Prototype of Descriptive System


1. Table of ISAD Elements to Be Used

Element No Name of Element Short Label for User Display Notes
Identity Statement Area
3.1.1 Reference code(s) Reference Includes:
  • country code (use ISO 3166)
  • repository code
  • fonds number
3.1.2 Title Title For a corporate body, give name only;
For a family or individual, use: Papers of �
3.1.3 Dates of creation of the material in the unit of description Dates Use ISO 8601 internally; display according to local preference
3.1.4 Level of description Note that this is level of description of this finding aid, therefore fonds is the default
3.1.5 Extent of the unit of description Extent Use linear shelf meterage for conventional records.
Use units for non-conventional records (e.g. microfilm)
Context Area
3.2.1 Name of creator Record Creator Use highest level of rules available (e.g. national, institutional)
3.2.2 Administrative / Biographical history Administrative history or Biographical history as appropriate Should contain information about the record creator, not about the records. It should be held separately from the description, though a subset may be held with the finding aid itself. Personal and corporate name access points should follow 3.2.1
Content and Structure Area
3.3.1 Scope and content / Abstract Abstract Should contain information about the records, not about the record creator. Personal and corporate name access points should follow 3.2.1
Conditions of Access and Use Area
3.4.1 Conditions governing access Access Conditions
3.4.3 Language / scripts of material Language Use ISO format internally; display according to local preference
3.4.5 Finding aids Finding Aids Language (use ISO codes) should be included if different from the language in 3.4.4
Description Control Area
3.7.1 Archivist's Note Do not display Give name of creator of this finding aid
3.7.2 Rules or Conventions Do not display Give information on protocols used in compiling this finding aid
3.7.3 Date(s) of descriptions Do not display Give date of creation of this finding aid

Back to Top

2. General Guidance

The second edition of ISAD(G), (ICA, Ottawa, 2000) published for the International Congress in Seville, has been used in this prototype. The element numbers have been altered slightly since the first published version (ICA, Ottawa, 1994).

The length of the top level description should be based on an assessment by the archivist of the importance of the unit being described, not its quantity.

Dates should follow the profile recommended by the WWW Consortium at for internal storage, but displays can be according to local preference, and set by the browser.

The Unicode character set should be used for all descriptions to avoid difficulties of display of accented characters.

It is intended that the browser will set local preferences for display.

The user display comments refer to an interface for the non-archivist user. The EUAN prototype will offer this in addition to an archivists display, which will carry the full ISAD element labels.

Access points apart from dates (personal and corporate names, placenames, subjects) can be included in administrative/biographical history and scope and content, according to national or institutional rules.

Back to Top

3. Examples


ISAD Ref Element Name Description
3.1.1 Reference Code GB
234 National Archives of Scotland
3.1.2 Title Papers of Sir John McNeill, Diplomatist
3.1.3 Dates of Creation 1802-1910
3.1.4 Level of Description Fonds
3.1.5 Extent 2.70 metres
3.2.1 Name of Creator Sir John McNeill and his family
3.2.2 Administrative / biographical history John McNeill (1795-1883, knighted in 1839), was a younger son of John McNeill of Colonsay. He started his career in the 1820s as a doctor in the service of the East India Company in Bombay. In the same year he moved to the Company's legation in Persia [Iran]. He later became political assistant to the envoy. In 1835 the Foreign Office took charge of the British mission in Persia and in 1836 McNeill was appointed envoy and minister plenipotentiary to the Shah. His career in Persia ended in 1842. In 1845 he became chairman of the Board that supervised the working of the Scottish Poor Law Act, a post he held for 33 yeas. In early 1855, following military disasters in the Crimea, he was commissioned to go to the Crimea with Colonel Alexander Murray Tulloch to report on delays in the distribution of stores sent to Balaklava, etc. For more details of his career see Dictionary of National Biography.
3.3.1 Scope and content Official and personal correspondence and papers of Sir John McNeill. The greater part of the collection relates to McNeill's time in Persia. The papers dealing with the Scottish Poor Board include material on emigration to Australia and Tasmania, 1851-1857. There are also papers, 1854-1857, relating to the Crimean Commission and the abject circumstances of the British troops there.
The key to his role as a diplomatist in Persia is found in a memorandum by him on Anglo-Persian relations and the threat posed by Russia: 'all have agreed that it was an object of primary importance to the security of our India possessions to maintain the power of Persia and to strengthen that Empire by every practicable means.'
Topics covered include the following:
The British military attachment in Persia, and relations with the court of the Qajar (Kadjar) Shahs, Fath Ali (died 1834) and his successor Mohammed Shah (died 1848), in particular with the Prince Royal, Abbas Mirza (1789-1833) and the Georgian eunuch, Manuchir Khan Gurgi, Mutamad-al-Daula, governor of the Caspian province of Gilan etc.
Persian-Russian relations; the Russians in Circassia (north Caucasus); Anglo-Russian relations.
'The Afghan Question'; the siege of Herat by Mohammed Shah; the dissolute court of Shah Kamran in Herat, where the family of the vizier Yar Mohammed Khan are 'masters even of Kamran's teapot'.
Plans to establish an overland route to India via the Euphrates; the navigation of the Tigris; the Baghdad pashalik.
Endemic plague and cholera.
Piracy in the Persian Gulf; the Bushire residency (Bushehr); relations between the Gulf Arabs - HH the Imam of Muscat (Said bin Sultan); Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr of Ras al-Khaimah; Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmen of Bahrain; and Sheikh Turki bin Saud, 'head of the Wahabee sect' [Saudi Arabia].
3.4.1 Access Conditions No photocopies, photographs or digital images may be supplied of any document in the collection. No quotation from or reproduction of any document is to be published without the permission of the owner of the collection.
3.4.3 Language of material English. Some documents are in French. Personal and place names tend to be spelt phonetically in the collection and in the catalogue.
3.4.5 Finding Aids Catalogue, including specific reference to some documents of special interest.
3.7.1 Archivist's Note John S Shaw
3.7.2 Rules or Conventions ISAD(G); EUAN prototype
3.7.3 Date(s) of descriptions 1999

ISAD Ref Element Name Description
3.1.1 Reference Code GB
234 National Archives of Scotland
3.1.2 Title Stonehaven Sheriff Court
3.1.3 Dates of Creation 1624-1972
3.1.4 Level of Description Fonds
3.1.5 Extent 120.52 metres
3.2.1 Name of Creator Stonehaven Sheriff Court
3.2.2 Administrative / biographical history The office of Sheriff originates in the twelfth century in the reign of David I (1124-1153). At this date, sheriffs had administrative and military responsibilities (including the execution of royal writes and the collection of royal taxation) as well as judicial powers and were effectively the king's representatives in the localities. Early on, however, central government lost control and the office of sheriff became heritable in many jurisdictions. The inefficiency of the courts and the legal ignorance, corruption or partiality of the sheriffs and their deputes were widespread and forced many to seek justice from central courts. The Scottish parliament sought repeatedly to tackle the shortcomings of the sheriff courts but their measures were generally without effect, disregarded by the sheriffs who could earn important income from the office in fees and bribes.
The abolition of all heritable jurisdictions, including heritable sheriffdoms, as from 25 March 1748, conferred great status and authority on the new sheriff courts and wide civil and criminal jurisdiction. Many of the functions of the abolished franchise courts now fell to the sheriff courts. The act appointed 29 advocates, or 'sheriffs depute', who were required to be advocates of at least three years standing. Subsequent legislation further tightened up the legal qualifications, residence requirements and payment and tenure of the main officers - the sheriff depute, sheriff substitute and sheriff clerk.
Throughout the later 18 and 19 centuries, both the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the court expanded: duties were delegated from an over burdened Court of Session, the responsibilities of the Commissary Courts and the Admiralty Court were passed to the sheriff court on their abolition in 1823 and 1830, and increasingly the power of the Justice of the Peace courts and burgh courts were eroded in their favour.
Sheriff court records have, in the 20 century, been the subject of two special, official reports. In 1926 the Wark Committee recommended the transfer of older sheriff court records to Register House. This was given effect by the Public Records (Scotland) Act of 1937, section 2(1). This statute still governs the transmission of sheriff court records to the National Archives of Scotland. In 1966 the Kidd Committee recommended extending the weeding of these records which had started under a statutory instrument of 1940 (SI 1940 no. 2107). The selection of records for preservation is presently governed by a schedule prepared under Statutory Instrument 1990 no 106 (s.8) the Disposal of Court Records (Scotland) Regulations, 1990.
With the exception of commissary records, sheriff court records are at least 25 years old when transmitted to the Keeper.
The earliest surviving sheriff court records date from the 16 century. The sheriff court series in the National Archives of Scotland reflects the wide range of civil, criminal and administrative business of the court from that time to the present. Sheriff courts also act as a court of record, carrying out the registration of wills and other legal documents. The main groups of records in these categories are described below. It should be noted that not every type of record will be found in each sheriff court, e.g. the registration of wills is confined to larger courts.
The jurisdiction of Stonehaven Sheriff court covers the county of Kincardine.
3.3.1 Scope and content Court books and registers, 1652-1972 (brief details of cases, judgements and administrative matters); processes (case papers), 1671-1970; adoption records, 1932-1970; workmen's compensation, 1904-1961; fatal accident inquiries, 1913-1970; small debt etc., 1825-1969; sequestration (bankruptcy) records, 1839-1924; criminal records, 1678-1970; registers of deeds and protests (documents registered for preservation and execution), 1656-1970; commissary records (wills and inventories of deceased persons), 1824-1984; services of heirs (succession to land and buildings), 1665-1854; registers of improvements to entailed estates, 1820-1853; fiars courts (converting grain prices to cash equivalents), 1750-1970; corn law returns (fixing of grain prices), none; public utilities (roads), 1825-1877; freeholders (property owners entitled to vote) records, 1669-1831; electoral records, 1832-1892; Commissioners of Supply (land tax, roads and bridges), 1825-1877, Lieutenancy and Militia records (administration of local volunteer army), none, records of heritable jurisdictions (landowner's courts), none; plans (disputed properties, railways, etc.), 1777-1956.
3.4.1 Access Conditions Open, except adoption records which are closed for 100 years.
3.4.3 Language of material English
3.4.5 Finding Aids Detailed finding aid available in English
3.7.1 Archivist's Note John S Shaw and George P MacKenzie
3.7.2 Rules or Conventions ISAD(G); EUAN prototype
3.7.3 Date(s) of descriptions 1999


ISAD Ref Element Name Description
3.1.1 Reference Code NL
International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam
3.1.2 Title Amnesty International. International Secretariat
3.1.3 Dates of Creation 1961-1997
3.1.4 Level of Description Fonds
3.1.5 Extent 54.72 metres
3.2.1 Name of Creator Amnesty International. International Secretariat
3.2.2 Administrative / biographical history Founded in 1961 in London; with an appeal to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948, AI aims at a world wide observance of everyone's right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to receive information and to express his or her convictions; as an independent organization, which is not associated with any government, political party, or religious creed, AI seeks to ensure that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention because of his belief, ethnic origin, language or sex and that no one shall be subjected to torture or other ways of inhuman treatment or punishment; hence AI adopts individual prisoners of conscience and works for their release; AI's International Secretariat has its seat in London, while in a great many countries national sections are active; policy decisions for the movement as a whole are decided by the InternationalCouncil, which meets annually and which elects the International Executive Committee (IEC); appointed by the IEC the Secretary General is responsible for the International Secretariat, which carries out research on prisoners, provides information for groups, organizes publicity and arranges missions; AI has a consultative status to the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
3.3.1 Scope and content Records of the International Secretariat in London consisting of agenda, resolutions, discussion papers, reports and other documents relating to meetings of the International Council 1961-1983; agenda papers of the International Executive Committee 1963-1989; circulars 1961-1988; copies of the circular letter Urgent Action 1974-1977, 1982-1991; newsletters 1961-1997; transcriptions of interviews of the Oral History Project with members from the first years; copies of reports, reviews and other publications by AI 1962-1997; press clippings, including cuttings on country backgrounds 1962-1973, 1975-1994.
Papers of Eric Baker 1961-1976.
Microfilms of 'indexed documents' 1974-1996; IEC papers, including correspondence 1973-1993; ICM working files 1980-1983; Secretary General general files 1980-1991; documents on membership development 1980-1989, n.d.; correspondence with governments, legal and international organizations 1979, 1983-1992; documents of the death penalty team, the medical team, the head of research, the refugee coordinator, the audiovisual team and the urgent action team 1975, 1978-1990; files concerning political prisoners in Argentina, Benin, Brazil, the German Democratic Republic, Greece, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Rhodesia, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Uruguay, the USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Zaire and many other countries; files on the campaign abolition torture 1975, 1980-1983; country research files, including documents on Bangladesh, Chile, Guatemala, Israel, United Kingdom, Vietnam and many other countries 1981-1988, n.d.; documents on missions, relief, publicity and other subjects.
3.4.1 Access Conditions Limited. See conditions in the Act of Deposit 01.05.1998
3.4.3 Language of material English
3.4.5 Finding Aids Detailed description available
3.7.1 Archivist's Note Amanda Elsinghorst
3.7.2 Rules or Conventions ISAD(G); EUAN prototype
3.7.3 Date(s) of descriptions 1999


ISAD Ref Element Name Description
3.1.1 Segnatura archivistica IT
US NARA RG331 (documenti originali)
3.1.2 Titolo Commissione Alleata di Controllo
3.1.3 Estremi cronologici 1943-1947 (1939-1947)
3.1.4 Livello di descrizione Serie e fascicoli
3.1.5 Consistenza 9000 bobine di microfilm a 16 mm
3.2.1 Denominazione del soggetto produttore Commissione Alleata di Controllo
3.2.2 Storia istituzionale / amministrativa La Commissione Alleata di Controllo fu creata dalle Forze Alleata per controllare il Governo Italiano nell'Amministrazione dell'Italia occupata durante la seconda Guerra mondiale.
La CAC viene creata verso la fine del controllo diretto del governo militarte alleato (GMA) che era stato organizzato a livello centrale e nelle unità periferiche sul campo. L'esistenza di due organi indipendenti di governo dei territori occupati - CAC e GMA creava una certa sovrapposizione di azione e di giurisdizione. Il 24 gennaio del 1944 con l'ordine generale n.5, la CAC divenne l'unica autorità responsabile sia della Commissione che del governo militare.
3.3.1 Contenuto e struttura Fascicoli, rapporti e carteggio su questioni militari e civili, prodotti a livello nazionale e regionale/provinciale sia all'interno della Commissione che nelle relazioni con le istituzione e le autorità italiane, gli enti pubblici e privati, le neoformazioni politiche e singoli persone.
I documenti sono organizzati - sin dalla loro produzione - in un sistema di classificazione strutturato in 107 indicatori - che riferiscono al livello geografico: nazionale, regionale e provinciale - e da 67 subindicatori, che si riferiscono agli argomenti o alle unità organizzative che li trattano.
3.4.1 Consultabilità Aperto al pubblico eccetto per i documenti che si riferiscono a persone, per i quali è necessaria l'autorizzazione del Ministero dell'interno
3.4.3 Lingua dei documenti Inglese ed Italiano
3.4.5 Strumenti de corredo Inventario preliminare del Record Group 331, National Archives and Records Service, Washington 1982. Pubblicazione in microfil n. 1190 5 bobine che riproducono 18 volumi delle voci a soggetto dei documenti della Commissione Alleata di Controlle, 1943-1947, National Archives and Records Service, Washington 1982
Indice a cura dell'Amministrazione archivistica italiana, in corso (6000 bobine indicizzate)
Inglese, eccetto per l'Indice che è parzialmente in italiano
3.7.1 (Archivist's Note) Bruna Colarossi
3.7.2 (Rules or Conventions) ISAD(G); EUAN prototype
3.7.3 (Date(s) of descriptions) 1999

Back to Top

Last updated 1 March 2000.

This page is maintained for EUAN by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam.
We highly appreciate comments and suggestions.