Controlled vocabulary series recordings available

SAA’s Description Section and the Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards recently completed a three-part webinar series on controlled vocabularies. The series' presentations focused on the purpose of data value standards, how to approach their usage, and the current encoding options in Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and Encoded Archival Context (EAC-CPF). Along with other technical aspects of their implementation, the sessions provided examples of the practical application of controlled vocabularies in the context of reparative description projects and similar activities. 

Recordings of these sessions are now available through the Society of American Archivists' YouTube channel at Links to individual sessions are provided below. Transcripts will be made available in the coming weeks on the TS-EAS Github repository ( 

On behalf of the TS-EAS Outreach and Communications Team we would like to thank our partners in the Description Section, our speakers, and everyone else that participated in the sessions. If you would like to share feedback on the implementation of controlled vocabularies in archival encoding standards, please complete the survey by the EAD Team at

Session 1: Overview of controlled vocabulary use

The webinars for this session provided an overview of the use of controlled access generally in the description of archival materials, with a focus on the types of access terms, tips and tricks for selecting them, and how to search a few vocabularies commonly used, such as LCSH, VIAF, GeoNames, the Getty AAT, and Wikidata next to national vocabularies.

  • Set 1 (CET presentation, March 15, 2023)

Speakers: Kerstin Arnold (Archives Portal Europe), ​​Manonmani Restif and Louis Vignaud (Ministry of Culture, France), Santiago Muriel and Javier Requejo (Ministry of Culture and Sport, Subdirection of State Archives, Spain) 

  • Set 2 (ET presentation, March 22, 2023)

Speakers: Michele Combs (Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center), Anna McCormick (New York University Libraries) 

Session 2: Encoding controlled terms in archival descriptions

The recordings for this session review available practices for encoding controlled vocabulary terms in archival encoding standards, with a focus on Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and the element <controlaccess> with its child elements, but also looking at the new version of Encoded Archival Context (EAC-CPF). The webinars also looked at the connection of these practices to authority file creation and maintenance.

  • Set 1 (CET presentation, March 29, 2023)

Speakers: Kerstin Arnold (Archives Portal Europe), Gerhard Müller (Berlin State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage) 

  • Set 2 (ET presentation, March 29, 2023)

Speakers: Alexander Duryee (New York Public Library), Regine Heberlein (Princeton University Library) 

Session 3: Controlled vocabularies in practice

The webinars in this session presented use cases for the application of controlled vocabularies in practice, with examples ranging from reparative description projects, focusing on options for selecting and revising controlled vocabulary terms in archival descriptions, to projects related to current events such as documenting the COVID pandemic and its impact on a close community.

  • Set 1 (CET presentation, April 12, 2023)

Speakers: Kirsten Wright (University of Melbourne), Yanlin Li (Fudan University Libraries) 

  • Set 2 (ET presentation, April 12, 2023)

Ashley Gosselar (Moderator, University of Chicago Library), Michelle Cronquist (University of North Carolina Libraries), Rachel Searcy (New York University), and John DeSantis (Dartmouth College)