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DACS Review, Spring 2011

Page history last edited by Jennifer Nelson 12 years, 6 months ago


DACS Review Document FINAL

DACS Review Document OUTTAKES




Most of our comments on Part I of DACS have to do with matters of clarity or logic, the need for more examples, and copy edits needed to correct typos and the like. The big question for Parts II and III, of course, is whether RDA will be implemented, and how widely. The revisers of DACS will have to decide whether to base Parts II and IIII exclusively on RDA or to provide alternative rules for RDA and AACR2. We also recommend that there be some mention of DCRM(MSS) as a resource for item-level description.


Preface (comments by Alison Bridger):


p. v “Archival descriptions in an online environment, where not only researchers but other archivists can see them, have highlighted differences and similarities in practice between repositories and brought to the fore the need for a content standard for finding aids.”


Comment: And yet there are still vast differences. Some of this is because of the types of materials that are being described: government records, personal papers, corporate records and valuable single items. While DACS has helped to bring things more into line with each other I think things are still too variable. Part of this has to do with the fact that while DACS is a content standard many of the rules still basically state do what ever is best for your institution. As Margaret Nichols stated in her talk at RBMS in Philadelphia, Archivists are more loosey goosey. I don't see any reason for why they need to be as much as they are. Admittedly archival and manuscript collections are not all the same and do not have a nice neat package like a book or a DVD but there are still many similarities between collections as a whole. I think with the advent of MPLP it seems that standards with hard and fast rules are more important then ever as when you have these rules it makes it easier to get down to the business of description. Of course the real question is do these differences in how information is disseminated make it more difficult for the users of these materials to find what it is they are looking for or not?


p. vi Relationship to other Standards


Comment: Need to add RDA as well as AMREMM and DCRM(MSS), as well as the whole DCRM suite as each have an appendix on Collections, repositories with large Graphics collections may turn to DCRM(G) instead and Music (M) and Cartographic (C) will cover manuscript versions of their materials.


After looking at the ISAD(G) 26 Data elements DACS layout makes more sense then it did when it first came out as it was so different from AACR2 and APPM is layout.


p. vii “DACS simply omits areas mentioned in APPM that have little or no relevance to the description of archival materials, such as bibliographic series, parallel titles, statements of responsibility, etc.”


Comment: DCRM(MSS) will be adding some of this especially Statement of Responsibility and at least basic rules for formulating Formal Titles since DACS does not cover this at all but does happen more frequently when describing at the item level.


p. viii “Artificial” collections – “Most repositories in the U.S. have such collections, and they need to be handled and described the same way as materials traditionally considered to be 'organic.'”


Comment: TRUE, the only problem with this notion is that many archivists still refer to them as artificial collections, at the very least these should at least be described as something as there are some things that would be dealt with differently. And what do we call them if not artificial? Repository collections? For example The Bancroft Library collects materials on George Sterling, some are collections created by others while another collection was created and added to over the years from many different sources one or a few manuscripts at a time, usually purchased from dealers; an artificial collection. How these get described and arranged may be slightly different. In DACS there are separate rule for titles for these types of “organic collections”, 2.3.22 and it would be nice to have a name to call them and artificial seems to fit best as a repository as collector is a little more artificial then an individual who does not follow the same sort of archival practices as a repository would do. A repository is not likely to put the collection in a scrapbook, make comments on the items and is more likely to impose an order on this collection once items come in. 


p. viii “DACS contains no specific rules for the description of particular media, e.g., sound recordings, maps, photographs, etc.”


Comment: Need to add that DACS also does not contain specific rules for the description of single items and that they should go to AMREMM for Medieval and Early Modern and to DCRM(MSS) for Modern mss, as rules for collections are going to be too broad for specifics. So while archives are heading towards MPLP there are instances when an institution is going to want to describe items more at an individual level because of monetary and/or research value, or because the item is a stand alone item.


STATEMENT OF PRINCIPALS (Comments by Alison Bridger)


Principle 1: Records in archives possess unique characteristics. “They most often consist of aggregations of documents (largely unpublished) and are managed as such, though archival institutions frequently hold discrete items that must also be treated consistently within the institution's descriptive system.”


Comment: Only the rules for the “discrete items” are not found here.


Principle 2: The principle of respect des fonds is the basis of archival arrangement and description.


Comment: I think something needs to be said here that while one must respect des fonds/original order that many collections do not have this as such. Admittedly here is not the place to go into this too much but I think it does need to be acknowledged that personal papers especially but even organizations, corporations and government records are not going to have an original order that that sometimes the description (if not the arrangement) may put things into a more logical/usable order. Because if we really did follow original order all of the time there would be no arrangement, it would be unnecessary. Obviously with MPLP there is less of this but … of course this is sort of covered in Principal 3.


Principle 4: Description reflects arrangement. “Archival repositories must be able to describe holdings ranging from thousands of linear feet to a single item.” “A single item may be described in minute detail, whether or not it is part of a larger body of material.”


Comment: But alas DACS does not give any rules for the single item and AACR2 does not give any help so one must hobble together rules from a variety of places. This will be solved with the future publication of DCRM(MSS).


Principle 5: The rules of description apply to all archival materials regardless of form or medium.


Comment: There are other rules to describe collections of materials in just one form of medium. For example DCRM(B) has an appendix on how to deal with print collections, as do (S), (G), and possibly (M) and (C). as well as CCO for objects.


Principle 7: use of word “elucidation” in the last sentence while may be the proper word could use a different word or phrase. Perhaps: This requires a [clarifying explanation] regarding the order in which such information is presented and the relationships between description(s) of the parts and the description of the whole. Or replace with “more thorough clarification or explanation.”


Principle 7.3: Information provided at each level of description must be appropriate to that level. “Information that is common to the component parts should be provided at the highest appropriate level” and the idea that information does not need to repeat itself.


Comment: The only problem with some information not needing to repeat itself is that sometimes a user finds themselves in a finding aid online or even a large MARC catalog record and have lost their place and the relevance of what they are looking at. Something as simple as the Call number and box number is all that is needed to place the folder. Sometimes this can be solved with a style sheet or other way electronically. In the days of paper finding aids many times the title of the collection along with the call number is repeated at the top of each page. Of course this needs to be balanced with the fact that everything at each level should not have or needs the same long information repeated over and over.


Principle 8: Creators:


Comment: So while creators need to be described this information can point outside of the description, either with the EAC, Library of Congress Name Authority Records, websites, printed biographies or even an item in the collection itself. Biog/Hists can sometimes get to be long and in the days of MPLP I think giving just enough information to identify the person/organization and perhaps to put the collection into context.


I think it might also be important to point out here that this is not the place to make judgments about the people or organizations as it really needs to be just the facts.


Also: “The repository as collector does not need to be described.”


Comment: While this is true it might be important to note when, why, how the repository started the particular collection which can be covered in other elements, but this history is important to if known.


OVERVIEW of Archival Description p. xvii (Comments by Alison Bridger)


“DACS is a standard that is independent of particular forms of output in given information systems, such as manual and electronic catalogs, databases, and other finding aid formats.”  Will be used with “two most commonly employed forms”


Comment: This does not state explicitly what these two are. While it is obvious I think it needs to be stated in a footnote at least. MARC and EAD? Ok they are mentioned in the next paragraph but why wait so long to mention?


I think one point that is missed is that any access points you have or use need to be mentioned somehow within the description besides just being an access point. There needs to be warrant for the access point.


p. xix at top of page

Access points fall into 6 board categories:


Places – See comment below about changing

Subjects  *** below where it is described it has the heading Topical Subjects which is what it should be here and also note that all of these 6 broad categories can be subjects.

Documentary forms – See comment below about changing


Functions *** below where it is described it has the heading Functions and Activities which is what it should be here


Names: creator or subject of the records.


Comment: Maybe point them to 2.6 for broader definition of creator since this term seems to be encompassing more than just the creator of the records but also the collector, photographer, editor, etc.


“At minimum, an access point should be made for every name included in the Name of Creator(s) Element in a single-level description, or at the highest level in a multilevel description.” I think there needs to be a provision that if the number of names becomes too numerous that the institution can decide to only create access points for the most prominent or if it a group of people with equal prominence but are also known collectively by a name that it is ok to only name the collective Corporate/Organization name.


“Part III provides directions ...” perhaps you should mention here that these rules come straight from AACR2 (Or if they are going to be changed to RDA then that they come from there).


I know a lot of people have also been confused as to how much of the name needs to be used when mentioned within the description. I think you could state here that if the full authorized form with dates and fuller forms of names is mentioned at the top level that is it not necessary to re record all this information further in the description, unless there are conflicts that need to be resolved, i.e. 2 or more people with the same name within a description.


Also I don't know if this is the place to cover it, but maybe this only needs to apply to names that are in the front matter of a finding aid not further down in a contents list. While it is important to be internally consistent (or institutionally consistent) with names it is not as important to be consistent with every minor name listed, as this can be time consuming.


P laces:


Comment: Perhaps this should be “Geographic Place” names not just places.


Coming from the Name of Creator and Admin/Bio is not always appropriate for inclusion. Just because someone is from somewhere does not mean that the materials tell someone anything about this place. I think there needs to be language that states that a geographic heading is not always appropriate for some collections.


Chapter 13 is straight from AACR2 and should be mentioned here I think. Or at least state the the LCSH headings are based on AACR2 chapter 2X


Topical Subjects: “The topical subject matter to which the records pertain is among the most important aspects of the archival materials”


Comment: True but sometimes the only subject you have is a name or place and not a topical subject. This might be because there is no one strong topical subject or there just really are none that fit.


You might also want to mention local subjects? And that is important to keep track of these in an authority file.


Documentary Forms:


Comment: Is this really the best terms? Perhaps “Form and Genre” or is this too booky?


Point people again to Appx B for Thesauri. Add RBMS Form/Genre forms to Appx B. Not appropriate for many types of archival collections but can be for mss collections.




Comment: Pulling this out seems weird to me as this is a type of a topical subject.


Functions and Activities:


Comment: Again aren't these just a type of Topical Subject?


PART I Describing Archival Materials


Introduction to Describing Archival Materials p. 3 (Comments by Bridger)


Purpose and Scope


consistent, appropriate and self-explanatory descriptions.


Comment: “discrete items” Except these rules do  not really cover what to do with these items as the rules cover collections very well but not individual items. Of course then it goes on to state in the next paragraph that these rules really don't apply to these. Or are discrete items not item level? Appx B needs updating with DCRM(G), DCRM(C) DCRM(MSS) and AMREMM.


Question to DCRM(MSS) Group: Options and Alternatives: Does this follow the same pattern as the DCRM series? Not that it needs to but it would be nice if they were consistent with each other.


Examples: There is a footnote to EAD but should there be a footnote to MARC as well; also a specific attribute may not be required in some examples.


Chapter 1 Levels of Description p. 7 (Comments by Bridger)


Comment: End of 2nd paragraph “or at multiple levels that have a whole-part relationship” Not sure whole-part is the best word here. Possibly change to “or at multiple levels that have collection and part relationship, “ or “at multiple levels that have parent, child and/or sibling relationships.”


Comment: The “minimum” “optimum” and “added value” seem to go with the BIBCO Core Standard records (minimum, which does not meet BIBCO, core and full, see DCRM(B) appx) which was superseded by BIBCO Standard Record which is only one level (or two if you count those which do not meet this standard). Possibly need to rewrite to only include two levels? Of course these are mss and archival collections not books. And in the age of MPLP maybe should follow this as an example, so minimum to fill MPLP needs?


Looking at the three levels I think you really could just combine Optimum and Added Value since the instructions in Added value don't really give much instruction except to add other elements the repository wishes to include.


Single-level descriptions:

Comment: Would a straight box list in an EAD finding aid not specifying different levels not be also single level or is it considered two levels with the front matter being the top level and the contents being the second level? (No I guess a straight inventory is still considered a multilevel description).


Single-level minimum:

Comment: not sure even a scope and content element is needed if the title says it all, esp. for single items or for collections with only one type of material. Also in the time of MPLP maybe perhaps for just smaller collections. So for example “Frank Revada wanted poster : Mono County, Calif., 1892.” (Bancroft Library BANC MSS 2007/7) While this record does have a S&C I think at the minimum this title says it all.  Or “Will of Henry Carey, 1757 September 30.” (Folger MS Z.c.44 (7)) as does this one.  Or “Letters on John Johnston’s marriage, 1948.” (WHS File 1948 April 30).


Single-level minimum: Conditions governing access element: 

Comment: Rule 4.1.5 states “If there are no restrictions, state that fact.” I'm not sure this element should be required at the minimum level only if there are restrictions. I have worked at 3 different institutions and have yet to see (except in the finding aids, which are not this level) or implement this as a required minimum. At public institutions records are assumed to be available unless stated otherwise since the records are public property (WHS and TBL). At private institutions usually the restriction is getting into the institution in the first place (Folger and Morgan).



Comment: Not sure what “Identification of the whole-part relationship of the top level to at least the next subsequent level in the multilevel description” means. First replace whole-part relationship with parent, child and/or sibling relationship? Can this be done with a sidebar table of contents in and online finding aid or a table of contents in a paper finding aid? Or are we talking about a system of arrangement element (3.2)? If yes then why not state that here.


Each subsequent level of a multilevel description:

Comment: Do you want to state that this could be as little as the extent (container) and date?


Single-Level Minimum and Multilevel-Minimum: Scope and Content as Abstract.

Comment: I think almost every place calls a shorter S&C an abstract and the longer more narrative one a S&C the fact that it is not called this upfront is a little confusing since you state S&C again in the Optimum levels. Of course this is explained in the narrative after this. (Also see general comment to 3.1)


Again I am not sure the Added Value level is necessary since this really doesn't really add any value here. It just basically states add whatever else you wish and I think this could just be added to the Optimum level.


Also I don't think anything needs to be stated about the Each subsequent level unless you include adding an S&C or other general notes about that specific item or series. So a particular series might need physical or technical access note. Even if stated at a higher level it should be stated again at the level of the access if it is different from most of the rest of the collection.


Chapter 2 Identity Elements p. 13 (Comments by Bridger unless noted otherwise)


2.1 Reference Code



Comment:Any way to state optionally to have this information always display on the screen and or page (paper finding aid). As it is always confusing to have to scroll back up or click away from when in a long contents list. Many new users have come to the desk requesting Box 23, Folder 5 not knowing they need more information than that. I know part of this is teaching users, but to have the most important information for accessing a collection buried is not very user friendly. There is a way to have style sheets always display this information. Not as much an issue with catalog records as they are never as long as EAD finding aids can be.


Footnote 20 “The MARC Code List for Countries is used in archival cataloging (e.g. mixed materials) to indicate the country of the repository in the 008 field.”

Comment: I am assuming you mean the MARC field “008 15-17 - Place of publication, production, or execution.” In that case this is NOT the correct usage of this field, although I know historically archival collections have been using this field in this way. From MARC 21 Bibliographic online “Choice of a MARC code is generally related to information in field 260 (Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)).” But I guess when using MX format “For mixed materials, the code represents the repository where the material is assembled.”


But then “p - Mixed materials

Used when there are significant materials in two or more forms that are usually related by virtue of their having been accumulated by or about a person or body. Includes archival fonds and manuscript collections of mixed forms of materials, such as text, photographs, and sound recordings.” (http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/bdleader.html) Not all archival materials are 2 or more forms so some collections (or single items, which by the virtue of being single can't be 2 or more forms) are cataloged in the Book format with the Type: t manuscript language material with Type of control: a archival


So this really only can be used in the mixed format so only for archival collections that are of more than one type. And some institutes do not use mixed when the other forms found in the collection are not significant.


So that would mean the literary manuscripts of John Clifford Mortimer (Bancroft Library BANC MSS 89/62) are coded cau which is misleading as most of his work was done in Britain and only ever visited California.


2.2 Name and Location of Repository Element:

Comment: Might it be desirable to also add instructions to add a hyperlink to the repository home page or contact information page? Especially in cases where the finding aids are found in a consortium like Online Archive of California (OAC) or on Archive-Grid.


2.3 Title element:

Comment: may want to consider changing it from supplied title to devised title or perhaps change the glossary to “A title devised by the archivist ...” (Look up definitions of supply and devise, devise really seems to fit better into what is being done, of course historically this is what we have called our titles … the DCRM series has switched to devise)


I'm not sure that the second part of the title is descriptive enough “the nature of the materials being described” this could actually be the form of the materials or the subject of the materials. Perhaps reword to: Devised title generally have two of the following three parts:

-                    the name of the creator(s), collector(s), compiler(s), etc.

-                    the format of the materials being described

-                    the subject of the materials being described



Comment: I am not sure when DCRM(MSS) is coming out and when the revised version of DACS will come out but consider replacing AACR2 with DCRM(MSS) or other appropriate DCRM standard (Graphics, Music, Books, Cartographic, Serials). And of course there is now RDA.



Comment: consider changing “a term indicating the nature of the unit being described, and optionally a topical segment ...” to “a term indicating the format of the materials being described and optionally a topical subject segment”


“Do not enclose supplied titles in square brackets”

Comment: replace supplied with devised and think about adding a footnote stating the reason for not enclosing in square brackets since most titles for archival and manuscript collections are devised so putting in square brackets does not help...


Footnote 22:

Comment: The order of these elements is not prescribed, yet almost all of the examples have the titles as Creator, nature (format), topical (subject) and not in any other order.



2.3.4 “Record the name(s) … responsible for the creation, assembly ...” I know it is stated just above that if the repository is responsible for the assembling of the collection not to provide in the title but I really think it needs to be included in this rule. The way people use rules is to go straight to the rule that applies to what they are doing and will not necessarily read the whole chapter/section and I think it is more useful here and defiantly applies here. “If the repository is responsible for the assembling of a collection do not name here, instead record the nature/format of the materials and a topical subject, which can be a person, family or corporation.” Ok this is in 2.3.6 ...


2.3.5 “Record the name(s) in the form by which the creator or collector is generally known.”

Comment: Look at Chapter 12, but it can be misleading to list a form of the name by how the creator is generally known if the collection is for only when the person was known by a past name and not a more current name. For example : an institution has a collection of Cat Stevens manuscripts but none of his manuscripts by his current name Yusuf Islam. It would be misleading to call it the Yusuf Islam papers when you don't have anything by him under that name. Perhaps should read “Record the name(s) in the form by which the creator or collector is generally known and makes sense for the materials held.”


“The name may be abbreviated if a fuller form of the name appears elsewhere in the descriptive record (e.g., in the administrative/biographical history) or as an access point.”

Comment: I think this is ok within a contents list but to use an abbreviated form in the title of the collection as a whole if it is not the form by which the creator is generally known is misleading. Perhaps this rule should be “The name may be abbreviated if a fuller form of the name appears at a higher level in the descriptive record.”


Do we want rules on how to differentiate two people with the same name in the title by adding other information such as dates or other descriptive points.


No instructions on what to do for people with titles, suffix, etc. which may not be included in their authorities but are important to distinguish them from people with similar names.


Bishop Roy C. Nichols papers


Footnote 23:

Comment: So why can no more than one corporate name appear in a title. Sometimes there are collections where 2 distinct companies come together to make one company but the papers do not include any papers of the company as a whole OR where one corporate heading was 1 corporation and then was split into 2 distinct corporations.



Comment: consider doing what DCRM is doing which is listing a few (usually 3) and then stating “... and 5 others.” And then in a note you can list the 5 others.


2.3.10 may want to state something about using the spelling common to the family being represented NOT by genealogists which is what is traced in the Main Entry access point. What to do if the family changed the spelling of the name? Use the latest form.


2.3.15 ditto to 2.3.9


2.3.16 More than one corporate body



Momo's Press records


Momo's Press and Shocks magazine records (Bancroft BANC MSS 97/41)

Note: Momo's Press published Shocks.



Comment: “... used by a government agency or private organization ...” possibly switch to “... used by a corporate body such as a government agency or private organization such as a business or club ...” I think there needs to be the word corporate in here somewhere as this is how these entities are referred to elsewhere in the Archives and Library communities.


“When describing an intentionally assembled collection, supply the word 'collection' to indicate the nature of the unit being described”

Comment: I have a note to myself that these include “artificial collections” Maybe want to note here to include collections assembled by the parent institution. Or tell them to look at 2.3.22


Add an example like use of collection and papers in titles:


Collection of Bob and Eileen Kaufman papers, circa 1959-1996. (Bancroft BANC MSS 2007/159)


University of California, Berkeley, University Art Museum collection of Hans Hofmann papers (Bancroft BANC MSS 80/27)


2.3.19 Example: Andrew Jackson letter

Comment: This title is not helpful at all (admittedly have not gotten to dates yet which would help narrow down this title AND DCRM(MSS) will give instructions on how to deal with single items)


Footnote 26: point people to form/genre lists such as AAT and RBMS?



Comment: I would suggest breaking out a section on what to do when the creator is unknown.


Poem : by a daughter, whose father dies in California by that dreadful scourge, the cholera (BANC MSS 2006/24)


Civil war correspondence


Question to DCRM(MSS) Group: Another thing that would be helpful here that will not be covered in DCRM(MSS) is when a title appears within the title. Sometimes a collection is an authors research files for a later publication and is important to have in the title As “David T. Wellman interviews” could be misleading if there are other separate collections of David T. Wellman interviews for other works. Instead David T. Wellman interviews for Portraits of white racism. Instruct to capitalize the second title according to cataloging rules for books.


Example for encoding 245 10 William Dickson Pearsall $k letter, $f 1892

Comment: it needs the : before the k, although maybe it does not as I could not find anything in MARC 21 Bibliographic that stated that this was required.

While the example is technically ok it is also ok to do 245 10 William Dickson Peasall letter, $f 1892


General Comment on 2.3: No instructions on what to do when the collection combines both corporate and family/individuals papers. Can both go into the title? If not which takes precedence? Records or papers?


For example: Atkinson family and Atkinson Construction Company records (BANC MSS 2007/204)


2.4 Date element


Date(s) of record-keeping activity:

Comment: related to this would be date(s) of compilation, for example a scrapbook of materials that predate the creation such as J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps (See Folger collections) who collected items related to Shakespeare and put them into scrapbooks. Some of these documents were from Shakespeare's time (or before) to Halliwell-Phillipps time. For example: J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps collection of documents relating to Stratford on Avon, ca. 1270-ca. 1700 [manuscript], compiled 19th century (Folger MS Z.e.9). I think the statement made before in date(s) of Creation “This is the type of date recorded most often by archivists and manuscript catalogers not describing government or organizational records” So while this is true it seems to exclude the type of document stated above. Besides I wouldn't necessarily call what a collector is compiling as record-keeping activity.


Date(s) of publication:

Comment: I am a little confused as to why this is here unless the item in question is being described in a contents list for if it is being described individually in a catalog record then you would follow the rules appropriate to that material.


2.4.1: “If the material being described is a reproduction, record the details about the reproduction, including the date(s) of  reproduction, if known, in the Scope and Content Element (3.1.7).”


Comment: I think if this date is buried in the Scope and Content it is misleading to the person who is looking at this description. It should really be part of the date element for many people just scan titles and dates and if this information is buried in the S&C they will not realize their error until they see the item.


For example: Unknown soldier’s Civil War diary, 1861-1864. (WHS File 1861 September 4)

Summary:         A typewritten copy of a diary of Civil War experiences by an unnamed soldier whose parents lived in Manitowoc, Wis. The diary relates the soldier’s experiences, apparently as an engineer or sapper, in Kentucky, Mississippi (especially at Vicksburg), and Tennessee. The writer’s identity or unit cannot be identified with any certainty, although he may have been part of a Missouri regiment.


When a search is done on Civil War diaries the list shows just the dates of the original compilation and not the date of the copy. (Of course these rules are covered in DCRM(MSS))


Rather this would be more helpful: Unknown soldier's Civil War diary, 1861-1864, typewritten copy 20th century.


I do agree with the second part of the exclusions about copies available elsewhere.



Comment: add dates of compilation? See comment above about dates of record keeping activity.



Comment: Suggest changing “When recording multiple date types, explain each in the S&C Element (3.1)” to explain each in a note. In some cases this information might be better served in a general note than in the S&C. Or perhaps “explain each in a general note (7.1) or in the S&C Element (3.1).”


Footnote 27: “MARC based systems will allow only one date type,”

Comment: this is not entirely true. In the fixed fields it can be marked as date of reproduction and original, and in the title element the creation dates can become part of the devised title while the dates of reproduction could go into the 245 $f or 260 $c.



Comment: You could point people to DCRM(MSS) on how to deal with these different types of dates rather than AACR2.



Comment: BTW I love this rule, so much more helpful. But I do think there should be an option to add a note about how frequently more materials come in and that they should be pointed to Chapter 7 on notes.



Comment: The only problem with this is when there is that one item in family papers, collector or researcher that falls wildly outside the date range. While of course you can always do bulk dates it seems odd to have inclusive dates of 1659-1978 when everything except one item is from 1960-1978. Especially when the title of the collection is the John Smith papers and John Smith lived from 1920-1978. But then it looks like this is covered in 2.4.11 …


General  Comment: do we want rules to give exact starting and ending dates such as for a diary or account book? 1861 April 25-1863 March 5



Comment: Would be nice to have an example for century: 1900s or 20th century? Or is there no preference, just to be internally consistent?


What about dates where the exact year is unknown but the rest has been supplied on the item such as June 2, 189_?


What about when only month and/or day is known but not year? Better to express a circa/approximate year with or without the month and day?


2.4.15 and 2.4.16

Comment: I think it would be good to at least have some language stating that especially at the collection level it is important to at least make an estimated century date, whereas further in a contents list it would/could be more acceptable to record undated especially if it is believed that the item falls within the collection dates or series dates otherwise if it is believed to fall outside the dates of the other materials in the collection that it would be strongly encouraged to supply some date.


Footnote 31

Comment: expression of dates as all numerals is discouraged … although in the encoding in EAD it may be while the display is not. For example “<unitdate normal”19060317”>1906 March 17</unitdate>


Examples: 245 10 $a Wallis H. Warner papers, $f 1884-1964, $g bulk 1920-1963.

Comment: Typically this would be $f 1884-1964 $g (bulk 1920-1963) (see APPM 1.1B5 example at bottom of p. 15) So no comma after $f dates and parenthesis around bulk dates.


2.5 Extent Element


Purpose and scope: “If the description of particular media or individual items requires more detail … see specific chapters in AACR2 or the medium specific rules indicated in the Introduction to Part I and Appendix B.” 

Comment: Since AACR2 is on the way out why not name DCRM series here?


Examples p. 32:

Comment: All of the MARC examples put the term of measurement or material in the $f while it is perfectly expectable to have it without. See http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/bd300.html


2.6 Name of Creator(s) Element


Comments: Needs to be stated here what to do when there are more than one.


Need to state here that when the housing repository is the creator of an intentionally assembled collection that there may not be (or will not be) a creator element, although there may be subject access to personal, family and corporate names or additional access to associated names such as former owners, authors of specific parts of the collection, etc.


Need input on what to do when the creator is unknown, known by a first name or by initials.


LIZ Comment on Chapter 2.6 (Name of Creator(s) Element):

DACS refers here and elsewhere to identifying the roles played by persons, families, or corporate bodies vis-a-vis the resource. As far as I can see, the only place the role is explicitly identified is in the Administrative/Biographical area. Would DACS consider offering guidelines on including role information in access points, as relator terms (MARC subfield $e),  e.g.


Smith, John, $e collector

Smith, John, $e cartographer (for an archival collection of maps)

Smith, John, $e former owner


2.7 Administrative/Biographical History Element


Comment: I think this section is combining 2 separate things. One is the history of the materials themselves, the provenance and the accession by the holding institution and then the other is the history of the people, family or corporation/organization(s) of whose papers they are. Administrative history <acqinfo> and <custodhist> or 541 and 561 vs. Biographical/Organizational History <bioghist> or 545. And there is not much insight on either of these. Although I now see that this does match ISAD(G) 3.2.2; I think I had this confused with 5.1 Custodial History. Perhaps the word Administrative history is misleading.


3.1 General note (Bridger): are there separate elements for S&C and Abstracts?   No, yet they are talked about and treated as two distinct things. While they are similar and many times the same thing.


Chapter 3 (Content and Structure Elements)


3.1. General: If we can’t distinguish between scope and content, why are we still calling it “scope and content”?

3.1 General note (Bridger): are there separate elements for S&C and Abstracts?   No, yet they are talked about and treated as two distinct things. While they are similar and many times the same thing.

3.1. “to judge its potential relevance” to WHAT?
3.1.4: penultimate and last examples are for items (plat map and letter). next version of DACS could have a note here to refer people to DCRM(MSS)  for cataloging materials at the item-level, should the cataloger have a desire to do so.
3.2: Somewhere, this needs to at least mention the concept “series.” All of the examples assume the use of series and subseries, yet the rules speak only of “aggregations.” 


Chapter 4 (Conditions of Access and Use Elements)


4.2.5 Examples are unclear, as there is no mention of limited access or restricted use in the condition description, it is not clear to user what this element is doing except describing the physical condition of the materials, not access to the materials (seems to create confusion between access to the intellectual content and access to the physical item)
4.4.9: should read: “If the materials being described are known to be protected by copyright…
4.6.2 should specify that the completeness, or incompleteness, of the finding aid should always be mentioned

Liz Comment on 4.6.5, Published Descriptions

How about providing an example of MARC coding for a citation to a description published in standard lists, e.g.


510   $a Ricci. Census,$c vol.1, p. 857, no. 4


Chapter 5 (Acquisition and Appraisal Elements)


5.1. unclear. It probably should read “from the time it left the possession of the creator until the time it came into the possession of the owner from whom the repository received it.” I know that sounds confusing, but it is equally confusing to have the definition of the element read: “from the time it left the possession of the creator until it was acquired by the repository” and then to have the following rule exclude the source from which it was acquired by the repository.


5.1 Custodial history

Comment (Bridger): This section should mention or give guidance on what to do with a single collection with multiple provenance information for different parts of the collection. What I am mainly thinking of are artificial collections/collections of materials brought together from different sources by a repository.


5.1.2 need more examples of source of information for this element.

Liz Comment on 5.2. Immediate Source of Acquisition Element :

There is no mention here of former accession or inventory numbers. Former numbers are very useful identifiers for individual manuscripts (which are often identified primarily by their inventory numbers), in cases where a manuscript has been transferred to another repository, or the accession number assigned by the repository changes. I’m not sure this applies to larger groups of material, but it might. Maybe they could be covered under:


7.1.6. “If appropriate at the file or item level of description, make a note of any important numbers borne by the unit being described.”


Although “borne” suggests they appear on the item, which may not be the case. "Borne by or formerly assigned to" might do it.

5.3 strike about the rationale for; actually this is 5.2.4
5.3: first sentence of "commentary" should be edited to read "Not all materials offered to, or acquired by, a repository MERIT permanent retention" (not merits)
5.4. strike second sentence (“An accrual is…:”) This is glossary material, and the definition in the glossary differs slightly. 


Chapter 6 (Related Materials Elements)


6.2.3.: Dead link in the 4th example. Is it this instead: http://www.mnhs.org/library/Christie/intropage.html


6.2.5.: Should the 1st MARC example read: 530 bb $3 Diaries $a available on microfilm for use in repository only.

EOK: Yes (unless the collection consists solely of diaries, in which case there is no need for a $3, it should just read: $a Available on microfilm ...)


6.3.5.: Uncertain about the last example, "Motion picture films and sound and video recordings transferred to Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division." From the description, it sounds like this has the same provenance as the rest of the collection but the MARC encoded example gives 544 bb so I'm not sure. Does this example go here? Is there an element that covers the location of various parts of the collection?


Chapter 7 (Note Elements)


7.1.2.: First example: Does this belong in 6.3 Related Archival Materials Element? If so, it would also affect the first example on p. 79. 


Chapter 8 (Description Control Elements)


P. 82: As DACS is now defined as a value in the Description Convention Source Codes, remove the asterisk from the penultimate example and the asterisked note, "*Note: DACS has not yet been defined as a value in the MARC Code List for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions." 


Part II

Chapter 9 (Identifying Creators) --"rules for determining which entities need to be documented as creators" (p. 89, Commentary para. 2)


p. 89, Commentary para. 1: repeats points made in 2.6, which makes you wonder why this chapter couldn't have just been integrated with 2.6.


p. 90, "Identifying Creators," Commentary includes what seems as if it ought to be a cataloging rule (a supplied title may contain multiple creators' names if they are persons or families, but only one creator can be named in the title of a collection of records of a corporate body). This is a significant point, but seems buried here.



9.10 (p.91): The examples could be clearer. One thing that makes them confusing is that they don't show where else the information on creators appears in the finding aid if one follows the option not to record it at the series, file, or item level, respectively, so the examples make it look as if the archivist were being given the option to omit the creator information entirely. Also, in the 3rd example, if Gardiner Greene Hubbard is the creator of the biography of him, wouldn't it be an autobiography? If it's not an autobiography, wouldn't its creator be somebody else?


Another thing that makes Chapter 9 harder to absorb is that it's separated from its context. The creators it refers to are to be recorded in the Name of Creators Element, described in 2.6; and the rules for formulating the names are in Chapters 12-14. While I can understand the separation between rules for description and rules for access points (a separation also present in AACR2 and APPM), it's less clear why the authors felt it necessary to separate the rules for identifying creators from the Name of Creators Element. So a cataloger has to look in three different places to figure out what to put in the 100 or 110 field? Seems more complicated than necessary. I'm sure there's a good rationale for this structure, but what is it? ISAD(G) doesn't have a split like the one between Parts I and II of DACS.


Examples of Encoding: very useful, but why is this here rather than directly following 2.6, like the encoding examples that directly follow the other elements of the description in Part I?


Chapter 10 (Administrative/Biographical History) --very informative, much more detailed than APPM 1.7B1


p. 93, para. 1 last line: should add the number of the Name of Creator(s) Element (2.6)

"nominal access points"--I think the phrase "name access points" would be clearer. "Nominal" has the connotation of "in name only," which just obscures the meaning here.


Again, the separation between Parts I and II of DACS seems artificial here. Essentially what 2.7 does is to refer people to Chapter 10 to find out how to proceed. Why make them go someplace else to find out?


Chapter 11 (Authority Records) --gives instructions for creating an archival authority record according to ISAAR(CPF)


Liz Comment on Chapter 11, Authority Record:

This chapter of DACS anticipates RDA (Resource Description and Access), in that, unlike AACR,  it gives instructions on how to formulate authority records, including much useful biographical or historical information, instead of just telling users how to formulate headings for authorized and variant forms, as AACR did. DACS is less granular than RDA, though, and might benefit from incorporating some of the data elements introduced by RDA,.such as gender, associated language, etc.


TYPO in Chapter 12. Form of Names for Persons and Families, Commentary:

 “Once a personal or family name has been chosen for recording in a Name of Creator(s) Element, for inclusion in an archival authority record, or as a nominal access point, the form of that name must be standardized.  The purpose of this chapter is to provide rules for the standardized form of the names of persons and families. Regularization of names is critical to the formulation of consistent citations to archival materials and, particularly in online environments, to the retrieval of all relevant records.  Therefore it is important for archivists to use the authority {TYPO FOR “authorized”} form of a name, if one exists, from the Library of Congress Authorities.”


11.7, on parallel forms of the name: a holdover from the CUSTARD project? (MN)


General comment on chapter 11 (MN): It would be very helpful to the beginning cataloger to have some examples of archival authority records among the examples in Appendix D. Otherwise, instructions such as "record as a related name ..." (in 11.7) and "record as a variant ..." (in 11.8) seem abstract, and it might not be clear to the beginner how to implement them. (Actually there's a sample authority record at the end of Chapter 11, but still, it would be handy to have one in Appendix D as well.)


Rules 11.9-11.10: it would be helpful to specify in the rule that these other forms of name are to be recorded as variant names, especially in 11.9 (where the examples don't specify how the names are to be treated).


General comment on Chapter 11 (MN): it looks like an adaptation of ISAAR (CPF), structured according to AACR2. Now I see why DACS has a Part II: it probably would have been too much to try to present the info on construction of an archival authority record and, at the same time, rules for formulating name headings.


It would be helpful to have an example of an archival authority record for a corporate body, too.


Question: What do we do if some libraries adopt RDA and others don't? I suppose DACS could follow DCRM(G)'s practice of including alternative rules for RDA implementers. The proliferation of standards is creating a bit of a murky situation, though, isn't it? The authors of DACS have done a real service to the profession by formulating the rules in the light of FRBR, ISAD(G), and ISAAR(CPF), and taking both MARC and EAD formats into account. Still, Parts II and III of DACS rely heavily on AACR2, so if RDA is generally adopted, DACS will need a major overhaul.


Part III 

Liz General Comment On Part III:

Part III of DACS basically reproduces the sections of AACR2 that deal with the formulation of personal, corporate, and geographic names, and adds new rules for family names, which were not covered in AACR: This was done to promote retrieval in an integrated catalog. Will this section be affected by the implementation of RDA (Resource Description and Access), if indeed RDA is implemented? RDA is not hugely different from AACR in its formulation of name headings, but there are differences: preference for the fullest form of name, elimination of most abbreviations (“born” for “b.”, “died” for “d.”, “approximately” for “ca.”). Also, the RDA rules are structured quite differently from AACR, in terms of organization and numbering, and they combine instructions for information that goes into an authority record with instructions on how to formulate a name as an access point (DACS devotes separate chapters to formulation of name headings and creation of authority records). Does DACS envision retaining Part III as is, retaining the current structure but rewriting parts of it to conform with RDA, or adopting the RDA structure wholesale?


Liz Comment on 12.29, Family names:

AACR did not include rules for formulating access points for family names, so DACS added a section to cover this. It is very similar to the rules in the LC Subject Cataloging Manual for devising headings for families for use in subject indexing. RDA now devotes a whole chapter to formalation of family names as access points. The RDA rules are more detailed than DACS (e.g. they include a data element for type of family, such as dynasty or clan); RDA also provides a lot of guidance on how to break conflicts, by adding dates, geogoraphic areas, or names of prominent family members. Will DACS want to retain the existing rules, or adopt the RDA rules?




Appendix A (Glossary)


Aggregation: Term seems to apply to everything from a large records group to a file. Needs clarification at least
Arrangement: I realize this is from Pearce-Moses, but does anyone use “arrangement” in definition 1?
Formal title: definition should be more comprehensive and should be drafted in collaboration with DCRM(MSS). DCRM(MSS) has a working (*not final*) definition for Formal title. The definition in the two standards should be the same. Also, it is not accurate that a formal title always "prominently" appears in or on an item/collection
Inventory: I would go back to Pearce-Moses on this: n. ~ 1. A list of things. – 2. Description · A finding aid that includes, at a minimum, a list of the series in a collection. – 3. Records management · The process of surveying the records in an office, typically at the series level.
--> Add entry for "Item-level description" and at some point mention the existence of DCRM(MSS) 


Appendix B (Companion Standards)


P. 209: Graphic Materials: The Parker book will soon be replaced by Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics). (For more information: http://www.rbms.info/committees/bibliographic_standards/dcrm/dcrmg/dcrmg.html).  


Add mention of the forthcoming Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Manuscripts) for item-level description? 


P. 210, top two entries: The IASA Cataloguing Rules: Is this the correct link? http://www.iasa-web.org/iasa-cataloguing-rules


P. 210: Objects: Cataloging Cultural Objects has been published: Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images. Chicago: American Library Association, 2006. There is also an online CCO Commons at http://www.vrafoundation.org/ccoweb/index.htm


P. 210: Thesauri: Art & Architecture Thesaurus: the link in DACS will get you there but here is the new link: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/index.html


P. 210: Categories for the Description of Works of Art: direct link: http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/cdwa/index.html


P. 210: Medical Subject Headings: Appears to have been updated in 2010.


P. 211: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names: direct link: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/tgn/index.html


P. 211: Union List of Artists' Names: direct link: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabularies/ulan/index.html


P. 212: MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data: Including Guidelines for Content Designation: Title has been shortened to MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data. The link provides access to both the full and concise versions.


Appendix C: Crosswalks


P. 213, ISAAR(CPF): a final version is available at http://www.icacds.org.uk/eng/standards.htm


P. 213, MARC 21: the link takes you to the overall MARC 21 website which is not confined to the concise edition.


Table C1: APPM to DACS

  • P. 214: 1.5B in APPM is called "Statement of extent", not "Extent"
  • P. 214: APPM 1.7B15 Preferred Citation would map to DACS 7.1.5 Citation
  • P. 215: APPM 3 Headings for Persons. The DACS entry should read "12 Form of Names for Persons and Families" not "... People and Families"


Table C2: ISAD(G) to DACS

Nothing to add.


Table C3: ISAAR(CPF) to DACS

Comments are based on the "Final, 1 April 2004" 2nd edition of ISAAR(CPF): http://www.icacds.org.uk/eng/ISAAR%28CPF%292ed.pdf

  • P. 217: Change ISAAR(CPF) 5.1.2 to read: Authorized form(s) of name
  • P. 217: ISAAR(CPF) 5.1.6: the DACS match reads: Identifiers for corporate bodies [not names]
  • P. 217: ISAAR(CPF) 5.2.5: the DACS column should read: 10.21, 10.30 Occupation, life, activities, Functions
  • P. 217: Change ISAAR(CPF) 5.4.3 to read: Rules and/or conventions [plural]
  • P. 217: ISAAR(CPF) 5.4.6
    • Change the ISAAR(CPF) 5.4.6 entry to read: Dates of creation, revision or deletion
    • Change the DACS column entry to read: Date(s) of authority record creation
  • P. 218: ISAAR(CPF) 6.1 first word is: Identifiers [was lacking the "r"]
  • P. 218: Change ISAAR(CPF) 6.2 to read: Types of related resources [plural]
  • P. 218: ISAAR(CPF) 6.4: In the DACS column, delete "and/" to read: Dates of related resources or relationships 


Table C4: DACS to APPM

  • P. 219: DACS 2.2 "Name and Location of Repository" is missing.


Table C5: DACS to EAD and MARC

  • Uncertain about p. 221, last two rows, EAD column: what do "See 2.6" and "See 2.7" refer to?


Table C6: DACS to ISAD(G)

  • P. 222: DACS 2.2 "Name and Location of Repository" is missing.
  • P. 222: DACS 11 is called "Authority records" not "Authority control"
  • P. 222: DACS 2.6: in the ISAD(G) column, include the "(s)" to read: 3.2.1 Name of creator(s)
  • P. 222: DACS 8.1.5 "Archivist and date" would also map to ISAD(G) 3.7.1


Table C7: DACS to ISAAR(CPF)

Comments are based on the "Final, 1 April 2004" 2nd edition of ISAAR(CPF): http://www.icacds.org.uk/eng/ISAAR%28CPF%292ed.pdf

  • P. 223: DACS 10.16: in DACS, the caption reads: Name(s)
  • P. 223: DACS 10.19: in DACS, the caption reads: Place(s) of residence
  • P. 223: DACS 10.24 says it maps to ISAAR(CPF) 5.2.9 Other significant information. There is no 5.2.9.
  • P. 223: DACS 10.35: in DACS, the caption reads: Name(s) of Chief Officers
  • P. 223: DACS 11.14: remove "the" from the ISAAR(CPF) 5.3.3 entry
  • P. 223: DACS 11.15: remove "the" from the ISAAR(CPF) 5.3.2 entry
  • P. 224: DACS 11.17: remove "the" from the ISAAR(CPF) 5.3.3 entry
  • p. 224: DACS 11.18: in DACS, the caption is singular: Repository Code
  • P. 224: DACS 11.29: Correct the typo to read "Types of related resources" not "Types of resource resources"
  • P. 224: DACS 11.31: Delete "and/" to match the caption of p. 112 of DACS: Dates of related resources or relationships



Appendix D (Full EAD and MARC21 Examples) 

Examples provided in EAD and then in MARC21: personal papers, family papers, organizational records, and a collection (what used to be called an artificial collection). These seem very helpful, especially the annotations referring people to particular DACS rules. The EAD examples would be easier to read if they put in an extra space at the end of each major section of the finding aid, just to make things clearer. A sentence could be added at the beginning of Appendix D to explain that the extra spaces are purely for visual clarity, not required by EAD.


Minor question about the 300 field, p. 269: wouldn't a 300 with two ways of describing the extent be done as 1 $f v. (147 p.), rather than 1 $fv. : 147 p.? (see rule 2.5.7)


Throughout the MARC21 examples, a first indicator will need to be added in 506 fields. Also, 555 first indicator is 0 if the note is about the finding aid (e.g. on p. 264). Also on p. 264: 545 first indicator should be 0 for an individual. Throughout, 541 fields will need first indicator 0 or 1.



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