The National Archives Catalog

Language

 
Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
Yes* Yes Variable Character Length (60) Language List Series
File Unit
Item
No Yes

*Language is mandatory at the Series Level only.

Definition: The language of the archival materials.

 

Purpose: Alerts users of the language used in archival materials and the user can determine if a translation would be needed.

 

Relationship: This element is independent.

 

Guidance:

Choose the appropriate language of the archival materials from the Language Authority List. The Language Authority List is based on the MARC Language Code List.

Use this element when all or a portion of the archival materials is in a language, and even when there is no linguistic content.

"English" may be entered. There is no implied language. If the archival materials are in both English and another language, place both or multiple languages in this element and explain further in  Scope and Content Note.

When there is no specific language used in the records, such as a photograph, music, or silent film without text or spoken words, use No Linguistic Content.

This data is called an "access point." At the series level, access points must be "anchored" or explained in the descriptive record in which the access point appears. However, when the primary language of the records is English, anchoring is best practice but not required. Access points may be anchored in narrative fields like Title, Scope and Content Note, Function and Use, and Shot List or in Creating Organization; access points are not considered anchored by the Container List field. Ask yourself the question "will it be apparent to the user how these holdings relate to the access point I have chosen."

At the file unit and item levels, it is best practice to anchor the terms, and you are encouraged but not required to adhere to best practice.

 

Examples:
German

 

Dutch

 

Portuguese

 

Algonquian (Other)

 



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