Harvard Wikis will be unavailable from 8am-noon on June 1st as we upgrade to Confluence version 6.6.13. Visit the IT Help Portal to learn about the new features coming your way!
Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Authority work

Authority work is about choosing a consistent way of referring to an entity that uniquely distinguishes it from other entities. Consistent use of name authorities is vital to access.  To perform authority work for your collection/series creator, you must have already determined who you creator is; for guidelines on identifying collection creators, see DACS Section 2.6.


Location:  N:\Administration_CHoM\Policies_and_Policy_Development\Cataloging and Description\Name Authorities_Current

To establish a name authority, follow the steps outlined in the form above. Name authority research and paperwork must be completed for every new creator introduced to ArchivesSpace as an agent and before stub MARC records are created.  This form should be printed, completed, and filed in the appropriate Accessioning and Processing control file. Name authorities for OFFICES OF ORIGIN are established by the records management staff and official name numbers are assigned as part of this process.

Formulating titles

Collection and series titles are typically made up of two segments:

[name of creator]  +  [nature of materials being described]

Name of creator: Refer to the creator as they are commonly known. For example, list personal names in direct order (Elizabeth D. Hay) rather than the authorized form (Hay, Elizabeth D.). For names of corporate bodies that include subordinate units, use the same punctuation used in the authorized form of the name.
        T. Berry Brazelton papers
        Harvard Medical School. Department of Pharmacology records
        Harvard School of Public Health. Office of the Dean records
        Waterhouse family papers

Avoid using abbreviations in the title, even if an abbreviation is present in the creator's authorized heading. For example:
        LCNAF heading:          Harvard Medical School. Dept. of Health Care Policy.
        Properly formed title:    Harvard Medical School. Department of Health Care Policy records

Nature of materials being described: Typically, records for materials created by a corporate body and papers for materials created by people or families. Use collection for intentionally assembled collections around a particular topic or format.  If only one or two material types are present in the collection, list those material types instead of records or papers (see example below).
        S. Reid Warren, Jr. papers
        Irma S. Jarcho Student notebooks
        Edwin Bidwell Wilson correspondence
        New England Surgical Society records
        Joseph J. Schildkraut research records

(optional) Topic: In the case of intentionally assembled collections, it may be helpful to include a third segment indicating the collection topic.
        James Marshall phrenological collection
        Katherine Rodgers Denckla collection on George C. Cotzias

Dates are included in the title element for ASpace accession records AND MARC records. Inclusive date ranges should always be listed where applicable; bulk dates should additionally be listed for collections where the majority of the collection falls within a more limited date range than the inclusive date span. For single-item collections or collections with a single date rather than a range, do not include (inclusive) in the date expression (see examples in next section).

        Sanford Gifford papers, 1895-2013 (inclusive), 1950-2000 (bulk)
        Marvin Zelen papers, 1949-2010 (inclusive)

Punctuation: Do NOT include a period at the end of title in accession records or resource records. DO include a period at the end of the title in the MARC 245. 
        In Aspace accession record:        Cotton Tufts papers, 1751-1801 (inclusive)
        In MARC 245:                               Cotton Tufts papers, 1751-1801 (inclusive).

Single-item titles: When accessioning single items, construct a title that is brief but uniquely describes the resource. Do not include the qualifier "inclusive" for items with a single date. Examples of single-items are one document, one audiotape, one object, etc. Note that in most cases a piece of e-media contains multiple files so we do not necessarily consider this a "single" intellectual item.

        Letter from Asa Whitcomb to Dr. David Townsend, Boston, [17?] July 1776
        Letter describing treatment of Cocoanut Grove fire victims at Boston City Hospital, 30 November 1942

For additional guidance on forming titles, see DACS 2.3.

Accessioning in ArchivesSpace

Agent Records

* Always search for an existing Agent record prior to creating a new one! *  
If no record exists, create a record for either a Person, Corporate Entity, or Family as appropriate. 

Publish: Check this.

Dates of Existence: For persons, enter birth and death dates as they appear in the entity's LCNAF record. If the person does not have an LCNAF record, enter birth and/or death dates if known. For corporate bodies, skip.
Label: Existence
Expression: [use as appropriate, such as YYYY-YYYY, 19th Century, etc.]
Type: [Select Range or Single as appropriate]
Certainty: [If certain, leave blank, if estimated, use Approximate.]
Era: ce
Calendar: Gregorian

Name Forms
Authority ID: [Full LC authority identifier, preferably the URI from id.loc.gov. Example:  http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n85351594]
Source: Select as appropriate from the following options:
  • Library of Congress Name Authority File
  • Local Sources (Use if form of name is based on pre-existing entry in HOLLIS or if name is formed locally. If name is formed locally, you must also complete the next field "Rules.")
Rules: If you formed the name according to local guidelines, select Resource Description and Access (unless name formed previously under AACR2).

For persons:
Use the following fields to enter the name as it appears on the Name Authority worksheet. NO PUNCTUATION AT END OF NAME (unless the "rest of name" ends in a middle initial). Name OrderUse “Indirect”, unless otherwise specified by name authority (in which case use “Direct”) such as in the case of royalty, etc.
Prefix: Skip
Title: [if appropriate] 
Primary Part of Name: [Last name or surname]
Rest of Name: [First name, middle name, middle initial as appropriate]
Suffix: [if appropriate]
Fuller Form: [Use for the part of authorized name in parentheses, such as spelling out of initials. Do not actually enter parentheses here; ArchivesSpace will supply]
Number: [if appropriate]
Dates: Skip
Qualifier: [if appropriate]
Sort Name: Skip
Dates of Name Use: Skip

For corporate bodies:
Use the following fields to enter the name as it appears on the Name Authority worksheet. NO PUNCTUATION AT END OF NAME. 
Primary Part of Name: Enter the full corporate body name. You may use periods to separate primary part of name from subordinate unit names, but do not include a period at the end of the name. For example: Harvard Medical School. Office of the Dean
 Subordinate Name 1/2: Skip
  Number: Skip
Dates: [if appropriate]
 Qualifier: [if appropriate]
 Sort Name: Skip.
 Dates of name use: Skip, or add if known for corporate bodies that have changed names.

Contact Details: Skip. One exception: OK to use for book dealers.

Note type: Biographical/Historical Note
Persistent ID: Skip
Label: Skip
Publish?: YES
Sub Notes:
Text Content: [Biographical or historical note content, which would have gone into HMSdb4]
Publish: YES

Related Agents:
Use only for Longwood/Boston medical corporate affiliations (at the SCHOOL or affiliated HOSPITAL level). 
Relationship type: Associative Relationship [do not use other options]
Related Agent: [Search for name of related Agent. Will need to create if one does not exist.]
[Optional: use as needed to explain the relationship.]
 External Documents: Skip
Rights Statements: Skip

Accession Records

The instructions below apply to accessioning mixed materials (papers, records, WAM objects). See also instructions for accessioning books in ArchivesSpace.
Paper form: Collection/Series title
For instructions on forming titles, see Devising Titles for Collections or Series.

Mss: Collection title, date span [if applicable: OBJECT title and date or # volumes], accession number in square brackets

    • Marie McCormick papers, 1960-2015 (inclusive) [2016-142]
    • Samuel A. Levine papers, 1914-1966 (bulk) and ECG string control, 1976 [2016-125]

Arch: School. Department/Office name. Series title, date span [if applicable: OBJECT title and date or # volumes], accession number in square brackets
    • Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard Prevention Research Center. Planet Health records, 1992-1997 (inclusive) [2017-152]
    • Harvard Medical School. Office of Resource Development. University publications, 2006- (inclusive) [2017-081]

WAM: Object or collection title, date or date span (qualifier only if a range)
  • ECG string control owned and used by Samuel A. Levine, 1976 
  • William A. Burgess collection, 1976-1980 (inclusive) 

Books: Enter formal or devised title, same as MARC 245.

Paper form: Accession number
Enter accession number, utilizing different fields/boxes for different identifier segments [YYYY - ### - x]:
        Field 1: 201X    Field 2: XXX     Field 3: A, B, M, and/or W     [Optional field 4: BWH or other future stewardship]
Paper form: Date accessioned
Accession Date: Date accessioned (the date you assign the accession number; should match date of accession on paper form). 
Transfer form: Contents
Content description: What is on transfer form. Will be spawned into a scope and content note. 

Condition description: The “red flag” field: if there is mold, if something has been isolated, glass present, if things are in frames, & etc. 
Paper form: Collection/Office/Catalog #
Disposition: Indicate where certain pieces of the accession have been transferred to, or what establishes the collection. 
        Mss: Papers establish H MS c322
                 Papers constitute an accrual to H MS c448 

        Arch: Records establish Series ##### 
                  Records constitute an accrual to Series #### 

        WAM:  ECG String Control to WAM 201588 (when applicable) 

Inventory: Skip 
Condition description: Record any especially notable condition issues.

Provenance: Use if applicable. Note that this does not map to any field in a spawned Resource record. 
        Gift of Sandra Levine on 2 July 2015 
        Transferred from the home of Sandra Levine on 2 July 2015 
        Gifted by the heirs of… 
        Collected by Katherine Swartz and given on XXX 
        Purchased by XXXX on XXX date 
        Given in honor of… 
Paper form: GRS/Special Schedule #
Retention Rule: (Archives, only) HUGRS #### 

General Note: Avoid using, except for Books: if  a purchase, record here the name of the fund used, whether fund is HML or BML, and purchase price.

Acquisition type: 
        Gift (Manuscripts) 
        Transfer (Archives) 
        (WAM/Books: use what makes sense) 

Resource type: Choose one of the following options from the list (we are choosing not to utilize all possible options in the Resource Type list).

Papers:  for manuscripts created by persons or families
Collection:  use only for intentionally-assembled/artificial collections
Records:  for manuscript collections created by non-Harvard corporate bodies such as hospitals, IPPNW, etc.
harvard university records:   for HMS, HSPH/Chan School, and HSDM institutional records
Objects:  for single-item or groups of objects such as artifacts, specimens, instruments, memorabilia, etc.

For mixed accessions (papers/records that include one or more objects that will be transferred to WAM), select “Papers” or “Records” or "harvard university records" as appropriate.

Restrictions apply? Check this box, except for books or WAM (occasionally) 

Publish: Skip/do not check. 

Access restrictions: Check this box

Access restrictions note: Skip/do not check (info should be provided only in spawned resource records records) 

Use restrictions: Skip/do not check, unless a special restriction on use is stipulated as part of the Deed of Gift (then Check). 

Use restrictions note: Skip, unless a special restriction on use is stipulated as part of the Deed of Gift (then "Conditions stipulated in deed of gift.")

Paper form: Bulk dates of accession
        Label: Creation 
        Expression (brackets = optional): [circa] YYYY-YYYY (inclusive)  [, YYYY-YYYY (bulk)]
        Type: [Select ONLY Inclusive Dates, Bulk Dates, or Single as appropriate] 
        Begin: YYYY, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-MM-DD 
        End: YYYY, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-MM-DD 
        Certainty: Leave blank or use Approximate if date is an estimate 
        Era: Leave blank
        Calendar: Leave blank
Paper form: Date received
        Label: Other 
        Expression: Date of transfer: YYYY-MM-DD
        Type: Single 
        Begin: YYYY, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-MM-DD 
        Certainty: Leave blank or use Approximate if date is an estimate 
        Era: Leave blank
        Calendar: Leave blank

        Label: Other 
        Expression: Date of physical custody: YYY-MM-DD [Note: use when transfer date is unknown]
        Type: Single 
        Begin: YYYY, YYYY-MM, or YYYY-MM-DD 
        Certainty: Leave blank or use Approximate if date is an estimate 
        Era: Leave blank
        Calendar: Leave blank

Enter here the post-transfer extent that reflects the collection volume BEFORE listing (post-listing extent will go in the spawned resource record). We only record digital extent here for direct/network transfers, not for e-media (e-media digital extent will be included in the spawned resource record).
To record both physical and digital extent, repeat the extent field and indicate the Portion for each as PART (you will have no WHOLE).
See also: Calculating Extent for instructions on calculating and expressing physical and digital extent.
Paper form: Cubic feet after reboxing
Portion: Part OR Whole 
Number: ## or 0.## (always include a leading zero for less-than-zero extents).
Type: cubic feet, gigabytes, items, or volumes.
Container summary: record the number and types of boxes, or indicate network storage for transferred digital files. Do not use periods at end of field content.                
## records center cartons
##  records center cartons and ## document boxes
digital files on network storage

Agent links: Create the following Agent links where possible. Search for the Agents in Aspace first, and if they're not already in the system, create an Agent record (see Agent record instructions).

Creator:  Created the content you have acquired. If applicable, note "Collector" in the Relator field (such as for intentionally assembled collections).
Source: Donor or transfer agent. For records management, should be name of office (not the name of the administrator). This will be reflected in the transfer form. 
Subject: Skip (if later spawning a resource, please add subject headings to that resource as you would for the bib record). 

Related resources: 
If applicable, search for related resource (example: if this is an accrual, link to previously created resource record).

Arch: Link the accession to the series level resource record. If the records of the department have been processed and a finding aid exists, also link the accession to the resource record for the processed records.   

Related accessions: Skip. Should only be used in resource records. 

Subjects: Do not use here. Only use in resource records. 
See electronic control file in N:\Collections
External documents (for Mss):
        Title: [Identify title of appendix (A, B, C, & etc.)] 
        Location: Control file 
        Publish: FALSE 

Rights Statements: Skip.

Instances: Skip 

Deaccessions: Only use for items returned or destroyed post-transfer and post-gift agreement. Includes original material (does not include destroying duplicates of an item). Can occur at any time after accessioning. 

Classifications: Skip. 

User defined: 
 Paper form: New/accrual checkboxes
        Addendum/accrual: CHECK this box if accession is an accrual.
        Purchase Price: If applicable 
        Initial Location: Box ##-##; Row/Bay/Shelf -OR- HD; (date) 

Spawning/linking Resource Records

For a new collection, select Spawn > Resource from the top-right tabs of the accession record. 
For an accrual to an existing collection (whether processed or unprocessed), LINK your accession record to the existing resource record.
  • If linking to a processed collection resource record: add an additional extent statement to reflect the unprocessed accrual; do not update other resource record fields.
  • If linking to an unprocessed collection resource record: update all fields below to incorporate the new accession.


Title: Keep collection/series/item title and dates; remove accession number.

Identifier: Enter entire collection, series, or WAM catalog number string in the first box.

Level of description:
        Mss & WAM: enter Collection or Item as appropriate. Collection should be used for any group of two or more items. 
        Arch: enter Series or Record Group as appropriate

Publish: Mss & Arch: Do NOT check this
               WAM: Check this (& remember to hit the Publish All button at the top of the record after you've completed and saved it)

Restrictions: MSS & Arch: check this (since it's unprocessed)
                       WAM: Check this if patient/health restrictions apply

Dates: creation dates will pre-populate, DELETE the transfer date or other non-creation dates 

Finding aid data:

    EADID (REQUIRED): claim a unique med#### on the AccessionsCollectionNumbers spreadsheet. 

Source Agent link: Delete this agent link - it appears in the finding aid as a duplicate creator.

Add note: Conditions Governing Access
        Mss & Arch: Skip this step.
        WAM: Add the following access statement, adding the personal/patient restriction note if applicable.

Warren Anatomical Museum items are available for research access. Access is premised on the availability of space and staff to facilitate use. Contact <extref xlink:href="https://www.countway.harvard.edu/chom/research-and-access">Public Services for the Warren Anatomical Museum</extref> for more information.
[Add if applicable]: Access to items containing patient, health, or personal information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records.


Add Collection Management fields (Mss/Arch only)
          Processing Status: Unprocessed 

Save record.  For WAM resource records, also click the Publish All button in the top-right of the record.

Below are instructions for entering subordinate components to represent different accessions, boxes, or items that make up this resource:

1.  Click on Collection title in top/hierarchical display and click “edit.” 

2.  Click “Add Child” in top left (under Home / Resources), and enter this data: 
        Title: Acc. [YYYY-###] 
        Level of description: Other level 
        Other level: Accession
Portion: Part OR Whole
Number: ## or 0.## (always include a leading zero for less-than-zero extents) 
Type: cubic feet, gigabytes, or items
 Container summary: (record the box count with box numbers and items stored outside of containers, or note digital files on network storage (for transferred/imaged files), or list e-media types if unimaged. Do not use periods at end of field content. Examples:
10 records center cartons (# 01-10)
5  records center cartons and 2 document boxes (# 11-17)
31 records center cartons (# 01-31) and 3 oversized photographic prints in vertical storage
6 3.5 inch floppy disks and 1 hard drive
Digital files on network storage 

For accruals/additions: If a resource record for the series or collection already exists, make sure to update the total extent in the resource record. If the extent in the resource record represents processed materials, add a separate extent field to record the total unprocessed extent and note this in the Container Summary, i.e: "unprocessed papers/records in ## records center cartons. unprocessed digital files on network storage. unprocessed digital files on [media types]". 

* For additions and accruals *
  • Rather than spawning a new resource record for each accrual/addition, link the new accession record to the existing Resource Record. 
  • Update the extent in the resource record to reflect the new collection or series extent total. If you're dealing with an addition or accrual to an already processed collection, add a new/separate extent statement to represent the unpublished extent (ie. do no total together unprocessed and processed extents for either physical or digital materials).

Accession Paper Forms

The instructions below apply to accessioning mixed materials (papers, records, WAM objects). A paper accession record should be created for each accession entered into ArchiveSpace and filed in the "Accessioning and Processing" folder for the corresponding collection.

[link to form]

Location: N:\Administration_CHoM\Policies_and_Policy_Development\Accessioning\Accessions_Current

Accession Number: Enter the accession number for the group of records that you are accessioning.  [See section on "Assigning Accession/Collection numbers" to be created]

Creator/User: Enter the authorized form of name.

Establishing Control Files

Establish control files for collection (three folders per collection for manuscript collections, two folders per series for archival collections). See the Control Files page for guidance. 

Preliminary Description & Housing

Preliminary box and folder lists created using Center listing template (pending of availability of LHT or RMA). See section IV.2 for detailed instructions. The Center makes every effort to folder list collections prior to being sent off-site.
Stub/full record completed Alma.                                                                                                                         
Records labeled and shelved or sent to HD.     
  • No labels