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*
*The Committee of Best Practices and Standards of the International 
Council of Archives (ICA/CBPS) is pleased to announce the release the 
first edition of the International Standard for Describing Functions 
(ICA-ISDF). <http://www.ica.org/en/node/38665>

The main scope of archival arrangement and description is to preserve 
the original context of records creation, by safeguarding their 
evidential value and their authenticity. Authority records compliant 
with ISAAR(CPF) make it possible to collect any important information on 
the records creators, corporate bodies, persons or families. That’s the 
reason for providing separate but linked descriptions of records and of 
their creators – this enables archivists to develop dynamic and 
multidimensional descriptive systems.

Functions are often transferred from one corporate body to another. 
Therefore, it will be much more difficult for the users to reconstitute 
the context of records creation, if they are only provided with 
authority records describing corporate bodies that performed the same 
function. Separated but linked descriptions of functions can improve the 
understanding of that context and can be used in conjunction with 
ICA-ISAD(G) compliant descriptions and ICA-ISAAR(CPF) authority files as 
a tool for efficient retrieval of archives and creators descriptions in 
archival descriptive systems. This approach constitutes the basis of the 
new international standard which provides guidance for preparing 
descriptions of functions of corporate bodies associated with the 
creation and maintenance of archives.

ICA-ISDF is available in English, in French, in Spanish and in 
Portuguese. It includes twenty six descriptive elements, organised into 
information areas. It also includes a chapter giving recommendations for 
establishing links between descriptions of functions and archival 
descriptions compliant with ICA-ISAD(G) or with authority records 
compliant with ICA-ISAAR(CPF). The appendix contains examples of 
applications in different languages.

ICA-ISDF will be presented in the international congress of archives at 
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in July 2008. Thereafter, a revision of 
ICA-ISAD(G) and ICA-ISAAR(CPF) will proceed during the next four-year 
programme 2008-2012, in order to introduce changes required by the 
experience of the international archival community that has been using 
those standards.



Claire Sibille, ICA/CBPS Secretary/Secrétaire