<physdescstructured> Structured Physical Description

<physdescstructured> is a new element in EAD3 which may be used within <did> or <physdescset> to create a structured description of the amount of material. This amount may be divided into space occupied, type of material, or carrier used for storing the material (e.g. boxes, hard drive). Unlike <physdesc>, expressions of amount in <physdescstructured> can be expressed in machine-readable form.


  • @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.”
  • @coverageREQUIRED. Defines whether the description refers to the whole or just part of the materials. Possible values: whole, part
  • @encodinganalog – not required. May contain information to map this tag to a particular element in another schema.
  • @id – not required. Creates an ID for element. Can be used for linking.
  • @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.
  • @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.
  • @otherphysdescstructuredtype – not required. Defines the type of amount being described. Use if “otherphysdescstructuredtype” was used in @physdescstructuredtype. Ideally it should be derived from a standardized local vocabulary.
  • @physdescstructuredtypeREQUIRED. Defines the type of amount being described. Possible values are: carrier, materialtype, otherphysdescstructuredtype, and spaceoccupied. Use “carrier” to describe containers or physical conveyances, “materialtype” to describe the type and or number of items (electronic files, or 200 electronic files), and “spaceoccupied” to describe the linear, cubic, or other space occupied by the materials. If using “otherphysdescstructuredtype,” use @otherphysdescstructuredtype to indicate the type of amount.
  • @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

<physdescstructured> must contain a <quantity> and a <unittype> element, in that order. It may then contain multiple <physfacet> and <dimensions> elements in any order. Finally, it may contain a single optional <descriptivenote> element to provide any information which couldn’t be encoded in previous elements or should be expanded. Only the first two are necessary, everything after that may or may not be used, but <descriptivenote>, if used, must be used last.


See DACS Section 2.5, Extent. (DACS 2013, pp.28-30)


  <unittitle>Department Minutes</unittitle>
  <unitdatestructured unitdatetype="inclusive">
        <fromdate standarddate="1978">1978</fromdate>
        <todate standarddate="1982">1983</todate>
      <datesingle standarddate="1985">1985</datesingle>
        <fromdate standarddate="1987">1987</fromdate>
        <todate standarddate="2020">2020</todate>
  <physdescset parallel="false" coverage="whole">
    <physdescstructured coverage="part" physdescstructuredtype="carrier">
    <physdescstructured coverage="part" physdescstructuredtype="materialtype">
      <unittype>electronic files</unittype>
  <unittitle>Colloquia and Symposia</unittitle>
  <physdescset parallel="true" coverage="part">
    <physdescstructured physdescstructuredtype="spaceoccupied" coverage="part">
      <unittype>linear feet</unittype>
    <physdescstructured physdescstructuredtype="carrier" coverage="part">
    <physdescstructured physdescstructuredtype="materialtype" coverage="part">
<physdescstructured physdescstructuredtype="spaceoccupied" coverage="part">

EAD3 Tag Library Entry

View the official tag library entry for <physdescstructured>