic references – Electronic documents or parts thereof, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1992.
  • ISO 999 - Information and documentation - Guidelines for the content, organization and presentation of indexes, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1996.
  • ISO 2788 - Documentation - Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1986.
  • ISO 3166 - Codes for the representation of names of countries, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1997.
  • ISO 5963 - Documentation - Methods for examining documents, determining their subjects, and selecting indexing terms, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1985.
  • ISO 5964 - Documentation - Guidelines for the establishment and development of multilingual thesauri, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 1985.
  • ISO 8601 - Data elements and interchange formats - Information interchange - Representation of dates and times, 2nd ed., Geneva: International Standards Organization, 2000.
  • ISO 15489 - Information and documentation - Records management, parts 1 and 2, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 2001.
  • ISO 15511 – Information and documentation – International standard identifier for libraries and related organizations, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 2003.
  • ISO 15924 - Codes for the representation of names of scripts, Geneva: International Standards Organization, 2003.
  • Guidelines for Authority Records and References / revised by the International Federation of Library Associations Working Group on GARE revision, 2nd ed., München: K.G. Saur, 2001 (UBCIM Publications New series, vol. 23).
  • Mandatory data elements for internationally shared resource authority records: report of the IFLA UBCIM Working group on Minimal Level Authority Records and ISADN, 1998 < http://www.ifla.org/VI/3/p1996-2/mlar.htm> (known as "MLAR").
  • Form and Structure of Corporate Headings: Recommendations of the Working Group on Corporate Headings. Approved by the Standing Committees of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing and the IFLA Section on Official Publications, 1980. (updated in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control in 1992).


3. Glossary of Terms and Definitions

The following glossary forms an integral part of this standard. The terms are defined in the context of the rules.

  • Access point. A name, term, keyword, phrase or code that may be used to search, identify and locate archival descriptions, including authority records.
  • Archival description. The creation of an accurate representation of a unit of description and its component parts, if any, by capturing, analyzing, organizing and recording information that serves to identify, manage, locate and explain archival materials and the context and records systems which produced it. This term also describes the products of the process.
  • Authority record. The authorized form of name combined with other information elements that identify and describe the named entity and may also point to other related authority records.
  • Corporate body. An organization or group of persons that is identified by a particular name and that acts, or may act, as an entity. Also includes an individual acting in a corporate capacity.
  • Creator. Any entity (corporate body, family or person) that created, accumulated and/or maintained records in the conduct of personal or corporate activity.
  • Provenance. The relationships between records and the organizations or individuals that created, accumulated and/or maintained and used them in the conduct of personal or corporate activity.
  • Qualifier. Information added to a descriptive element that assists identification, understanding and/or use of the authority record.
  • Record. Information in any form or medium, created or received and maintained by an organization or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs.


4. Structure and use of the standard

4.1

This standard determines the types of information that could be included in an archival authority record and provides guidance on how such records may be deployed in an archival descriptive system. The content of the information elements included in the authority record will be determined by the conventions and/or rules that the agency follows.


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 (or rules) applicable to the element; and
  • d. where applicable, examples illustrating implementation of the rule.


4.3

Paragraphs are numbered and are given for citation purposes only. These numbers 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 an archival authority record are organized into four information areas:

1. Identity Area

  • (where information is conveyed which uniquely identifies the entity being described and which defines standardized access points for the record)

2. Description Area

  • (where relevant information is conveyed about the nature, context and activities of the entity being described)

3. Relationships Area

  • (where relationships with other corporate bodies, persons and/or families are recorded and described)

4. Control Area

  • (where the authority record is uniquely identified and information is recorded on how, when and by which agency the authority record was created and maintained).


4.5

This standard also provides in Chapter 6 guidelines for linking archival authority records to the descriptions of records created by the entity and/or other information resources about or by them. Chapter 6 also includes data models that illustrate the relationships between authority records that describe archival records creators and descriptions of the archives created by those entities.


4.6

Appendix A provides a mapping of the descriptive elements between the first edition of this standard and the current edition. Appendix B provides full examples of archival authority records compiled in accordance with this standard.


4.7

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

  • Type of entity (element 5.1.1);
  • Authorized form(s) of name (element 5.1.2);
  • Dates of existence (element 5.2.1); and
  • Authority record identifier (element 5.4.1).


4.8

The nature of the entity being described and the requirements of the particular system or network within which the preparer of an archival authority record works will determine which of the optional elements of description are used in a given authority record and whether these elements are presented in a narrative and/or a structured format.


4.9

Many of the descriptive elements in an ISAAR(CPF) compliant authority record will be used as access points. Rules and conventions for standardizing 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. The following ISO standards are useful when developing and maintaining controlled vocabularies:

  • ISO 5963 Documentation - Methods for examining documents, determining their subjects, and selecting indexing terms,
  • ISO 2788 Documentation - Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri,
  • ISO 5964 Documentation - Guidelines for the establishment and development of multilingual thesauri and
  • ISO 999 Information and Documentation - Guidelines for the content, organization and presentation of indexes.

In citing a published source in any element of description, it is suggested that agencies follow the latest version of ISO 690 Documentation - Bibliographic references - Content, form and structure.


4.10

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 of the name of the agency that supplied the example. Further explanatory notes may follow, also in italic, preceded by the word Notes:. Do not confuse the indication of the source of the example and any notes with the example itself.


4.11

This standard is intended to be used in conjunction with ISAD(G) - General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd edition and with national archival descriptive standards. When these standards are used together within the context of an archival descriptive system or network, authority records will be linked to descriptions of archives, and vice versa. See Chapter 6 for guidance on how these links may be created. Descriptions of archives and records can be linked to archival authority records in the Name of creator(s) element (3.2.1) and the Administrative/Biographical history element (3.2.2) of an ISAD(G) compliant description.


4.12

This Standard is intended to be used in conjunction with national standards and conventions. For example, archivists may be guided by national standards when deciding which elements may or may not be repeatable. In many countries archival descriptive systems require a single Authorized form of name for a given entity, while in other countries it is permitted to create more than one Authorized form of name.


4.13

This standard addresses only part of the conditions needed to support the exchange of archival authority information. Successful automated exchange of archival authority information over computer networks is dependent upon the adoption of a suitable communication format by the repositories involved in the exchange. Encoded Archival Context (EAC) is one such communications format which supports the exchange of ISAAR(CPF) compliant archival authority data over the World Wide Web. EAC has been developed in the form of Document Type Definitions (DTDs) in XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language).


5. Elements of an authority record

5.1 Identity area

5.1.1 Type of entity

Purpose:

To indicate whether the entity being described is a corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Specify the type of entity (corporate body, person or family) that is being described in this authority record.


5.1.2 Authorized form(s) of name

Purpose:

To create an authorized access point that uniquely identifies a corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record the standardized form of name for the entity being described in accordance with any relevant national or international conventions or rules applied by the agency that created the authority record. Use dates, place, jurisdiction, occupation, epithet and other qualifiers as appropriate to distinguish the authorized form of name from those of other entities with similar names. Specify separately in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) which set of rules has been applied for this element.


5.1.3 Parallel forms of name

Purpose:

To indicate the various forms in which the Authorized form of name occurs in other languages or script form(s).

Rule:

Record the parallel form(s) of name in accordance with any relevant national or international conventions or rules applied by the agency that created the authority record, including any necessary sub elements and/or qualifiers required by those conventions or rules. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) which rules have been applied.


5.1.4 Standardized forms of name according to other rules

Purpose:

To indicate standardized forms of name for the corporate body, person or family that have been constructed according to rules other than those used to construct the authorised form of name. This can facilitate the sharing of authority records between different professional communities.

Rule:

Record the standardized form of name for the entity being described in accordance with other conventions or rules. Specify the rules and/or if appropriate the name of the agency by which these standardized forms of name have been constructed.


5.1.5 Other forms of name

Purpose:';

To indicate any other name(s) for the corporate body, person or family not used elsewhere in the Identity Area.

Rule:

Record other names by which the entity may be known, such as:

  • a) other forms of the same name, e.g. acronyms;
  • b) other names of corporate bodies, for example, changes of name over time and their dates;3
  • c) including pseudonyms, maiden names, etc;
  • d) names and prenominal and postnominal titles of persons and families, e.g. titles of nobility, or titles of honour held by the individual or family.


5.1.6 Identifiers for corporate bodies

Purpose:

To provide any numeric or alpha-numeric identifiers that are used to identify the corporate body.

Rule:

Record where possible any official number or other identifier (e.g. a company registration number) for the corporate body and reference the jurisdiction and scheme under which it has been allocated.


5.2 Description area

The purpose of this area is to describe the history, roles, context and activities of the corporate body, person or family.

The Dates of existence (5.2.1) must be recorded as a separate element.

The information specified in rules 5.2.3-5.2.8 may be recorded as separate, structured elements and/or as narrative text in 5.2.2.


5.2.1 Dates of existence

Purpose:

To indicate the dates of existence of the corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record the dates of existence of the entity being described. For corporate bodies include the date of establishment/foundation/enabling legislation and dissolution. For persons include the dates or approximate dates of birth and death or, when these dates are not known, floruit dates. Where parallel systems of dating are used, equivalences may be recorded according to relevant conventions or rules. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) the system(s) of dating used, e.g. ISO 8601.


5.2.2 History

Purpose:

To provide a concise history of the corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record in narrative form or as a chronology the main life events, activities, achievements and/or roles of the entity being described. This may include information on gender, nationality, family and religious or political affiliations. Wherever possible, supply dates as an integral component of the narrative description.


5.2.3 Places

Purpose:

To indicate the predominant places and/or jurisdictions where the corporate body, person or family was based, lived or resided or had some other connection.

Rule:

Record the name of the predominant place(s)/jurisdiction(s), together with the nature and covering dates of the relationship with the entity.


5.2.4 Legal status

Purpose:

To indicate the legal status of a corporate body.

Rule:

Record the legal status and where appropriate the type of corporate body together with the covering dates when this status applied.


5.2.5 Functions, occupations and activities

Purpose:

To indicate the functions, occupations and activities performed by the corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record the functions, occupations and activities performed by the entity being described, together with the covering dates when useful. If necessary, describe the nature of the function, occupation or activity.


5.2.6 Mandates/Sources of authority

Purpose:

To indicate the sources of authority for the corporate body, person or family 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 entity being described, together with information on the jurisdiction(s) and covering dates when the mandate(s) applied or were changed.


5.2.7 Internal structures / Genealogy

Purpose:

To describe and/or represent the internal administrative structure(s) of a corporate body or the genealogy of a family.

Rule:

Describe the internal structure of a corporate body and the dates of any changes to that structure that are significant to the understanding of the way that corporate body conducted its affairs (e.g. by means of dated organization charts).

Describe the genealogy of a family (e.g. by means of a family tree) in a way that demonstrates the inter-relationships of its members with covering dates.


5.2.8 General context

Purpose:

To provide significant information on the general social, cultural, economic, political and/or historical context in which the corporate body, person or family operated, lived or was active.

Rule:

Provide any significant information on the social, cultural, economic, political and/or historical context in which the entity being described operated.


5.3 Relationships area

The purpose of this area is to describe relationships with other corporate bodies, persons and families as may be described in other authority records.


5.3.1 Names / Identifiers of related corporate bodies, persons or families

Purpose:

To indicate the names and any unique identifiers of related entities and to support linkages to the authority records for related corporate bodies, persons or families.

Rule:

Record the authorized form of name and any relevant unique identifiers, including the authority record identifier, for the related entity.


5.3.2 Category of relationship

Purpose:

To identify the general category of relationship between the entity being described and another corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record a general category into which the relationship being described falls. Use general categories prescribed by national rules and/or conventions or one of the following four categories. Record in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) any classification scheme used as a source of controlled vocabulary terms to describe the relationship.

Hierarchical

  • Eg. superior/subordinate; controlled/controlling; owner of/owned by)
  • In a hierarchical relationship an entity may exercise some authority and control over the activities of a number of other corporate bodies, persons or families. An entity may also be subordinate to a number of other corporate bodies, persons or families, as for example a joint-committee or an organization whose superior changed over time.

Temporal

  • Eg. predecessor/successor.
  • In a temporal relationship an entity may succeed a number of other corporate bodies, persons or families in exercising some functions and activities. In turn it may be succeeded by a number of other corporate bodies, persons or families.

Family

  • In a family a person may have a wide circle of relationships with other members of the family and with the family as an entity. Where the genealogical structure of the family is complex it may be appropriate to create separate authority records for each member and link them to parent(s), spouse(s) and child(ren). Alternatively this information may be recorded in the Internal structures/Genealogy element (5.2.7).

Associative

  • An associative relationship is a general category for relationships not covered by any of the above (e.g. Provider/client, membership, part/whole, business partner).


5.3.3 Description of relationship

Purpose:

To provide a specific description of the nature of the relationship.

Rule:

Record a precise description of the nature of the relationship between the entity described in this authority record and the other related entity, e.g. superior agency, subordinate agency, owner, predecessor, husband, wife, son, cousin, teacher of, student of, professional colleague. Record in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) any classification scheme used as a source of controlled vocabulary terms to describe the relationship. A narrative description of the history and/or nature of the relationship may also be provided here.


5.3.4 Dates of the relationship

Purpose:

To indicate the dates of duration of the relationship with another corporate body, person or family.

Rule:

Record when relevant the commencement date of the relationship or succession date and, when relevant, the cessation date of the relationship. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) any systems of dating used, e.g. ISO 8601.


5.4 Control area

5.4.1 Authority record identifier

Purpose:

To identify the authority record uniquely within the context in which it will be used.

Rule:

Record a unique authority record identifier in accordance with local and/or national conventions. If the authority record is to be used internationally, record the country code of the country in which the authority record was created in accordance with the latest version of ISO 3166 Codes for the representation of names of countries.

Where the creator of the authority record is an international organization, give the organizational identifier in place of the country code.


5.4.2 Institution identifiers

Purpose:

To identify the agency(ies) responsible for the authority record.

Rule:

Record the full authorized form of name(s) of the agency(ies) responsible for creating, modifying or dissemninating the authority record or, alternatively, record a code for the agency in accordance with the national or international agency code standard. Include reference to any systems of identification used to identify the institutions (e.g. ISO 15511).


5.4.3 Rules and/or conventions

Purpose:

To identify the national or international conventions or rules applied in creating the archival authority record.

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 Authorized form of name. Include reference to any system(s) of dating used to identify dates in this authority record (e.g. ISO 8601).


5.4.4 Status

Purpose:

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

Rule:

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


5.4.5 Level of detail Purpose:

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

Rule:

Indicate whether the record 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 records are those that consist only of the four essential elements of an ISAAR(CPF) compliant authority record (see 4.8), while full records are those that convey information for all relevant ISAAR(CPF) elements of description.


5.4.6 Dates of creation, revision or deletion

Purpose:

To indicate when this authority record was created, revised or deleted.

Rule:

Record the date the authority record was created and the dates of any revisions to the record. Specify in the Rules and/or conventions element (5.4.3) the system(s) of dating used, e.g. ISO 8601.


5.4.7 Language(s) and script(s)

Purpose:

To indicate the language(s) and/or script(s) used to create the authority record.

Rule:

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


5.4.8 Sources

Purpose:

To identify the sources consulted in creating the authority record.

Rule: style="background:silver" | Rule | Record the sources consulted in establishing the authority record.


5.4.9 Maintenance notes

Purpose:

To document the creation of and changes to the authority record.

Rule:

Record notes pertinent to the creation and maintenance of the authority record. The names of persons responsible for creating the authority record may be recorded here.


6. Relating corporate bodies, persons and families to archival materials and other resources

Archival authority records are created primarily to document the context of records creation. To make this documentation useful it is necessary to link the authority records to descriptions of records. Archival authority records can also be linked to other relevant information resources. When such linkages are made it is important to describe the nature of the relationship, where known, between the corporate body, person or family and the linked resource. This Section provides guidance on how such linkages can be created in the context of an archival descriptive system. See Figure 1 for a pictorial representation of this.

Record relevant information as a free text narrative and/or as structured text as specified in the elements below and/or links to the resources.


6.1 Identifiers and titles of related resources

Purpose:

To identify uniquely the related resources and/or enable the linking of the authority record to a description of the related resources, where such descriptions exist.

Rule:

Provide the unique identifiers/reference codes and/or titles for the related resources. Where appropriate also provide the identifiers of any separate description of the related resource.


6.2 Types of related resources Purpose:

To identify the type of related resource(s) being referenced.

Rule:

Identify the type of related resources, e.g. Archival materials (fonds, record series, etc), archival description, finding aid, monograph, journal article, web site, photograph, museum collection, documentary film, oral history recording.


6.3 Nature of relationships

Purpose:

To identify the nature of the relationships between the corporate body, person or family and the related resources.

Rule:

Describe the nature of the relationships between the corporate body, person or family and the related resource, e.g. creator, author, subject, custodian, copyright owner, controller, owner.


6.4 Dates of related resources and/or relationships

Purpose:

To provide any relevant dates for the related resources and/or the dates of the relationship between the corporate body, person or family and the related resources, and to indicate the significance of those dates.

Rule:

Provide any relevant dates for the related resources and/or the relationship between the corporate body, person or family and the related resource and describe the significance of those dates.

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