CAARA Policy 01 – Statement on Co-operation on the Development and Implementation of Descriptive Standards

Revised resolution, August 2007

At its meeting held in August 2007 the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA) agreed to the following resolution on standards for the description of archival material:

Recognising that a more standardised approach to descriptive practice is:

(a) in the long term interest of all members and the broader professional and user community; and

(b) likely to become more important as moves towards networked access are accelerated,

the members of CAARA:

(a) agreed that they are committed to the ongoing development and implementation of standard descriptive practices;

(b) agreed to work together to achieve broad sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation which will facilitate Web-based access to standardized descriptions of distributed archival resources via shared portal facilities such as the Collections Australia Network; and

(c) agreed that members would also work towards including descriptive records still held in agencies as well as those in archives.

In discussing again the issue of descriptive standards for Australia, members are aware that:

(a) the International Council on Archives (ICA) has now published the second editions of its ISAD(G) and its ISAAR(CPF). CAARA is also aware that the ICA has urged member countries to continue efforts to reach agreed standards of descriptive practices within their own countries;

(b) there is a growing level of awareness and use of the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard for the Web-based exchange of standardised machine readable archival data, both internationally and in Australia. CAARA is also aware of the current international collaborative efforts to promulgate the companion Encoded Archival Context (EAC) standard for the machine readable exchange of encoded descriptions of archival provenance entities and notes the active Australian involvement in these efforts;

(c) the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Committee on Descriptive Standards has developed a guide to the Australian ‘series system’, which will be published by the ASA under the title Describing Archives in Context: A Guide to Australian Practice; and

(d) the National Archives of Australia is national maintenance agency for the Australian Government Locator Service (AGLS) metadata standard, a standard for online resource description that has been endorsed by all Australian governments and has been published by Standards Australia as a national standard – AS 5044.

Justine Heazlewood
Convenor

August 2007

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