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<controlaccess> Controlled Access Headings

<controlaccess> is a wrapper element used to designate key access points for descibed materials. It enables authority-controlled searching across finding aids on a network. It may be used at multiple levels within a finding aid. Higher-level <controlaccess> elements should encode access points which are relevant to larger portions of the collection, whereas lower-level ones may specify access points which only apply to a file or item.

<controlaccess> is one of the elements which may be used within <archdesc>, <archdescgrp>, <c>, <c01> through <c12>, and <descgrp>.


  • 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.


<controlaccess> may contain further <controlaccess> elements, as well as <address>, <blockquote>, <chronlist>, <corpname>, <famname>, <function>, <genreform>, <geogname>, <head>, <list>, <name>, <note>, <occupation>, <p>, <persname>, <subject>, <table>, and <title>. Note, since PCDATA is not used within this element, it serves as a wrapper, at least of a <p> element containing the actual text.

Although names and terms from locally-controlled vocabularies are permissible, the <controlaccess> subelements (<corpname>, <famname>, <function>, <genreform>, <geogname>, <occupation>, <persname>, <subject>, and <title>) should come from national or international vocabularies whenever they are available to enable searches in information systems that include multiple finding aids, or finding aids and bibliographic records from many institutions.

The subelements mentioned in the previous paragraph all have SOURCE attributes, which should be used to specify the source of the heading (such as source=”lcsh”). Their RULES element may be used to specify the descreptive rules which were used to formulate the heading (such as rules=”AACR2″). The attribute AUTHFILENUMBER may be used to identify the authority file record which provides additional information about the access term. If using AUTHFILENUMBER, SOURCE should also be used. ROLE may be used to specify the heading’s role in the collection—creator, subject, etc.


An example of how <controlaccess> may be used:

	<head>Personal, Corporate, and Subject Headings</head>
		<persname source="local">Bell, Sarah J.</persname>
		<head>Corporate Bodies</head>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">Central Mindanao University</corpname>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">Literacy Volunteers of America</corpname>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">Massachusetts Institute of Technology</corpname>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">Peace Corps (U.S.)</corpname>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">St. John's College (Annapolis, MD)</corpname>
		<corpname source="local">Towle Institute</corpname>
		<corpname source="lcnaf">University of British Columbia</corpname>
		<subject source="lcnaf">Peace Corps (U.S.)</subject>
		<subject source="lcnaf">Peace Corps (U.S.)--Philippines</subject>

EAD tag library entry for <controlaccess>.