The National Archives Catalog

Personal Contributor

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Level Available A/V Only Public Element
No Yes Variable Character Length (700) Person Authority File Series
File Unit
No Yes



The name of an individual, other than the archival creator, responsible for the intellectual, technical, artistic, or financial production of the archival materials.


Purpose: Enables users to search for archival materials by the people responsible for authoring or contributing to the archival materials.


Relationship: This element and Personal Contributor Type are dependent on each other. For each personal contributor, Personal Contributor and Personal Contributor Type must both be included. If one person has contributed in multiple ways, he or she may be represented in Personal Contributor once and associated with several terms in Personal Contributor Type.



Choose the name of the personal contributor from the Person Authority File. The Person Authority File is based on the Library of Congress Name Authority File.

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. 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.

Do not confuse Personal Contributor with Creating Individual. Do not repeat the name of the archival creator in this field, particularly at the series level, unless the person acted in some other distinct role, such as "Director," "Artist," or "Correspondent." In cases where an individual is named in the series title but is not the archival creator, place the individual's name in this field and select "Originator" as Contributor Type.

Do not confuse Personal Contributor with Personal Reference. The "contributor" describes whom the records are by while the "reference" describes whom the records are about.

If the role of the person is not clear or the person acts as both a contributor and subject, indicate the person in both Personal Contributor and Personal Reference.

If the type of contributor is unknown or uncertain, then select "Other" and explain the circumstances further in Scope and Content Note. For example, a film may have the words "presented by" on it without clearly identifying the role of the presenter.


Personal Contributor - Space, Kenneth F.
Personal Contributor Type - Photographer
Personal Contributor Type - Copyright holder
Creating Organization - Harmon Foundation, Inc.
[For the series "Kenneth Space Photographs of the Activities of Southern Black Americans," which were taken by Mr. Space in the 1930s and 1940s when he worked for the Harmon Foundation.]


Creating Organization - Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Secretary of the Army. Chief of Public Affairs. Broadcast Pictorial Branch. Command Information Unit.
Personal Contributor - Field, Stanley
Personal Contributor Type - Producer
Personal Contributor - Eskind, David B.
Personal Contributor Type - Author
[For one of the sound recordings in the series "Army Hour."]


Title - Sarah Weddington's Subject Files
Creating Organization - President (1977-1981 : Carter). Office of the Assistant to the President for Women's Affairs.
Personal Contributor - Weddington, Sarah Ragle
Personal Contributor Type - Originator

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