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Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS)

Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) is an output-neutral set of rules for describing archives, personal papers, and manuscript collections, and can be applied to all material types. It is the U.S. implementation of international standards (i.e., ISAD[G] and ISAAR[CPF]) for the description of archival materials and their creators.

DACS facilitates consistent, appropriate, and self-explanatory description of archival materials and creators of archival materials. This new edition reflects the growing convergence among archival, museum, and library standards; aligns DACS with the descriptive standards developed and supported by the International Council on Archives; and provides guidance on the creation of archival authority records. DACS can be applied to all types of material at all levels of description, and the rules are designed for use by any type of descriptive output, including MARC 21, Encoded Archival Description (EAD), and Encoded Archival Context (EAC).

The Second Edition consists of two parts: Describing Archival Materials and Archival Authority Records. Separate sections discuss levels of description and the importance of access points to the retrieval of descriptions. Appendices feature a list of companion standards and crosswalks to ISAD(G), ISAAR(CPF), MARC 21, EAD, EAC, and Resource Description and Access (RDA). Also included is an index.

The Second Edition was officially adopted as a standard by the Council of the Society of American Archivists in January 2013, following review by the SAA Standards Committee, its Technical Subcommittee for Describing Archives: A Content Standard, and the general archival community. An earlier edition was officially approved as an SAA standard in March 2004, following review by its Standards Committee, its Technical Subcommittee for Descriptive Standards, and by the general archival community.

SAA Council Approval/Endorsement Date: 
January 2013; March 2004


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