Standards of Description

Collaboration units:
National Palace Museum Library
The Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica

Starting date: September 2001
Revision date: 2001/09、2002/01、2002/03、2003/06、2003/08

References:
Li-Gui Xue, “Study of the MARC Standards for Mandarin Documents”, NCCU Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, NSC Project Reports (NSC 87-2411-H-04-014), July 1998.

Li-Gui Xue, “Study of the Status of Documentation Categorization in Taiwan and the Drafting of Rules for Mandarin Documentation Catalogs (I)”, NCCU Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, NSC Project Reports, (NSC-88-2413-H-004-013), July 1999.

Li-Gui Xue, “Study of the Status of Documentation Categorization in Taiwan and the Drafting of Rules for Mandarin Documentation Catalogs (II)”, NCCU Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies, NSC Project Reports, (NSC-89-2413-H-004-006), July 1999.

Revised by Library Association of the Republic of China Classification and Catalog Committee. Rules for Documentation Classification and Catalog in ROC (2nd edition). Taipei City: Library Association of the Republic of China, 2000.

Compiled by the First Historical Archives of China. Edited Compilation of Documents regarding the Standards of Ming and Qing Documentation works. Beijing: Standards Press of China, 1995.

Zheng-Yun Liu, Jian-Mei Wang, comp. Rules for the Recording of Grand Secretariat Archive Documents. Taipei City: Academia Sinica Institute of History and Philology, 2001. (Internal Documentation, 2001/09/01).

Li-Gui Xue. Guide to Archival Science. Taipei City: Hanmei Publishing House, 1998.
International Council on Archives(ICA). ISAD(G):General International Standard Archival Description. 1994.

Hensen, Steven L. Archives, personal papers, and manuscripts:a cataloging manual for archival repositories, historical societies, and manuscript libraries(APPM). Chicago: SAA, 1989.

Cook, Michael and Procter, Margaret. A manual of archival description. Second edition(MAD2).England: Gower, 1989.

Shepherd, Elizabeth and Smith, Charlotte. "The Application of ISAD(G) to the Description of Archival Datasets"Journal of the Society of Archivists v.21n.1(2000):55-86.

Miller, Fredric M. Arranging and Describing Archives and Manuscripts. Chicago: SAA, 1990.

Cook, Michael. The management of information from archives. England: Gower, 1999.



Standards of Archival Description

A.Description

Chapter 1: General Rules
0 Levels of archive control
1 Structural description
2 Basic elements
3 Professional terms

3.1 Archival description
Archival description is to analyze, organize, and record the archives' content and form to provide definition, management, and positioning to explain the archive collections, the depository, the background of the collection, and the process of establishing a system of information.

3.2 Ming-Qing Archives
Ming-Qing Archives are various valuable historical records directly formed by state agencies, social organizations, and individuals in the process of social activities during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


Chapter 2: Ming-Qing Archival Description Details

0 General Rules

0.1 Formulating principles and the scope of application

(1)Archival description standardization is one of the basic tasks of archive management. These rules are specially formulated to establish the consistency of the Ming and Qing archives catalog, maintain and improve the quality of the catalog, accelerate the digitization of archives, and provide modern retrieval methods and services.

(2)These rules follow the "International Archival Description Principles of ISAD (G)" and the "International Archival Description Standard." They are formulated in consideration of the characteristics of our country's archives, combined with the unique nature of Ming and Qing archives and the actual situation of Ming and Qing archives management and collation.

(3)These rules apply to all departments that collect the Ming and Qing archives and conduct the description of those archives.



0.2 Controlling Level

(1)The management of Ming and Qing archives is divided into five levels in respect of the principle of source, the principle of original order, and the needs of management:
Level 1: Management
Level 2: Record groups
Level 3: Series
Level 4: File folders
Level 5: Items

(2)Management Level
The Ming and Qing archives have gone through times and are stored in different collection sites and units. To obtain a complete archive management structure, a decentralized but information-concentrated directory center was established, and the codes of each collection unit were defined to distinguish management responsibilities clearly. The management level is to describe the collection unit.

(3)Record Groups
Record defines the uppermost structure of the Ming and Qing archives. They are distinguished by the top-level unit of archive establishment. Therefore, the Ming Dynasty archives the first record, and the Qing archives are also a first record, each given with a unit code. Record code cannot be repeated under the management level.

(4)Series
Series are used to define the second-level structure of Ming and Qing archives. They are distinguished by the actual archive establishment unit. If the organization is complex, it can be divided into sub-series. Series code cannot be repeated under record level, and the same goes for file folders.

(5)File Folders
File folders are used to define the third-level structure of Ming and Qing archives. They are distinguished by the business function of the filing unit. Under the series level, file folder code cannot be repeated.

(6)Items
Items are used to define the fourth-tier structure of Ming and Qing archives. Item is the smallest unit of the archives. Under file folders level, items code cannot be repeated.

0.3 Description Items
All catalogs record the following items:
(1)Category
(2)Description level
(3)Entry number
(4)Product name and cause
(5)Post and comment
(6)Document category, document, version
(7)Philology
(8)Text, image
(9)Material
(10)Number
(11)Decoration
(12)Items of responsibility (name, date, time)
(13)Order (order slip: content, date)
(14)Collection history
(15)Preservation condition
(16)Usage limitation
(17)Note
(18)Relation, theme, keyword
(19)Solicitation method
(20)Copyright notice
(21)References
(22)Publishing


0.4 Description Source
Take the original archive as the main source of description, supplement it with other research materials when necessary, or when the original archive is damaged or lost; all shall be marked according to this rule.

0.5 Punctuation marks
[ ] means that it is not from the archive itself, but the content of the bibliography that is verified by other data.
( ) means that it is derived from the archive content, not the content of the main bibliography, but it is a piece of necessary additional information.
, Separation of multi-valued data of different nature in the same column.
; Separation of multi-valued data of the same nature in the same column.
-Linking the beginning and end.
: Note


0.6 Detailed description level
(1)The bibliographic items are divided into necessary items and optional items,. See each bibliographic item for details.
(2)The detailed description level is divided into a brief level and a detailed level.
(3)It is called the brief level, where only the necessary items are described in the entry; it is called the detailed level where the necessary items are not only described but also the selected items.

0.7 Text description
(1)Describe as it is; rather not having it than doing it wrong.
(2)When entering Chinese archives, input ordinary Chinese characters. If the Chinese characters look different due to differences in times, it shall follow the bibliographical description principle and be recorded as it is.
(3)Archives in other ethnic languages shall be translated into ordinary Chinese for data entry according to actual needs.
(4)Regardless of what kind of language the archive is recorded, numbering, such as registration number, quantity, height, time, date, etc., shall be used with Arabic numerals.



1. Bibliographical description rules

1.1 Types
1.1.1 Necessary item.
1.1.2 Definition: the type of an object.
1.1.3 Description method: all Ming-Qing archives shall be labeled as “archives.”



1.2 Description level
1.2.1 Necessary item
1.2.2 Definition: Explain the archive level described in the item.
1.2.3 Description method: refer to 0.2 Controlling Level.
Note: The Grand Secretariat Archive catalog is mainly differentiated into two levels of description: “file” and “part,” representing the catalog’s description level.

1.3 Entry number
1.3.1 Necessary items.
1.3.2 Serves as the only collection number for archive entry, divided into four levels: fond number - serial number - file number - part number.
1.3.3 Description method: refer 0.2 Controlling Level.
Note: Fond number and Serial number are still under negotiation. So far, only the second level is used in the catalog: file number and part number. File numbers are recorded in Arabic numerals in six digits; part numbers are recorded in Arabic numerals in three digits.


1.4 Name and reason
1.4.1 Name
1.4.1.1 Necessary item.
1.4.1.2 Definition: the title drawn by the bibliographic staff for the archive represents the subject of the archive.
1.4.1.3 Description method: concise wordings, within 15 Chinese characters.

1.4.2 Reason
1.4.2.1 Necessary item.
1.4.2.2 Definition: a summary describing the content of the archive, mainly focusing on the persona, event, time, place, and things related to the content of the archive.
1.4.2.3 Description method: about 60 Chinese characters.


1.5 Tie’huang and annotation
1.5.1.1 Selective item.
1.5.1.2 Definition: extract the content of the archive under the Ming-Qing Archival Policies.
1.5.1.3 Description method: record the full text as it is. If tie’huang (a slip of paper summarizing the content) is missing, or the file does not have a tie’huang, it shall not be given a label. During the recording, if there is one missing character, a □ shall be replaced; two missing characters shall be replaced with two □□; three or more missing characters shall be replaced with three □□□.

1.5.2 Annotation
1.5.2.1 Selective item.
1.5.2.2 Definition: the translation of all or part of the archive.
1.5.2.3 Description method: if the archive isn’t in Chinese, it shall be translated and recorded in Chinese.
e.g.: The Manchu part of the test paper of the Grand Secretariat Archive Russian Library is translated to Chinese.


1.6 File type, text document, version
1.6.1 File type
1.6.1.1 Necessary item
1.6.1.2 Definition: file kind and file type mean the file category of the archive.
1.6.1.3 Description method: identify the file kind based on the content and format of the archive, and use standardized terminologies to record.
Note: Archives of the Grand Secretariat, see Attachment 1 - “The Grand Secretariat Archive category - text document table.”

1.6.2 Text document
1.6.2.1 Selective item
1.6.2.2 Definition: refers to the file version of the archives in the Ming and Qing archives system.
1.6.2.3 Description method: describe the file version labeled on the archive. If the cover of the text document doesn’t have any text or doesn’t have a cover, nothing shall be recorded; if the text document has a cover but is damaged, it shall be recorded as “damaged.”
Note: Archives of the Grand Secretariat, see Attachment 1 - “The Grand Secretariat Archive category - text document table.”

1.6.3 Version
1.6.3.1 Selective item.
1.6.3.2 Definition: file version means the collection version under the management policies.
1.6.3.3 Description method: divided into two kinds: original and copy.  

1.7 Language
1.7.1 Necessary Item
1.7.2 Definition: the language of the archive.
1.7.3 Description method: identify the language and record based on the language used in the archive. Describe in a single language if only one language is used, such as Manchu; describe in multiple languages if many languages are used, such as Manchu and Chinese. If the language used cannot be identified, it shall not be recorded, such as signatures.
Note: The languages used in the Grand Secretariat Archive are Manchu, Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Russian, etc.


1.8 Text & image
1.8.1 Text
1.8.1.1 Selective item
1.8.1.2 Definition: Means the text direction of archive content.
1.8.1.3 Description method: shall be described with standardized terminologies, according to the text layout direction of the archive content.
e.g. sinistrodextral, dextrosinistral, palindrome, etc.
Note: The Grand Secretariat has sinistrodextral, dextrosinistral, Ching dextrosinistral, Chinese sinistrodextral.

1.8.2 Image
1.8.2.1 Selective item
1.8.2.2 Definition: refers to the attached image in the archive, such as images on the border, in-text, or footages.
1.8.2.3 Description method: record the image name if the archive has an image name,  such as the moon eclipse image; if a background image, border style, pattern, or illustration has an official name, record its official name. For example, a nominative command is printed with a dragon-patterned border. If the archive image is not labeled with a name or does not have an official name, a black and white image shall be recorded as “image”; a colored image shall be recorded as “colored image.”


1.9 Material
1.9.1 Necessary item
1.9.2 Definition: means the physical material of the archive
1.9.3 Description method: Use standardized terminologies to record the physical material of the archive.
e.g. paper, silk, etc.


1.10 Number
1.10.1 Necessary item
1.10.2 Definition: the numeral unit of the archive.
1.10.3 Description method: use “piece” as the unit; use Arabic numerals.


1.11 Binding, height & width
1.11.1 Binding
1.11.1.1 Necessary item
1.11.1.2 Definition: the binding method of an archive.
1.11.1.2.3 Description method: Use standardized terminologies to record the binding method of the original archive.
e.g. Folded pieces, folded with banner paper; scroll; booklet, compiled into a book.

1.11.2 Height & width
1.11.2.1 Necessary item
1.11.2.2 Definition: refers to the archive’s height and width.
1.11.2.3 Description method: use centimeter as the unit to record height and width; use Arabic numerals in integers. The archive itself shall be the main description subject, without recording the height and width attachment. The main archive shall be recorded with its frontal height and width, instead of the expanded measurements.
Note: Routine Memorials 24*12; Secret Memorials 25*12; Palace Memorial (Additional Secret Memorials) 23*11, 27*12; Communication Copy 24*12; Duplicate Copy 24*12.

1.12 Responsible items
1.12.1 Necessary item
1.12.2 Definition: normally refers to the information of archive creation.
1.12.3 Description method: divided into responsible persons, date of responsibility, place of responsibility.
1.12.3.1 The responsible person shall follow the principle of recording according to the name on the file. If there are multiple people or multiple units, with two or less people/units, record as it is. If there are three people or more, record the name of the first person with "etc" indicating multiple persons. If there are three units or more, record the name of the first unit and add “etc” to indicate multiple units.  
1.12.3.2 Responsible date shall be recorded as the date marked on the archive. The year, month, and day of the Chinese calendar shall be recorded in Arabic numerals. If the person cannot be identified, label as “N.A.”; if the person is not indicated, label as “?”
1.12.3.3 Responsible place shall be recorded as to where the archive content’s responsible location is.
Note: The Grand Secretariat Archive description items as the following:
(1)Responsible person: name, title
(1.1) Name:
Could be the names of the Secret Memorial submitter or submitting unit, Routine Memorial submitter, the Emperor, etc.
(1.1.1) Record as it is if the archive has the complete name and name of the unit.
(1.1.2) If the archive only has a last name, and the first name can be found in other credible sources, record the full name with a note [ ]. e.g. [Shi Yizhi]. If not a person’s name but a unit name that is not on the archive, or a simplified name with missing parts, find its complete unit name from other researched sources with a note [ ]. e.g. [Ministry of Rites].
(1.1.3) If the archive only has a last name, and the first name couldn’t be found in any other credible sources, record the last name. e.g. Yang. If the archive has a simplified or missing unit name, and the complete name couldn’t be found in other credible sources, record as it is.
(1.1.4) If the mistake in the name of the archive is confirmed, not someone else, translation, modified characters, or simplified name, etc, correct the mistake with a note [ ] and add (original: ) at the end for additional explanation. e.g. [Tseng Guofan] (Original text: Tseng Guophan].
(1.2) Position and title
(1.2.1) Record only if the responsible person is a name. Do not record the position if the responsible person is a unit.
(1.2.2) Position and title include official names and titles, such as prince, emperor, etc.
(1.2.3) When recording official names, only actual titles shall be recorded.
(1.2.4) If the original text is a description of the official instead of an official’s name, record the official’s name. Such as: Governing Shandong, record “Shandong Governor.”
(1.2.5) In the actual title, if there is a statement of affairs under the jurisdiction of the official position, only the official position shall be recorded. Such as: Governing Jiangsu and other places by managing military affairs, food, and payment, record it as "Governor of Jiangsu." If it is not an official duty within the official’s responsibilities, it shall be recorded together. For example, for the Governor of Huguang also appointed the Governor-general of Hubei, record "The Governor of Huguang also appointed the Governor-general of Hubei."

(2)Responsible date, divided into Chinese calendar and Western calendar
(2.1) Chinese calendar
(2.1.1) The emperor’s reign and the date shall be recorded. The year shall be recorded with Arabic numerals, such as: January 1, 1st Year of Qianlong’s Reign).
(2.1.2) Record “N.A.” if the responsible date is not available. If the dynasty can be inferred from the archive content, add ( ) for additional information at the end. e.g. [N.A.] (Ching)
(2.1.3) Do not record the year, month, and day if the specific date is not indicated in the archive. e.g. For the first year of Qianlong, record as “The 1st Year of Qianlong’s Reign”.
(2.1.4) Use 「﹖」if the year, month, and day of the archive is missing. e.b. Qianlong January 1, (missing year), record 1st year of Qianlong’s Reign.
(2.1.5) Specify with [ ] if the responsible date is known from speculation. e.g. [Qianlong] January 1, 1975, [1st year of Qianlong’s Reign], [? year of Qianlong’s Reign]
(2.1.6) Add “*” in front of “month” for leap moth. e.g. February* 2nd, 2nd year of Yongzheng’s Reign.

(3) Responsible place
(3.1) Use the written location on the archive as the source for description, with “province” as the unit. It also means that when a local official is on duty for something, the name of the responsible place shall be recorded. For example, the governor of Guangdong reported something in the province shall be recorded as "Guangdong Province."
(3.1.1) Fill in the location name of the responsible time.
(3.1.2) Fill in the place where the incident of the archive happened.
(3.1.3) If the incident occurred across multiple administrative districts, record them accordingly, and distinguish the names of different administrative districts with ";".
(3.1.4) If the administrative region where the incident occurred is not clear, the official position of the responsible person can clearly identify the administrative region under jurisdiction, and record the name of the administrative area under jurisdiction. If there are more than one, use “;” to differentiate. For example, the region known as “Two Guang” (兩廣) shall be recorded as: Guangdong Province; Guangxi Province.
(3.1.5) If the administrative region where the incident occurred is not clear, and the official position of the responsible person cannot clearly identify the administrative region under jurisdiction, record the name of the geographical area in the official position of the responsible person and add [ ]. For example: Xuan Da Shanxi, record as: [Xuan Da Shanxi].
(3.1.6) If the administrative region where the incident occurred is not clear, the official position of the responsible person cannot clearly identify the administrative bureau under its jurisdiction, and the geographical scope of the official position cannot be verified, record [Unknown].
(3.2) The officials of the central government have no jurisdiction, so there is no need to record the place of responsibility. Therefore, neither the Memorial Copies or Communication Records hall be recorded.
(3.3) Not to be recorded temporarily.


1.13 Instructions
1.13.1 Selective item
1.13.2 Definition: refers to the content information of the archive that should be approved by the decision-maker.
1.13.3 Description method: divided into approval content, approval date.
1.13.3.1 Content of instructions shall follow actual-recording as the principle.
1.13.3.2 Instruction date shall be recorded with the same method as 1.12.3.2
Note: Grand Secretariat Archive description is divided into instruction content and instruction date. Instruction content generally refers to the instruction written in the archives. It shall be recorded as it is whether it is a vermilion endorsement or blue endorsement . The date of instruction is based on the date shown on the archive as the source of description. Record if the date is shown; do not record if the date isn’t shown.


1.14 Collection history
1.14.1 Selective item
1.14.2 Definition: refers to the archive’s collection places in the past
1.14.3 Description method: list the names of archive museums in chronological order.
Note: The collection storehouses before the Grand Secretariat Archive moved to Academia Sinica Institute of History and Philology, such as the Archives of the Grand Secretariat and the Old Archives of Shenyang, etc.


1.15 Preservation condition
1.15.1 Necessary item
1.15.2 Definition: record the current status of archive preservation.
1.15.3 Description method: If the file is complete, record "complete"; if the beginning and the end are complete, only partially broken, and can be repaired or the integrity of the content is not affected, record “complete.” Basically, if the sub-page of the archive is complete, record “complete.” If the archive is broken and the integrity of its content is affected, record "incomplete." In general, if there are missing pages in the archive, record "incomplete." The repair status depends on whether the archive needs to be repaired in the future, and shall be recorded as "to be repaired.”


1.16 Limitations of use
1.16.1 Necessary item
1.16.2 Definition: record relative restrictions on the archive’s open usage.
1.16.3 Description method: divided into exhibition limitations, browsing limitations, copy limitations.


1.17 Remarks
1.17.1 Selective item
1.17.2 Definition: Information related to the archive that cannot be put in other columns.
1.17.3  Description method: the description column is separated by ":", and then fill in the description content.
Note:
(1)If in decoration, the document was changed to Mounting Scroll, record as “Decoration: Changed to Mounting Scroll”.
(2)Currently three items are used:
a. Document Type: Copy of Communication Record.
b. Translation: Manchurian awaiting translation.
c. Decoration: 00001-000005 under the same Event Summarization.
d. Version: Printed, Printed and Written-in-Ink, Printed and Ink-Filled.
(3) For any items directly quoted from the documentation, if there were apparent gaps in between words and our item filled with own words, an extra notation of [] is needed; for example, for “Code of Laws”, the original document only recorded “Code of. If the document’s document had obvious wording errors, and our item corrected it, it is necessary to add an extra notion of [] to the corrected version, and supplement with (Original text: ) to illustrate the original content; for example, record as “[Wu-wei] Event (Original text: Wu-wai)”. If there were obvious wording errors or gaps in one place of document and the correct version exist elsewhere in the same document, then directly correct the incorrect places. In this scenario, each items directly correct the incorrect categories and items without the need to add additional notations.

1.18 Relations, subject, keywords
1.18.1 See edit B.
Note: Description of the Grand Secretariat Archive:
(1.1) Relations
(1.1.1) different documentation of the same case: the Memorial, the Memorial Copy, or Printed Copy, which all belonged to different document classifications. Such relationships include leveling, correspondence (which includes corresponding Routine Memorials and its Duplicate Copy, corresponding texts in Initial and Routine Memorials, corresponding texts in Secret and Routine Memorials, etc.), and lost.
(1.2) Subject
(1.2.1) divided into content analysis, archive analysis, etc.
(1.2.2) Currently, clearly marked ones include “Taiwan,” “palace memorial with red endorsement,” “blue endorsement,” etc.
(1.2.3) Do not record temporarily.

(1.3) Keywords
(1.3.1) Record important words such as persons, places, events, things, groups in the archives.
(1.3.2)  Do not record temporarily.


1.19 Solicitation method
1.19.1 Necessary item
1.19.2 Definition: the way in which the archive was obtained.
1.19.3 Description method: Donation refers to a free gift given by the donor; transfer refers to the transfer of the collection site by another unit in accordance with regulations or other orders; purchase refers to the purchase of funds from the depository.


1.20 Copyright notice
1.20.1 Necessary item
1.21.2 Definition: declare the ownership of this archive and the copyright of this item.
Note: Written by the Grand Secretariat Archive “All rights reserved by the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.”


1.21 References
1.21.1 Selective item
1.21.2 Definition: if information in the item description does not come from the archive itself, the source of reference shall be indicated.
1.21.3 Description method: divide into three columns: article title, issue name/book title/database name, and author.


1.22 Publishing
1.22.1 Selective item
1.22.2 Definition: publication that includes and publishes the archive.
1.22.3 Description method: divided into three columns: publication name, volume/book, and page.
Note: If one document is collected in Ming and Qing Historical Documentation as First-07-125, then the description follows: Publication name “Ming and Qing Historical Documentation”, Volume “First-07”, and Page “125”.


1.23 Appendix
1.23.1 Selective item
1.23.2 Definition: except for the archive itself, other included objects that are not the archive itself.
1.23.3 Description method: the name of the bibliographic attachment and the time information contained in the attachment.

B. Index

Chapter 1: Search item selection (keywords)
Chapter 2: Personal name heading
Chapter 3: Group heading
Chapter 4: Location name heading
Chapter 5: Subject