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Born Digital Archival Description Guidelines: Home


The Born Digital Archival Description Guidelines are intended to provide guidance on describing born-digital collection material housed at Yale University. The Guidelines are based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard, and are heavily informed by the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, the University at Buffalo Processing and Description: Digital Material Guidelines, Northwestern University Library’s Born-Digital Archival Description Guidelines for Distinctive Collections, and conversations with colleagues across the United States.1

This guide includes all DACS single-level required and optimum elements, as well as descriptive elements determined by the Born Digital Archival Description Task Force to be pertinent to describing born-digital material. Some of the DACS single-level required and optimum elements may have special needs for born-digital material, and some may not; regardless, they are all included in this guide. This guide assumes that the guidelines are used primarily for the creation of finding aids in ArchivesSpace. Periodically, revisions or other updates will be made to the Born Digital Description Guidelines. Updates to the guidelines are detailed in the Update Log.

We are grateful for the generosity of our colleagues in sharing their expertise in managing and describing born-digital material.

These guidelines were developed by the Born Digital Archival Description Task Force (Alison Clemens, co-chair; Matthew Gorham, co-chair; Jonathan Manton; Cate Peebles; and Jessica Quagliaroli) in 2020. Questions, comments, and suggestions should be directed to the Yale University Library Archival and Manuscript Description Committee

1. Other institutions whose documentation we reviewed or whom we corresponded with include: the Canadian Centre for Architecture; Duke University Libraries; Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library; the Guggenheim Museum; Harvard Library; Princeton University Libraries; Stanford University; University of Pennsylvania Libraries; University of Pittsburgh Libraries; and University of Texas at Austin Libraries.