3.1.4 Level of description
Purpose – To identify the level of arrangement of the unit of description
Rule – Record the level of this unit of description
This field has always been for the archivists and it is questionable if users have ever understood what it means. Where born digital material is being incorporated into existing arrangements it will be necessary for a decision to be made as to what ‘level’ it fits in at for the purpose of consistency with past practice. It is questionable however, whether this past practice is entirely appropriate or translatable to collections of wholly born digital material (e.g. Web Archives are often ‘arranged’ thematically – http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/collection/) and our attitudes to it probably need to evolve in the near future.
For the sake of consistency, where born digital material is being assigned a level, it is probably an idea to try to ensure that the level which is normally the deliverable unit for paper material (be that file or item level) is also the level which is normally the deliverable unit for born digital material.
My current feeling is that the difficulty of applying traditional arrangement practices to born-digital collections is over-stated. Hierarchical structures are certainly inherent in the way that many creators organise their digital records.
Where web archives are arranged thematically, I can't immediately see how these are different from any other artificial collections. Other web archives may have a more 'natural' arrangement. For cataloguing purposes, each website within the UK Government web archive is treated as a series and the catalogue entries fit quite neatly into TNA's Discovery system alongside other digital and non-digital records from the same fonds. Show more 2 years ago