ISAD(G) Field Mapping

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Bravismore Mumanyi

Mar 7, 2014, 1:27:30 AM3/7/14

Dear Atom Users

I am new to the ISAD(G) standard and currently busy with metadata migration from WINISIS to Atom.

The data is describing photos from one of our popular collection. I need advice on whether the following is the correct mapping.

·         Title (Event where photograph was taken) & Colour of Phtograph (whether it is Black & White or Colour) =>   Title (Column E of the isad excel template)


·         Remarks (copies of photograph in collection) & Photographer =>      scopeAndContent (Column Q of the isad excel template)


·         Copyright Holder =>        accessConditions (Column U of the isad excel template)


·         Names of Persons Appearing on Photograph =>     nameAccessPoints (Column A1 of the isad excel template)


·         Location or Place the Photograph was taken =>   placeAccessPoints (Column AH of the isad excel template)


·         Photographer local identifier (part of filename excluding extension) =>  identifier (Column D of the isad excel template)

I have also decided to drop field values like Date, Size of Photograph, Origin, etc

Thanking you in anticipation



Dan Gillean

Mar 7, 2014, 11:42:59 AM3/7/14
Hi Bravismore,

It looks to me like you've already done a good job of mapping the fields to ISAD(G)!

In case you need it for reference, you can always find a full copy of the standard on the ICA's website, here:

Our old ICA-AtoM wiki also includes summary information about the fields - we haven't had a chance to port this information over to our new AtoM documentation yet, but my intent is that when we do, the new documentation will include an image of the field in the AtoM template, the rule from the related standard and any other helpful parts from the rule's elaboration, notes on its particular usage or behavior in AtoM, and a list of mappings to other standards templates and metadata export formats. For now, you may find the brief summaries from the old ICA-AtoM wiki, which provide the ISAD(G) rules, useful:

In terms of your mappings, I have only a few considerations. The ease of implementing them might depend on whether or not you are scripting this transformation, or performing manually, but generally I think you've understood the general intent of ISAD.

1) You might consider separating the "Colour of Photograph" information from the title, and including it in the 3.1.5 Extent and medium of the unit of description  (column M) field, as it relates to the medium. The other possibilities would be to concatenate it into 3.3.1 Scope and content (column Q), as this can include information about the documentary form, or 3.4.4 Physical characteristics and technical requirements (column Z). It would be most useful in Extent in and Medium if you were also including dimensions information.

2) I would also consider separating the Remarks from the Photographer, and mapping the Photographer to the Creators field (column F), as this would allow you to add additional information about the creator in the future, in a separate authority record. More information on the relationship between authority records and creators in AtoM can be found here, and some additional information that may be useful (about the difference in behavior between name access points and subject access points) can be found here in our documentation. Of course, this can get tricky if the photographer is not officially the creator - in the way that an institution can be the formal creator, and the author of a document different from the formal creator.

3) accessConditions (column U) is a free text field that, in ISAD(G), is used to capture "nformation on the legal status or other regulations that restrict or affect access to the unit of description." The rule for the field is:

Specify the law or legal status, contract, regulation or policy that affects access to the unit of description. Indicate the extent of the period of closure and the date at which the material will open when appropriate.

If all you are mapping is a name (of the copyright holder), this is not quite the expected use of the field. AtoM does have a Rights Area, based on the PREMIS rights module, where Rights Holder names can be added, and then managed separately, but unfortunately this is not part of the CSV templates. That said, I can't think of a better mapping - unless the photographs were acquired directly from the copyright holder, then you might map it to 3.2.4 Immediate source of acquisition or transfer (column P) - or you could add it to a notes field. In any case, if you are able, I would suggest adding some qualifying text to clarify that the name is that of the copyright holder.

Do any of our other users have further thoughts or suggestions?

Good luck!

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Product Manager / Systems Analyst,
Artefactual Systems, Inc.

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Bravismore Mumanyi

Mar 7, 2014, 11:56:13 AM3/7/14

Thank you Dan for a comprehensive response.

I will give feedback after meeting with my colleagues on Monday


Hutchinson, Tim

Mar 7, 2014, 1:51:09 PM3/7/14

Hi Bravismore,


Further to Dan’s points:

-          I would map the copyright holder information to Conditions Governing Reproduction (reproductionConditions). But not as is. E.g. you could add Copyright holder: [institution]. Or even add a standard line about reproduction conditions, e.g. The researcher is responsible for clearing copyright when required. Copyright holder: XXXX.

-          I would be inclined to avoid the creator field for photographer, especially if these are discrete item level records (not children of a fonds-level description). I don’t know if it’s possible to do this directly in the CSV import (probably not), but a different event type would probably be better. For our deployment using RAD, we created a custom “author” role (for compliance with RAD access points); the closest from the default set may be contributor. It might be possible to change that after import, via the database. It may also not be a bad idea to retain that information in a note field, so that the photographer role is clear, in addition to adding a name access point.

-          I would also be in favour of retaining the dimensions of the photograph – if you’ve gone to the work of populating that field in your current database, it’s an appropriate part of the extent and medium element, and can be useful.

-          It’s not clear to me why you would drop the date information?



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