J. Gordon Daines III 2014-02-11 11:13:36
The second edition of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) is now available as a free PDF download, and the print edition will be available for purchase in June. The SAA Council requested that a DACS revision be initiated in 2010 with the release of Resource Description and Access (RDA). The Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS) began the review process in fall 2010 by soliciting feedback from the U.S. archival community on how DACS could be enhanced. Subcommittee members carefully reviewed and prioritized the community feedback. It quickly became apparent that one of the most important issues the subcommittee should consider was the growing convergence among archival, museum, and library descriptive standards— particularly as evidenced by the promulgation and adoption of RDA. Another significant issue was the need to ensure that DACS remains aligned with the descriptive standards developed and supported by the International Council on Archives. A final issue was the adoption of Encoded Archival Context as an encoding standard by SAA and the need to provide guidance on the creation of archival authority records. Standards of the International Council on Archives Part I of DACS was initially developed to mirror the components of the General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD[G]) developed by the International Council on Archives (ICA). Part II was designed to mirror the International Standard Archival Authority Record For Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (ISAAR[CPF]). This structure and concordance is maintained in the revised version of DACS. ICA also has developed standards for describing functions (International Standard for Describing Functions [ISDF]) and archival institutions (International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings [ISDIAH]). These standards are not currently addressed by DACS. Encoded Archival Context and the Need for a Content Standard for Archival Authority Records The review of the ICA descriptive standards and the development and SAA’s adoption of the Encoded Archival Context encoding standard led TS-DACS to make significant revisions in Part II of DACS. This section has been reworked to contain rules for the creation of archival authority records. Part II is broken into six chapters to align with ISAAR(CPF). The decision to make Part II into rules for archival authority records also necessitated moving chapters 9 (Identifying Creators) and 10 (Administrative/Biographical History) into Part I as elements 2.6 and 2. 7. Element 2.7 has been refocused on information necessary for understanding the collection in hand. Resource Description and Access (RDA) A careful review of RDA’s descriptive rules and comparison with DACS’s descriptive rules quickly demonstrated that many rules in Part III of DACS had been superseded by RDA and that important archival rules (particularly those related to the creation of family names) had been included in RDA. This led to the most obvious change from DACS 2004—the removal of Part III. RDA rules for titles provided by archivists (“devised titles”) were in closer agreement with archival practices. DACS had used the term supplied for these titles, in alignment with ISAD(G). Recognizing the growing convergence among library, museum, and archival descriptive standards, the predominant use of the term devised by companion archival standards, and the greater clarity of the term, the subcommittee chose to change the term supplied to devised throughout the second edition of DACS. Digital Records No single area received more comments from community members than the need to make DACS more relevant to modern records, which increasingly include or consist exclusively of born-digital formats. Community members were particularly interested in the rule prescribing papers, records, and collections as the collective terms describing the nature of the archival unit. Commenters felt that these terms did not adequately convey the increasingly digital format of the records. However, there was no community consensus as to what terms should be used instead. We considered this issue in depth and decided to revise the corresponding rule in DACS to permit local Practices for new collective terms (such as personal archives or personal records). This is an important issue that will be readdressed during the next revision of DACS. More Examples Included Another recurring theme in the community feedback was the desire for DACS to include more examples. Although we agreed that extensive and varied examples would be valuable in using DACS, several factors pushed our response in a different direction: The DACS revision cycle is coinciding with that for EAD; MARC is undergoing revisions as a result of RDA implementation and will eventually be replaced; and EAC-CPF examples are just now becoming widely available. We decided that the best way to respond to the desire for more examples would be to look for another way for community members to submit examples and best practices—such as a companion website To DACS. This will allow TS-DACS to respond more rapidly to changes in encoding standards and to keep these examples current. The print edition of DACS retains text examples illustrating specific rules, and additional examples have been supplied as needed. How to Get a Copy The second edition of DACS will be released in several ways. It will be available as a free PDF download from the SAA website, and we’re currently working with the SAA staff to determine if it is possible to convert DACS into a website on which both the official content of DACS and the community-contributed examples can be made available. In addition, a print copy will be available for purchase through the SAA Bookstore. We hope that the second edition of DACS will prove useful to the community, and we encourage you to take it for a test drive!
Published by Society of American Archivists. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/New+Edition+of+DACS+/1630285/194243/article.html.