The National Archives Catalog


The purpose of the Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide is to offer a framework that explains the elements (fields) used to capture lifecycle data at the National Archives and Records Administration. This edition of the guide does not cover data requirements for the entire lifecycle of archival materials; it contains data requirements for the archival description portion of the lifecycle only. The framework applies to all descriptions of permanent archival materials written by NARA - in the regions, in Washington, DC, and in the Presidential libraries. It applies to Federal and Presidential records and donated materials. The framework will help us create complete and consistent descriptions by providing guidelines for the content of an element and noting when an authority source is used for the value of an element.

Though this document explains the content of the elements, it is not the same as a user manual. It does not instruct you on how to operate a database or show sample screens. To understand how to use a system itself (paper or automated), you should consult the user manual for the application you are using.

A Work In Progress

Remember that the Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide is, and always will be, a work in progress. There will be changes to our descriptive practices as lifecycle systems are implemented and maintained, as we continue to accession new materials, and as our business practices improve. These changes will be reflected by creating new elements or deleting unneeded ones, by updating the definition, purpose, relationship, or guidance statements, and by continually maintaining the authority sources to keep them accurate and current.