multilevel description

n.DescriptionA finding aid or other access tool that consists of separate, interrelated descriptions of the whole and its parts, reflecting the hierarchy of the materials being described.


Multilevel description proceeds from the general to the specific. Each level contains information relevant only to that level. Descriptions of a subordinate part does not repeat information in a description of its parent, with the exception of information necessary to link the part to its parent.


ISAD(G) 2000, p. 12 If the fonds as a whole is being described, it should be represented in one description. If description of the parts is required, they may be described separately. The sum total of all descriptions thus obtained, linked in a hierarchy represents the fonds and those parts for which descriptions were made. For the purposes of these rules, this technique of description is called multilevel description. [Abridged.]