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Date added 13 December 2006
Last edited 12 November 2009

Full Title

General International Standard Archival Description


A set of general rules for archival description intended to:

  • Ensure the creation of consistent, appropriate and self explanatory descriptions
  • Facilitate the retrieval and exchange of information about archival material
  • Enable the sharing of authority data
  • Make possible the integration of descriptions from different repositories into a unified information system
As general rules, they are intended to be broadly applicable to descriptions of archives regardless of their nature or the extent of the unit of description. The rules guide the formulation of information in each of twenty-six (26) elements, divided between 7 sections, that may be combined to constitute the description of an archival entity.

Standards Developing Organisation



No information available.

Lifecycle Actions

Access, Use and Reuse
Create or Receive
Description and Representation Information

Standard Frameworks

Digital Archive Standards
Electronic Records Management Standards

Standard Type

Metadata Structure Standards

Current Version

2000 - ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd edition [external PDF]
Also available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish from the ICA Committee on Descriptive Standards.

Further Information

Alternative Current Versions


Previous Version

1993 - (General International Standard Archival Description, 1st edition) [external]
ISAD(G), 1st edition is not made available from the ICA website any more, but can be found at the above location for the time being.

Referenced Standards

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, 2nd edition
ISO 2788:1986, Documentation - Guidelines for the Establishment and Development of Monolingual Thesauri
ISO 5963:1985, Documentation - Methods for Examining Documents, Determining their Subject, and Selecting Indexing Terms
ISO 690:1987, Documentation - Bibliographic References - Content, Form and Structure
ISO 999:1996, Information and Documentation -Guidelines for the Content, Organization and Presentation of Indexes