Aranzazu Lafuente Urién: Archival authority control: an introduction to Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (EAC-CPF)

published under CC-BY-SA license


The Archival theory and practice have always recognized the importance of the context of the production of documents. The ISAAR (CPF) and EAC-CPF are standards whose primary aims are the formalisation of the name of the creator as the primary key for the international exchange. How has the process of archival authorities developed? How have these standards evolved until today? What are the relationships between archival authority control and librarian authority control? How they match together, what are their differences, which elements are the same, how do they converge today? This text has tried to analyze and explain the process of the development of the concept and practice of control of archival authorities, which has been developed in the past 25 years, in parallel with the process and evolution of standards and conceptual models of libraries. It explains this evolution chronologically to the current state of standards today, especially to the Encoded Archival context for corporate bodies, Persons and families - EAC-CPF.



"To appreciate a document, it is essential to know exactly where it was created, the framework of what process, to what end, for whom, when and how it was received by the addressee, and how it came in our hands. Such knowledge is possible only to the degree to which the whole of the documents, which accompany it, have been kept intact, quite separate from and without confusion with documents of different origins…"[1]

In 1992, in the Statement of Principles Regarding Archival Description, point 1.2 defines the purpose of archival description as: "identify and explain the context and content of archival material in order to promote its accessibility".[2]

Today, the standards of description, its utility for exchange and international cooperation, for the preservation of the documentary heritage and contemporary fond management, seem to be established and accepted among the archival community. However, the use of access points and control of authorities system is relatively recent, and in many cases it is still observed as alien to the world of archives, or as interference in the field of libraries. In other cases, it is simply considered as something that is not useful with the existence of tools and free text search engines provided by computer systems. In fact, there is some confusion of the concepts and poor or little information about the objectives of international standards, in particular the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR (CPF)) and the most recent Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF).

Information about the archival context is something specific to the archival theory and practice. The knowledge of creators (in its broadest concept, such as authors, compilers, accumulators or creators of fonds) is one of the pillars of the archives, the expression of the principles of provenance and Respect des fonds. Records cannot be understood very well without knowing the context of their creation: who created the record, what kind of functions caused these records to be created or their association activities.[3]


Standards development in the archival world

The name of the creator was considered by the International Council on Archives Ad Hoc Commission on Descriptive Standards (ICA/DDS) as the primary key for the international exchange. The commission's decision to take on a standard description for creator of archival fonds tackles at the same time the topic of authority control, as yet unfamiliar with the archivists, for the names of those creators.

In the current international environment, archival authority control, based on the analysis of the context of creation of fonds and the formalisation of the name of the creator, is regulated in four ways:

  • Content standards
  • Structure standards
  • Encoding standards
  • Data value standards

The content standards must be regulated at the national level, and the national bodies responsible for standardisation (National Authority Agency) should be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of national standards and the management of the authorised forms of the name for the international exchange, using national or regional data value standards, at least in the beginning.

The ISAAR (CPF) is a structure standard. It was developed by the International Council on Archives (ICA) between 1992 and 2004, the first release being in 1996, and the latest in 2004.

Encoding standards are developed to facilitate data exchange. They are based on XML interchange formats. Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (EAC-CPF) rules, whose latest version of 2010, is being accompanied by the development of conceptual models, ontologies and systems Linked Open Data (LOD) for exchange in the framework of continuous development.

All these standards, are orientated and aimed at the control of archival authorities, have the principle of provenance and the respect des fonds as the main argument. The objective is to provide information from the creators of archival materials to determine the line that sets archives apart from other disciplines such as libraries or museums.

"The invaluable insight of the principle of provenance is the relationships it reveals between creating activity and information created by organisations. If the archivist's use of provenance in arrangement and description - which established links backwards from records to creating activities - is reversed, a potential for a practical and powerful means of gaining access to a managing information exists […] In summary view provenance information as a provider of retrieval access point; establish provenance authority records; rigorously separate authorities from description …"[4]

These words, written in 1986, are visionary and decades later would develop archival practice towards a progressive and unstoppable international collaboration, the international consensus on the establishment of standards of description, international exchange, all favored by the huge development of the information technologies, by the Internet as a global platform for information-sharing and interoperability and by the approach to the practices standards and tools for libraries and museums in common platforms, such as Europeana.

In this process, the recognition of the importance of the context of the production of the documents was one of the most significant steps. The 1994 edition of the General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)), in the description of area's context, is provided for the possibility that information about the name of the producer could be organised in separate authority files (3.2). In 1996, point 1.2 of the ISAAR (CPF), acknowledged that although the context information could be integrated into the description of the archival unit, it could also be treated independently by combining it with other elements of the description. In this case, information on the context, if done separately from the units of description, has more value for the exchange of information. Thus different holdings - national or international - sharing fonds with the same creator can exchange information more easily, establishing relationships among them. The name of the creator happens to be considered the main access point to retrieve context information. This exchange can be conducted only if the name of the producer is controlled under authority control.

These two rules introduce new elements:

  • Context information separated from units of description,
  • Name of the creator as primary access point,
  • Archival authority control (library and information science applied to archives) and authority records.

We now ask ourselves: When are these new ideas developed? Why? In what context?


Looking back in history

Since the birth of the ICA in 1950, normalisation-oriented programs were undertaken. The most representative work was that by the Committee on Terminology, with the publication in 1964 of the "Lexicon of Archive Terminology"[5] (known as "Elsevier's") that was superseded by the publication of the "Dictionary of Archival Terminology" in 1984[6]. However, we have to go to the 1980s, in the United States of America and Canada, to the work of archivists working in libraries or managing personal and family archives in university archives, or manuscript divisions in libraries.


Archival standards in the USA

In those years the second version of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) was being reviewed. The adaptation of the contents of Chapter 21, dedicated to the manuscripts, caused the appearance of opinions against the use of these rules, in the forced application of rules for libraries regardless of the object, the creator or media. One of the critics was Steven Hensen, who was Senior Manuscript Cataloguer at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1986. He explains how these steps were fundamental to the development of the manual of archival "Archives, Personal Papers and Manuscripts" (APPM)[7] in the following years and its publication in 1983. The great success of the APPM manual among the archival community was the recognition of the primacy of the principle of provenance in the archival description and, the need to establish criteria for the standardisation of the name of the creator. This manual includes, for the first time, families as archival creator.

"First, APPM recognises the primacy of provenance in archival description. This principle holds that the significance of archival materials is heavily dependent on the context of their creation, and that the arrangement and description of these materials should be directly related to their original purpose and function. This principle translates into a basic rule for choice of main entry in which archival materials are entered "on the basis of provenance, under the name of the person, family, or corporate body chiefly responsible for its creation. This rule is fully consistent with the AACR2 principle that bibliographic materials are entered under the entity "chiefly responsible for the intellectual or artistic content of a work." It also translates into a heavier emphasis on the use of notes in archival cataloguing, since it is difficult to capture the complexities of substance and provenance in the sort of brief formulaic encryption which characterises most bibliographic description. Moreover, the use of notes is more consistent with archival traditions of subject analysis.

Initially, the entry of bibliographic information about archival and manuscript materials into the national bibliographic databases was viewed with suspicion and hostility; it was seen, in fact, as a kind of Trojan horse or virus which would somehow compromise the purity of these library catalogues - at the very least, these archival cataloguing records just "looked funny" and were somehow distasteful."[8]


Parallel path in Australia, Canada & the UK

Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have travelled a parallel path. The Australian "Keeping Archives" was published in 1989. In Canada, the Canadian working group for archival description standards published in 1990 the "Rules for Archival Description" (RAD), the official standards for archival description in Canada developed after wide consultation and experiment. At the same time the first edition of the "Manual for Archival Description" (MAD) of Margaret Procter and Michael Cook, appeared in 1986; the second edition was published in 1990.[9] All these works seek to be both content standards and structure, but the English MAD also was a proposing standard for structuring finding aids.

The RAD, as the American Describing archives: a Content Standard (DACS) as we see later, include a statement of principle for the description at the beginning of the rules. In this case the P.04 reads "Creators of archival material must be described. A description of the functions and activities of the creator(s) […] is important to understanding the context in which they were created". The standards contain rules for presenting access point in chapter 21: provenance access point (at different levels of descriptions), author access point and other non-subjects access points.[10]

In 1998, the International Council on Archives convened in Ottawa (Canada) a meeting of experts, which may be considered as the point of departure for standardisation at the international level. It is very interesting to see the disparate points of departure between the countries participating in the meeting reflected in the proceedings, published a few years later under the title "Toward International Descriptive Standards for Archives" (1992)[11]. It included representatives from Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Malaysia, Britain, France, Canada, the US, and Germany. Nine resolutions were adopted, establishing among other things that the development, implementation, and maintenance of descriptive standards would be a "major priority" in the future planning strategies for the ICA. The ICA/DDS was created and met for the first time in December 1989.[12]

Between 1990 and 1996 the ICA/DDS produced three documents. These three important works need to be considered together for a better understanding and use.[13] The documents are:

  • 1993: Statement of Principles regarding Archival Description, adopted in October 1990 and revised/approved in 1992. The commission members agreed that their first priority would be to develop a basic set of theoretical principles similar in intent to the "Paris Principles"[14] that have provided guidance to the international library community since 1961.
  • 1994: ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (Final ICA approved version).
  • 1995: ISAAR (CPF) International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families. Final ICA approved version.

The most innovative aspect include the adoption of concepts borrowed from the library environment such as access points and authority control, although initially these were not widely accepted.[15]


Come together for international collaboration: ISAAR (CPF)

Between 1996 and 2004, a process of revision of ISAAR (CPF) was undertaken. The ICA Committee on Descriptive Standards (ICA/CDS), successor of ICA/DDS, worked in conjunction with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions(IFLA) working group on minimal level authority and the International Standard Authority Data Number (ISADN) Records, mapping the different elements of the first version of ISAAR (CPF) to give consistency to the standard.[16] The documentation about the creator of archival materials that is captured in records based on ISAAR (CPF) is comparable in some respects to library authority records. Such archival authority records differ from their bibliographic counterparts in the functional roles they play in the descriptive process and in the nature and the extent of the data they contain. For instance, archival authority records need to make more extensive use of the "other information elements" than the traditional authority in libraries.

The most important change in this second and final version of ISAAR (CPF) was the introduction of concepts taken from entity-relationship (the entity-relationship model, based on the most widespread tools for creating representation models by computer scientific). The expert group concluded that the old conceptual model about creators, associated with a single fond only as “one-to-one relationship”, had become obsolete when fonds exist in archives that were either divided or assembled, scattered or merged for different reasons. The relationship between the creator and its fonds is rather marked by "many-to-many relationships".[17]

ISAAR (CPF) is mainly a tool for the authority control of the names of the creator of archives, and therefore a tool to standardise as an "authorised form of the name". It simply refers to the national rules of the subjects (already existence in libraries) or to create them ex-novo. As a tool to optimise access and search, ISAAR (CPF) has similarities and concurrences with the authority control of authors in library catalogues, but looking more broadly than the single author of a work, or demonstration purpose and the requirements and information required to document the context of creation. The area of identity is almost similar to libraries, but caters for the archival authorities' needs of dates of existence, institutional history, functions and activities, mandates and legal sources, internal structure or historical context, that are not necessary to be included in library authorities.

Relationship area is without doubt, the most powerful tool of the standard, and includes the influence of the fledgling EAC-CPF standard. It implies the possibility of relationships between creators, as well as widens the scope of relations with other sources (museums, libraries, and other resources), as well as forms of the name standard with other rules. The field of rules, standards and sources become essential for the exchange of information. But for this exchange, what necessary is the establishment of the normalised form of the name, using the model of control by authorities of libraries.


Encoding ISAAR (CPF) with EAC-CPF

While the rules of structure developed by the ICA followed their course of review, a parallel process in the North American environment started, and American Archivists began developing encoded data standards. At the same time that ICA was developing ISAAR (CPF), there was an American effort to develop an SGML-based prototype standard for Archival Record description. In 1998 version 1.0 of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) was released. In the same year, it was extended to complement the needs or archival community for creator and context description, towards the Encoded Archival Context (EAC).[18] Between 1999 to 2004, a beta version of this standard was developed.

In parallel with the process of review of the first ISAAR (CPF), other projects that have been the key to understand the further process of the rules of structure, content and exchange, arose. Considering its subsequent impact in the EAC-CPF development, the most important project was the project called CUSTARD (Canadian-U.S. Task Force on ARchival Description). As envisaged, the project would produce a content standard that would replace APPM and possibly the Canadian RAD, accommodate all the elements of ISAD(G) and ISAAR (CPF) and be applicable to all types of archival descriptions.[19] For two years they worked together and a draft of rules was developed. However, the differences between the two communities led them to temporarily leave the project. But these drafts have been the starting point of two important works of reference on the content of descriptions: a second version of the RAD (RAD2) in 2008 by Canadians. The Americans published the DACS in 2004.

In some key respects both standards have been a major breakthrough in the archival field in the Anglo-Saxon and European traditions. They break with the Anglo-Saxon archive tradition and practice that did not consider as "records" those not generated by public institutions, leaving out those generated or created by individuals or families. This important change is substantial for the development of the ISAAR (CPF). The DACS rule six says: "The principles of archival description apply equally to records created by corporate bodies, individuals or families"[20].

We also add what DACS indicates in the principle eight about the creators of files: the creators of archival materials, as well as the materials themselves, must be described. Moreover, the functions or activities of the creator(s) that produced the archival materials must be described. Finally the standardised access point must also provide for the relationships between successive creators, DACS includes rules for providing all of this information in a consistent way. Part II is named: Describing creators. DACS includes rules for identifying creators, the consistence formation of names of persons, families and corporate bodies, and the rules for documenting relationships between creating entities. The same principles are expressed in the Canadians' RAD2, in this case in P4.0 "creators of archival materials must be described". P4.1 states: "Description applies equally to records created by individuals or families and by corporate bodies"[21].

Between 2005 to 2009, while DACS were being discussed, librarians were leading a parallel process reviewing and adapting AACR2, towards Resource Description and Access (RDA) standards (see below). The publication of this new data model is an approach of libraries, to archives and museums. It leads to a review of the DACS process and efforts to align it with these new standards for libraries and converge with the museums'. The end result was the development of Encoded Archival Context, its adoption by the Society of American Archivists as an encoding standard and the need to provide guidance on the creation of the archival authority records.

This approach has been caused by the digital world that made it necessary for the communities that manage cultural heritage to exchange data. Interoperability, convergence between conceptual models and data exchange that was already quite developed, in the libraries' realm, became increasingly a crucial requirement.

At this point one may wonder, what is the libraries' model? How has it came to be developed?


Library standards and authority control

Since the 1960s, librarians developed instruments of international standardisation through the PGI, UNESCO and IFLA, aware that they could only face the increase in the volume of work and users with available resources  with standardised and cooperative work. Cataloguers in libraries assign each subject - such an author, book, corporation - a particular unique heading term which is consistently, uniquely and unambiguously used to describe all reference to that same subject.

The world of libraries has made a significant and long journey towards international standardisation during the last fifty years. Its main purpose was to promote the exchange and use of compatible bibliographic records among libraries especially national bibliographic agencies, ensuring a broad consensus in agencies and institutions worldwide[22]:

  • The establishment of the principles of cataloguing (the first in 1961, known as the Paris principles, which have been revised and updated recently in 2009: The Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (ICP)).
  • Developed international programs in the development and maintenance of bibliographical standards: Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) in 1973, and International MARC Programme.
  • Developed standards: the first, the International Standard Bibliographical Description (ISBD) (from 1969 to 1974), established a set of stipulations for the selection, transcription, arrangement and punctuation of all data elements in a bibliographical description.
  • Developed content standards (AACR, AACR2 and the recent 2010 RAD), exchange standards (MARC and UNIMARC), authority control and standards on authorities': Guidelines for Authority and Reference Entries (GARE) in 1983 and its review in 2001 named Guidelines for Authority Records and References (GARR), and Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries (GSARE) in 1993.
  • Developed conceptual models and requirements: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) in 1990, Functional Requirements for Authority Data: A Conceptual Model (FRAD) in 2001, and Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD) in 2010.
  • Establishing models of normalisation of identifiers, like ISADN.
  • Applying Modelling techniques (taken from the world of computing) and the entity-relation method.

The purpose of archival description and library cataloguing is the same, namely to provide access to materials. Although the functions are analogous, the processes are not the same. Librarians divide the process of cataloguing in two separated components: descriptive (transcribing elements from the work itself in order to identify the author, title, edition and publication information of a work) and subject-related (assign subject term from controlled vocabularies list to provide access to the content or lead users to relevant works of a particular topic of interest). Archivists have never separated description activities; we provide description about creator and content in the different level on description in the same step.

In the beginning (Principles of Paris, 1961) the objectives of a library catalogue were to enable users to locate[23]:

  • A particular work by author or title
  • All the works of an author
  • All editions of a work
  • All works in a particular subject

In summary, successful access to materials in library catalogues require that the choice and formation of access point be consistent, using authority control. Authority control is a concept that refers to the regulation of terminology used as access points in catalogue records by distinguishing terms, showing relationships and document decisions, to record the choice of heading used such as authorised heading, the cross reference from variant forms and the relationship of the headings to other headings in the file.

In the last years, authority control has been updated by the IFLA:

  • Since 2009, the International Principles of Cataloguing (ICP), where the principle number 6 refers to access points and authority records.
  • Since 2001, data structure was based on the Guidelines for Authority Records and References (GARR). This standard provides for three types of structure: the first for the authority itself, the second for reference and the third for general explanatory files.
  • Since 2009, the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), a conceptual model, has analysed the elements of authority records: entities, attributes and relationships.
  • New standards for data exchange: the UNIMARC authorities (2001) and the new Metadata Authority Description Schema in XML, better known as MADS (June 2011).

In accordance with the rules and previous models, the functions of the control authorities in Libraries with the role as Bibliographical National Agencies were also updated[24]:

  • Improvement in searches making searching more predictable.
  • Serve as a vehicle for documentary the decisions of cataloguer in the choice of access points.
  • Make easier to maintain the catalog.
  • Serve as reference tool for the cataloguing and indexing when selecting an access point, giving more tools to cataloguers.
  • Unique, differentiated and consistent tools for the control of the access points in order to ensure consistency of records.
  • Maximisation of the library resources.

The Guidelines for Authority Records and References (GARR) added also:

  • Facilitation of international exchange and use of information about authorised headings and references.
  • Promotion of the lowering of costs of documentation, taking advantage of the work done by others, preserving national and linguistic differences in the authorised forms of headings, but with links that allow to visualise all possible national or international ways.


Conceptual models

Archives shared with libraries, at least, two of the three goals that have signed up for the GARR: international cooperation and preservation of national and linguistic particularities (through parallel forms of name or links to other resources) where national agencies serve as "unique, differentiated and consistent" access points. Librarians have also expanded the types of authority that are the subject of analysis from the classic: names, especially names of persons - also family name or corporate body - as creators, printers, recorders, performers or characters related with the process of creation, titles and uniform titles, subjects and genre/forms terms. The FRAD conceptual model identifies ten entities: person, corporate entity, work, expression, manifestation, specimen, concept, object, event and place, also adding in this latest model, family.[25]

Daniel Pitti wrote that, while the library authority records have the formalisation of the headings (authorised headings) as main objective, archival authority records not only need authority or heading control, but also biographical information or historical to explain the context.[26] In the same way the 1998 IFLA - ICA/CDS report lays seventeen essential elements in its minimal level authority record, supporting those functions with data elements and qualifiers necessary to unique identity the authority entity. While bibliographical, historical and other information are highly recommended, many bibliographical authorities limit the content to a listing of preferred and variant forms of the heading.[27] In contrast archival authority records are an integral part of the description system. However, archival authority records share many data elements with their bibliographic counterparts. So, they serve a broader function than that envisioned for library authority data and thus will be more detailed in their content.

The conclusion of this analysis of the IFLA and the ICA authority record structures, ascertains their compatibility and potential interoperability; archivists can adopt the IFLA model on authority records, but under certain conditions. Archivists need extended information about provenance in the authority record while the librarian's emphasis is on an economical method of heading control.

Conceptual models of libraries (FRBR, FRAD and FRSAR) have defined the entities, attributes, and relationships referring to entities that may be considered as the key items of interest to users and which serve as a central point for the collection of the data. It is interesting to note that the conceptual models of authority records models have already taken this on board as have museums and archives.

Until the appearance of the FRAD, concepts of authorities of libraries and archives, not only differed in the objectives (which we will discuss later), but also on the concepts and the denomination of the elements. Until 2009, librarians were referring systematically to headings (authorised headings, non-authorised headings, parallel headings etc) when referring to authority control. However, in FRAD, such headings disappear and are replaced by "form of the name", both for the authorised form and the parallel.

Archives too developed conceptual models, for example: the Spanish CNEDA[28], published in 2012, the Finnish Conceptual Model for Archival Description[29] (draft 2013), or the LOCAH project. In the case of archives, definitions of entities include the agents identified in the libraries' conceptual models of persons, institutions and families, as agents creator of fonds - whose development in the "authorised form of the name" will be constructed according to the ISAAR (CPF) – and the other entities, such as concept, object, event and place, used as access points, built in these cases through controlled languages/thesauri of subjects and places. But Archival conceptual models add also other entities as functions and mandates, needed in archival authority records.


Current activities and next steps

The International Council on Archives has a strategic plan for the years 2012-2016, include the Expert Group on Archival Description (EGAD). For the term 2012-2016, a strategy of trying to unify as far as possible in a single standard four exists standards of the ICA (ISAD(G), ISAAR (CPF), ISDF and ISDIAH) is to be developed. Secondly, work on models of semantic web technologies, in particular conceptual models (or ontologies) and Linked Open Data (LOD) is to be carried out. Finally, EGAD is mandated to develop a conceptual data model for archival description that identifies and defines the essential components of archival description and their interrelations in order to further shared international understanding, facilitate the development of the next generation of archival descriptive systems, further regional, national, and international collaboration, and promote collaboration with allied cultural heritage communities. The conceptual model developed by EGAD will focus first and foremost on the needs of the archival community, though it will also look forward to interoperating with models developed by and for the museum and library communities.[30]

There are several projects available on the web on authority control. One of them, maybe the most important in the libraries' area, is the VIAF Project. Since 2003, Die Deutsche Bibliothek, the Library of Congress and OCLC (Online Computer Library Centre) is jointly developed a Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) for personal names to be freely available on the web. The goal is to prove the viability of automatically linking authority records from different national files and, from the world's national bibliographic agencies. A key aspect of the project was the development of automated name-matching algorithms. In the beginning, the practically of algorithmically linking between both repositories was demonstrated: 70% were automatically linked with an error rate of <1%.

VIAF would be a practical expansion of the concept of universal biographical control, and permit national or regional variations in authorised forms, in preferred language, scripts and spelling. The current proposal for the future of the web include the use of ontologies for making the web more intelligent for machine and automatic processing, combined with other controlled vocabularies and authority files from other indexing services, such as archives, museums or publishers.

There have been other projects with these same objectives, for example AUTHORs Project and the LEAF Project (Linking and Exploring Authority Files). The latter proposed linking authority records loaded into a system from several different sources, with very different formats and very variable on details.

Today the most important project in the archives realm is the SNAC project (Social Network and Archival Context) 2010-2012. In this case, it is an archival authority control project, not a librarian project, using library of congress authorities. Like VIAF, SNAC matches automatically the authority records using algorithms and extracts the files directly from EAD files. Led by Daniel Pitti, it was developed between The University of Virginia, California and Berkeley, using EAC-CPF. One of the objectives was facilitating the separation of the description of people from the description of records, since archival finding aids merged description of records with description of the creators of records and the persons evidenced in the records. The methods and processing were the following: First, EAC-CPF record was extracted from the existing EAD (both creators and referenced CPF names). Then, EAC-CPF records were matched against one another and against existing authority records (VIAF, LCNAF, ULAN) and records for the same entity were merged. Other steps included the enhancement of EAC-CPF by normalising entries and adding alternative entries, titles and historical data. The project creates links to archive, library and museum resources.

The APEx project (2012-2015), co-funded by the European Commission and aiming at expanding, enhancing and sustaining the Archives Portal Europe, is currently working on the definition and implementation of EAC-CPF in the portal. The publication of the new Archives Portal Europe with an overall search for archival descriptions, names and archival institutions from more than 32 European countries and established with the help of international archival standards, is scheduled for summer 2014.


Chronology for Standards in Archives

Date Acronym Descriptions/Standards
1983 APPM Archives, Personal Papers and Manuscripts (USA) 
1986 MAD Manual for Archival Description (UK)
1988 OTTAWA Meeting in Ottawa for archival experts in standards (CA)
1989 APPM2 2nd ed. Archives, Personal Papers and Manuscripts (USA)
1989 MAD2 2nd ed. Manual for Archival Description (UK)
1989 KAA Keeping Archives, Australian Society of Archivists (AU)
1989 ICA/DDS ICA Ad Hoc Commission on Description Standards. Mandate from 1990 to 1996
1990 RAD Rules for Archival Description (CA)
1991  Draft of MADRID 1st draft for ISAD(G) 
1992/1993  ICA PRINCIPLES Statement of Principles Regarding Archival Description
1992 TOWARD Toward International Descriptive Standards for Archives
1994 ISAD(G) 1st ed. General International Standard Archival Description 
1996 ISAAR (CPF) 1st ed. International Standard for Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families
1996 ICA/CDS ICA Committee on Descriptive Standards. Mandate from 1996 to 2000. Revision ISAD(G)/ISAAR (CPF)
1998 Draft Hague Draft compendium of comments ISAD(G) review
1998 EAD Encoded Archival Description
1998 EAC Encoded Archival Context. Start of the Working Group 
2000 ISAD(G) 2nd ed. General International Standard Archival Description
2000 MAD3 3rd ed. Manual for Archival Description (UK)
2001 CUSTARD Custard project from 2001 to 2003 
2002 EAD2 2nd edition EAD
2002 EAG Encoded Archival Guide. Version Alfa 
2002 ISAAR (CPF) 2nd ed. ISAAR (CPF)
2004 EAC-CPF Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families. Beta release
2004 DACS Describing Archives: a Content Standards (USA)
2008 RAD2 2nd ed. RAD. Review (CA)
2008 ISDIAH International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings
2010 EAC-CPF Initial version
2010-2012 SNAC project  (USA)
2011 ISDF International Standard for Describing Functions
2012 EAG2012 2nd ed. EAG
2012-2014 NAAC project (USA)
2013 DACS2 2nd ed. DACS (USA)
2014 (exptected) EAD3 3rd edition EAD



Chronology for Standards in Libraries

1961 CP International Conference on Cataloguing Principles
1969   Cataloguing experts meeting, Copenhagen (DK)
1973 UBC Universal Bibliographical Control
1974 ISBD International Standard Bibliographic Description
1977 PGI-79/WS/18 Guidelines for the National Bibliographic Agency and the National Bibliography
1978   IFLA authorities working group (Czechoslovakia)
1983 GARE Guidelines for Authority and Reference Entries
1984   UNIMARC group
1990-1991 FRBR Functional Requirements for Bibliographical Records
1991 UNIMARC-A UNIMARC Authorities
1993 GSARE Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries
1998 AUTHOR AUTHOR project
1999-2003 AACR2  Revision of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
2001 GARR Guidelines for Authority Records and References. GARE revision
2001 UNIMARC 2nd ed. UNIMARC-A
2003 VIAF Virtual International Authority File start working
2008 FRAD Functional Requirements for Authority Data
2009 ICP Statement of International Cataloguing Principles
2010 RDA Resource Description and Access
2011 MADS Metadata Authority Description Schema
2013 FRAD Amended version FRAD
2013 OCLC & WorldCat OCLC authorities: format and indexes




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Daniel Pitti: Creator description: encoded archival context (2004) ( (viewed 18 march 2014). 
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About the Author

Aránzazu Lafuente Urién

Aranzazu Lafuente Urién, Degree in Geography and History, (Medieval history) Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain, 1987). Funcionaria del Cuerpo Facultativo de Archivos, from 1989. Director of Archivo Histórico Provincial de Ciudad Real (1990-1993). Director of Archivo Histórico de la Nobleza (Nobility Section of National Historical Archive) (Toledo, 1993-2011). Since 2011 works in the Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES), managing the work of control authorities and access points. Member of the APEx WP4.

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