<physloc> Physical Location

<physloc> is used to encode information which identifies the storage location of the described materials. This may include building, room, stack, shelf, or other tangible area, as well as any internal descriptive systems. This should not be confused with <container>, which is used to identify the storage devices holding the materials (boxes, cartons, folders, reels, etc.) or with <repository>, which identifies the institution or agency responsible for providing intellectual access to the described materials.

The element may be used inside <did> and <archref>. At a high-level <did>, it should be used to identify the location of entire collection, while at a lower level, it may be used to identify the location of specific folders, files, etc., within larger containers, as desired.


  • ALTRENDER – not required. Use if the content of the element should be displayed or printed differently than the rendering established in a style sheet for other occurrences of the element.
  • AUDIENCE – not required. Use to set whether the element’s contents will be visible to external users or to internal ones. Possible values are: “internal” and “external.”
  • ID – not required. Creates an ID for element. Can be used for linking.
  • ENCODINGANALOG – not required. May contain information to map this tag to a particular element in another schema.
  • LABEL – not required. This can be used when a meaningful display label for an element can’t be derived by the stylesheet from its name. It is available in all <did> subelements. It may be useful to label this as something like “Location.”
  • PARENT – not required. This linking attribute may be used as a pointer to a container which holds the container being described (e.g. a box which holds the folder being described).
  • TYPE – not required. May be used to identify the nature of the storage location.

Note: The tag library notes that it may be desirable to set AUDIENCE element to “internal” to shield public access to the materials. The element may also be repeated with differing values for AUDIENCE, so the public sees something general and the staff sees the specific location.


<physloc> will likely PCDATA. It can also include the following generic subelements: <abbr>, <archref>, <bibref>, <emph>, <expan>, <extptr>, <extref>, <lb />, <linkgrp>, <ptr>, <ref>, and <title>.


See DACS Section 4.2, Physical access. Added value. (DACS 2013, pp.53-54)

Our EAD file so far

Adding an external location for public display and an internal location for retrieval:

		<eadid countrycode="us" mainagencycode="dgwl" url="http://www.eadiva.com/sample/">rkt-01</eadid>
				<titleproper>Inventory of Something Useful for Learning EAD <date>2012-2013</date></titleproper>
				<subtitle>A totally awesome finding aid with a subtitle too</subtitle>
				<author>Ruth K. Tillman, the EADiva</author>
				<sponsor>Encoding thanks to EADiva's donation of her spare time.</sponsor>
			<editionstmt><edition>1st ed.</edition>
			<p>Didn't need to specify since it's first edition, but wanted to use the fields.</p>
					<addressline>1600 Pennsylvania Ave</addressline>
					<addressline>Washington, DC, 20001</addressline>
					<addressline>Phone: 202-555-1234</addressline>
			<seriesstmt><p>Bell Family Papers</p>
					<p>The materials in this finding aid are based on an actual collection of Sarah J. Bell Kitchin's letters.</p>
					<p>This finding aid was created as a project for the EADiva.com website.</p>
			<creation>This finding aid was encoded by Ruth K. Tillman, on <date normal="20121118">November 18th, 2012</date>, using Notepad++. Material was generated off the top of her head.</creation>
			<langusage>This finding aid is written in <language langcode="eng">English</language>.
			<descrules>This finding aid was prepared using Ruth's understanding of EAD and her use of the LOC EAD 2002 official website.</descrules>
				<date normal="20121204">December 4, 2012</date>
				<item>This finding aid was edited by Ruth Tillman in order to clarify contents in eadheader.</item>
		<p>This inventory was prepared as part of the EADiva website to demonstrate EAD encoding of finding aids. It encodes information about the collection of the papers of Sarah Bell Kitchin as well as made-up information used to make the finding aid use more example elements. Like this one.</p></div>
			<titleproper>Inventory of Something Useful for Learning EAD <date>2012-2013</date></titleproper>
			<subtitle>A totally awesome finding aid with a subtitle too</subtitle>
			<author>Ruth K. Tillman, the EADiva</author>
	<archdesc level="collection">
			<abstract label="Abstract">Sarah J. Bell Kitchin, a Peace Corps Volunteer and professor of linguistics at the University of British Columbia. Her letters home from the Philippines (1967-1969) and Russia. Letters from members of the Bell family (1967-2000).
			<langmaterial label="Language">Correspondence in <language langcode="eng">English</language>.
			<physdesc label="Extent"><extent type="shelf" unit="feet">0.25 linear feet</extent>
			<extent type="box">(1 oversize box)</extent>;
			<extent type="contents">52 letters<extent> written on oversized <dimensions type="width" unit="inches">9 in.</dimensions> x <dimensions type="height" unit="inches">12 in.</dimensions> paper.</extent>
			<physfacet type="writing">handwritten</physfacet>
			<physfacet type="writingstyle">cursive</physfact>
			<physloc label="Location" audience="external">Manuscripts</physloc>
			<physloc audience="internal">MS-511</physloc>

EAD tag library entry for <physloc>.