Here at the V&A we aim to be ISAD(G)-compliant, but we are not citing ISAD(G) fields as encodinganalog attributes; I wonder if Richard Higgins, or other ISAD(G) practitioners, could explain their decision to do so.

I can understand the value of giving MARC encodinganalog attributes, where there may be questions of conversion from one format to the other, or links between a MARC fonds-level description and an EAD finding aid. However, I haven't figured out what practical purpose  ISAD(G) encodinganalog attributes might serve. Have I missed some crucial point?

Christopher Marsden
Assistant Museum Archivist
V&A Museum Archives, Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, London W14 0QF
tel: 020 7602 8832;  fax: 020 7602 0980; e-mail: [log in to unmask]

>>> Richard Higgins <[log in to unmask]> 05/04/2000 09:59:07 >>>
Having obtained a draft of the new edition of ISAD(G), I notice that
some of the fields have changed. In view of this, I wonder whether
anyone else uses ISAD(G) in their encodinganalog attributes, and if so
what impact this will have.

The standard has always stated (for no apparent reason) that the
paragraph numbers should not be used to cite the fields - although it
appears that they usually are, for example in the EAD application
guidelines. In spite of this, the most obvious form for encodinganalogs
has been "ISADG.3.4.4" rather than "ISADG.Language of material".

If we were to adopt the former form, this raises an additional problem
in that the new edition does not use the same numbers for the same
fields (following its own dictum that the numbers should not be used,
rather than what I suspect may have become a common usage of referring
to the numbers) - in the second edition ISADG.3.4.4 would refer to
"Physical characteristics and technical requirements".

I am interested in the views of others using ISAD(G) as to whether we
can adopt a common system here. Using the names of the fields in
encodinganalog seems rather long winded (and some of these have changed
between editions too), not to mention the issue of the different
languages that could be used to cite the field names, while using the
deprecated numbers means you have to identify which edition you have
taken them from.

Will people revise their finding aids at each new edition, or should
there be a means of identifying which edition has been used? Unlike,
say, MARC, there doesn't seem to have been any awareness of the
implications of changing fields around in the course of the evolution of
a standard.

Any thoughts?
# Richard Higgins
# Durham University Library
# Archives & Special Collections
# Palace Green
# Durham
# DH1 3RN
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