<did> Descriptive Identification

<did> is the only required element in <archdesc>. It is used to bundle other elements identifying core information about the described materials. These elements should constitute a good basic description of the archival unit. It can also be used to serve the same purpose inside <c> or even <c01> (etc.). The subelements are only intended for brief statements of information and, except in <note>, do not require <p> to encode their text.

The <did> in <archdesc> is called a high level <did>. The LOC website suggests using the following elements in this level: <head>, <origination>, <unittitle>, <physdesc>, <repository>, and <abstract>. Inside a component (<c>) element, the <did> may be less complete and only include a <container> or <unitid> and a <unittitle>.

<did> can only be used in <archdesc>, <archdescgrp>, <c>, <c01>, <c02>, … , <c12>.


  • 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.


Because it can be used within <archdesc> and <c>, which have different needs, there are no required subelements inside <did>.

It may contain: <abstract>, <container> (which is not used in high level <did>), <dao>, <daogrp>, <head>, <langmaterial>, <materialspec>, <note>, <origination>, <physdesc>, <physloc>, <repository>, <unitdate>, <unitid>, and <unittitle>.

Our EAD file so far

Let’s add in a <did>, which we’ll populate as we go. Since <head> is a generic element, let’s put that in now. We’re not going to put in a <note>.

		<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">

EAD tag library entry for <did>.