Technical Subcommittee on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS)

I. Purpose

The Technical Subcommittee for Describing Archives: A Content Standard (TS-DACS) of the SAA Standards Committee is responsible for overseeing the timely and ongoing intellectual and technical maintenance and development of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS). DACS is an output-neutral set of rules for describing archives, personal papers, and manuscript collections, and can be applied to all material types. DACS is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed. (International Council on Archives, 1999) and ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Records for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, 2nd ed. (International Council on Archives, 2003). DACS is an SAA-approved standard; documentation for DACS is available through the Society of American Archivists at .

II. Committee Selection, Size, and Length of Term

The technical subcommittee shall be composed of ten regular members and two co-chairs. All members shall be appointed by the SAA Vice President/President-Elect for staggered three-year terms so that a minimum of two individuals are appointed by the Vice President each year. All members must demonstrate significant knowledge of and experience with archival description generally, and with DACS specifically. 

All members of TS-DACS shall be recommended by the Standards Committee for appointment by the SAA Vice President. The chair(s) will be selected from existing TSDACS membership and appointed for a three year term. The chair(s)  and members of TS-DACS may be reappointed for one consecutive term. 

Ex officio members of the Technical Subcommittee on DACS shall include the following if they are not regular members of the subcommittee:

  • Immediate past co-chair of TS-DACS;
  • Co-chairs of the Standards Committee;
  • Chair of the Description Section;
  • Standards Committee Liaison to TS-DACS 

III. Reporting Procedures

The chair(s) of the Technical Subcommittee on DACS shall report at least annually to the chair(s) of the SAA Standards Committee on the occasion of the SAA Annual Meeting. If extramural funding is obtained by SAA, the chair(s) shall provide all necessary narrative reports to the SAA office in order that the reporting requirements of SAA and the funding source are met.

IV. Duties and Responsibilities

To fulfill this mission, TS-DACS is specifically charged to:

  • Carry out a review of Describing Archives: A Content Standard on an ongoing basis.
  • Promote the understanding and use of DACS by the American archival community.
  • Support educational efforts related to DACS by SAA.
  • Develop members of the archives profession who are capable of promoting and maintaining DACS over time.
  • Communicate its activities to relevant SAA components.
  • Foster communication between other entities developing standards related to DACS.
  • Work to ensure that DACS is compatible with other national and international descriptive standards.

TS-DACS shall work within the guidelines for ongoing review of an SAA-adopted standard, and may develop more detailed procedures for meeting those requirements.

 VI. Meetings

TS-DACS shall carry out its charge primarily via electronic mail, regular mail, and conference calls. It shall meet at the SAA Annual Meeting and as necessary, provided that SAA Council-approved funding is available.

Approved by the SAA Council: February 2010
Revised: January 2011; August 2013; February 2017; March 2024;