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level of description


n. ~ 1. The amount of detail or number of elements in a formal description of a work. - 2. The amount of detail in a collection included in a finding aid or catalog record, as determined by the number of hierarchical levels.


The level of description1 may be terse or exhaustive. In some instances, description of a collection may be limited to its provenance and title; in other cases, it may include notes and other information. - In a finding aid or catalog record, the level of description2 typically begins with the collection as a whole, and it may include details about subordinate divisions, such as series, subseries, folders, or items.

(APPM2 1989, p. 5) There may be several appropriate levels of description for any given body of archival material. These levels normally correspond to natural divisions based on provenance or physical form. The principle corresponds with the bibliographic concept of analysis, 'the process of preparing a bibliographic record that describes a part or parts of an item for which a comprehensive entry has been made' [citing AACR2 §13.1A].