n.a set of data crafted to identify and represent an archival resource or component thereof Duranti 1993, 52In the 1930s in Europe, description began to be seen as a means for making the user independent of the archivists specialized knowledge, and to be aimed primarily at compiling 'instruments of research' for the user, not the archivist. Moreover, the description activity acquired a non-evaluative character as a consequence of the recognition that its products, in order to be useful for every kind of research, had to serve none in particular.MacNeil 1995, 30Metadata systems capture and communicate information about transactions and the context in which they occur within an electronic record system. . . . Description, on the other hand, captures and communicates knowledge about the broad administrative and documentary contexts of records creation within an organization as a whole as one moves further away from the original circumstances of creation. Its purpose is to preserve, perpetuate, and authenticate meaning over time so that it is available and comprehensible to all users – present and potential.the process of creating a set of data representing an archival resource or compenent thereof
Descriptions are frequently expressed in finding aids and bibliographic records. They are used for discovery and management of archival resources. Descriptions often detail physical characteristics, informational content, and functional purpose. The process of describing archival resources can include analyzing, organizing, and recording details about the formal elements of a record or collection of records, such as creator, title, dates, extent, and contents, to facilitate the work's identification, management, and understanding.