The National Archives Catalog

Program Area

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Public Element
No Yes Variable Character Length (700) Program Area Thesaurus Yes


Definition: The function or program area of the organization.


Purpose: Provides an access point for users to search for organizations by function. Associates specific program areas with specific organizations.


Relationship: This element is dependent on Organization Name. To have Program Area, Organization Name must be created.



Select an appropriate term to index the organization's function from the Program Area Thesaurus.

The terms should indicate the principal missions or areas of activity of the organization. To determine a Federal organization's function(s), consult available editions of the U.S. Government Manual; the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States; organization and functions manuals; establishing legislation, executive or departmental orders, or other directives.

Generally, broader terms should be assigned to higher-level organizations, such as departmental organizations, and more specific terms should be applied to organizations having narrower program areas.

Be sure to indicate the program area of the organization itself and not its parent organization or the subject of the records of the organization. The subject of the archival materials themselves are indexed under Subject Reference.

Any terms used to index the organization's functions must be described in Administrative History Note or referenced in Organization Name.


Organization Name - Department of Agriculture.
Program Area - Agriculture


Organization Name - Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Animal Industry.
Program Area - Agricultural research
Program Area - Livestock


Organization name - Department of Defense. Department of the Army.
Program Area - National defense


Organization Name - Department of Defense. Department of the Army. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Program Area - Military training
Program Area - Combat development

Table of Contents
Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide