Purpose - To name the unit of description
Rules – Provide either a formal title or a supplied title in accordance with the rules of multilevel description and national conventions. If appropriate abridge a long formal title, but only if this can be done without loss of essential information. For supplied titles, at the higher level, include the name of the creator of the records. At lower levels one may include, for example, the name of the author of the document and a term indicating the form of the material comprising the unit of description and, where appropriate, a phrase reflecting function, activity, subject, location, or theme. Distinguish between formal and supplied titles according to national or language conventions.
For born digital archives, we are a bit torn. On the one hand we do feel that what should be used as the title is the original file name in use when the material is accessioned/ingested. This will allow for the automatic population of this field (a pragmatic need) but also is more in tune with our sense that the original title should always be protected and privileged over any supplied title.
However, we recognise that we are then totally reliant on the quality of the original file naming, and may well end up with some very ‘unhelpful’ file names, such as ‘My stuff’ or, something like this ‘2222_0040_0002_532.tif’ (a real example again from the Wellcome Library - http://archives.wellcomelibrary.org/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=show.tcl&dsqSearch=%28RefNo==%27GRLIDN%2FF%2F4%27%29)
On the flip side (and perhaps less problematically), where file naming conventions are consistently enforced we may also come across occasions when date information is duplicated within the title field, e.g. at TfL the conventions are to always include the date in the file name.
Given the scale we face however, we think it is likely that pragmatism will win out and that the ‘norm’ will be for this field to be filled automatically with whatever file name is given by the creators/users. Archives may of course take the view that, where possible (and even though the feeling is that it will never be possible) meaningless titles will be supplemented with further more meaningful detail. This will, however, lead to some inconsistency in practice. Perhaps we should just cut our losses now and say that the title field is the file name, and we know this will result in some meaningless titles, but there you go. Where we can we will try to add in more meaningful description to the scope and content field and this will have implications for perhaps adding scope and content to the minimum mandatory fields for information exchange.
The same will be true with regard to original folder names, where the decision has been taken to replicate a pre-existing directory structure within the arrangement of a collection, e.g. http://archives.wellcomelibrary.org/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=show.tcl&dsqSearch=%28RefNo==%27GRLIDN%2FF%2F22%27%29
The decision as to whether directory structures should be so replicated or not is discussed in notes under system of arrangement.
I am generally sceptical about the very concept of 'supplied' titles, both for digital and non-digital records. A 'title' devised by the archivist is really a description and it becomes difficult or impossible to draw a sensible distinction between what belongs in Title and what belongs in Scope and content. One of my personal hobby horses is that ISAD(G)'s insistence on a mandatory Title element is an unhelpful prescription, tied to a bibliographic mindset. It's tempting to take Natalie's idea further and propose that what should really be mandatory is a title or description.
I agree with Marc that having dates, names etc in a filename is really a non-problem. Show more 1 year ago
‘Meaningless titles, there you go’ – yes with content search possible, and without knowledge of what future technology may offer. Show more 1 year ago