<headdesc> is a new element in EAD3 and an optional child element of <maintenanceevent>. This element was introduced to accommodate the frustration that archivists and archival technicians sometimes feel. The element may or may not contain text but must include one of the following values for @headdesctype: “material,” “donor,” “code,” “colleagues,” “administration,” “otherheaddesctype.” If “otherheaddesctype” is chosen, @otherheaddesctype should be used to record a local value for additional sources of headdesc moments (consider defining this list in <localtypedeclaration>).


  • @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.” Internal is recommended for this element
  • @encodinganalog – not required. May contain information to map this tag to a particular element in another schema.
  • @headdesctyperequired. Designates the types of headdesc, using the following list: material, donor, code, colleagues, administration, otherheaddesctype.
  • @id – not required. Creates an ID for element. Can be used for linking.
  • @lang – not required. Three-letter code that indicates the language in which the element’s contents were written. It should come from ISO 639-2b.
  • @otherheaddesctype – not required. Defines the type of headdesc being described. Use if “otherheaddesctype” was used in @headdesctype. Ideally it should be derived from a standardized local vocabulary.
  • @script – not required. Four-letter code that indicates the script in which the element’s contents were written. It should come from ISO 15924.

Child Elements

<headdesc> may contain text.

Adjacent Elements

<headdesc> is preceded by the required <agent> and may be followed by the optional <eventdescription>.


	<eventtype value="revised"/>
	<eventdatetime standarddatetime="2014-03-01T10:05:23Z">1 March 2014</eventdatetime>
	<agenttype value="human"/>
	<agent>Felicia Flitwick</agent>
	<headdesc headdesctype="code">The previous version of this finding aid had several poor encoding choices which made the process more difficult</code>
	<headdesc headdesctype="administration"/>
	<eventdescription>Conversion from EAD 2002 revised.</eventdescription>

EAD3 Tag Library Entry

View the official tag library entry for <headdesc>