Describing Archival Material
For the purposes of tax certification, archival material refers to fonds, archives, or collections that contain any of the following: textual records, graphic materials, cartographic materials, architectural and technical drawings, moving images, sound recordings, records in electronic format, records on microform, philatelic records, related discrete objects.
For archival material comprised primarily of Audiovisual Material and/or Electronic Resources, consult the text boxes below for further instructions on preparing an application for tax certification.
For the purposes of tax certification:
Audiovisual Material means film/video, animation, television, radio/sound recordings that embody, contain or carry reproducible sound and/or images, whether moving or still, including analogue and digital formats.
Electronic Resources means electronic data, encompassing analogue and digital information formats, available by remote access and direct access (fixed media) and refers to any work encoded and made available for access electronically.
Archival material should be described in accordance with prevailing archival practice using standards appropriate to the type of material. The Canadian standards, entitled Rules for Archival Description(RAD) are produced by the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) and may be downloaded from the CCA website at: http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/public.html. The CCA may also be contacted directly by telephone at 613-565-1222, toll free at 1-866-254-1403, by fax at 613-565-5445, or by email at email@example.com.
As a minimum, for a tax certification application, the following descriptive information should be provided for archival material. This information should be provided to each monetary appraiser to ensure that the valuations submitted with an application are consistent as to the material appraised and presented for tax certification. Where full descriptive information has not been provided, delays could result in the processing of the application for tax certification. In specific cases, the applicant may be asked for further information beyond these minimum criteria, as deemed necessary.
Provide the full name of the person or corporation that created the archival material. Where the maker is known by more than one name, indicate each name and identify by which name the maker is recognized in current literature. In some cases, the maker may be a corporation, e.g. Hudson’s Bay Company.
In the case of Audiovisual Material and Electronic Resources, provide the full name of the production company, broadcaster, corporate body or individual responsible for creating the material.
Nationality of Maker
Indicate the nationality in brackets after the maker’s name, e.g. Farley Mowat (Canadian). If the maker has more than one nationality, indicate the nationality at birth and the most recent nationality, e.g. Nam June Paik (Korean/American).
Maker’s Birth and Death Dates
Provide the year of birth of the maker and, where applicable, the year of death, after the nationality, e.g. Nam June Paik (Korean/American, 1932-2006).
Title and Extent
Provide a summary title of the contents of the archival material, and a summary description in terms of the type of material and the extent of each type, e.g. Canadiana Collection, consisting of 12 meters of approximately 128 groups of material on general Canadiana, Eastern Townships, fur trade, Seigniory of Hertel de Rouville, New France and Viger family.
For Audiovisual Material and Electronic Resources, provide a summary title of the contents of the archival material, and a summary description in terms of the type of material and the extent of each type, e.g. ABC Production Company Ltd. Fonds, 1993-2003, consisting of 6,732 video recordings, 144 audio recordings, approx. 135 linear m. of textual material and 4,968 photographic images related to the creative, production and business records of this TV production company; or XYZ Polling Company Database, consisting of 7 quarterly public opinion surveys on environmental and social issues, 1945 – 1970, totalling 2.56 MB of data.
Date(s) of Creation
Provide the span of time covered by the archival material directly after the title, e.g. Canadiana Collection, 1867 – 1921. In cases where the dates of creation may be unknown, provide an approximate creation date that can be justified, e.g. 1870 – ca. 1921.
Indicate whether the archival material is an accrual to an existing fonds, archive or collection or represents a complete fonds, archive or collection. If an accrual, specify if it is the first accrual or a new accrual and whether or not future accruals to the same fonds, archive or collection are anticipated. Explain the extent to which the material represents the whole or a portion of the activities of the maker.
For Audiovisual Material and Electronic Resources, specify the product in terms of film/video, animation, television, radio/sound recording, electronic resources and indicate the type for each as set out in the Technical Specifications in Annexes I - V.
Provenance (history of ownership, including the dates of transfer)
Ownership history (provenance) may be relevant to establishing the authenticity, "outstanding significance and national importance" and/or fair market value of the archival material.
The applicant should therefore provide the most complete provenance information possible, from the date of creation to the present, which includes the names of the previous owners and the respective dates of ownership. If ownership is held by a corporate body, provide the name(s) of the principals.
Incomplete provenance: In cases where it is impossible to establish complete ownership history, provide the following:
- a written, signed and dated statement from the donor/vendor certifying that the property was acquired legally;
- a detailed description of the efforts that have been made to exercise diligence in bridging the gaps in the history of ownership.
Condition may affect whether a fonds, archive or collection meets the criteria of “outstanding significance and national importance” as well as the fair market value. Where material within the fonds, archive or collection has not undergone conservation, and only minor conservation is required, such as surface cleaning, include a general condition statement as part of the description. If “excellent”, “very good”, “good” or “poor”, for example, is used to describe the general condition, provide an explanation in support of that description.
In cases where archival material has undergone or requires conservation treatment, a full condition report prepared, dated and signed by a conservator should be provided.
To ensure that the Review Board deliberates only on the archival material that the organization has made a commitment to preserve over the long term, the recipient organization should include a comprehensive archival assessment (sometimes referred to as an archival appraisal report) with the application for certification. This document should outline when, how, and by whom the archival assessment was conducted and include a summary of the author’s qualifications—maximum 100 words—as they relate to the archival material being acquired. The archival assessment should be completed prior to obtaining a monetary appraisal and prior to presenting an application for certification to the Review Board, so that the appraisers and the Review Board are fully aware of all material being presented for certification.
The following should be addressed in the archival assessment:
- Is there any duplicate archival material either within the current accrual or with previous accruals or other material already in the organization’s collection? If so, explain why the duplicates should be certified.
- What criteria were used for selecting the archival material to be presented for tax certification and what proportion of the complete fonds, archives or collection (or accrual) is being presented for certification? Provide a summary of the archival material not retained or not submitted for certification.
- Outline the scope and content of the fonds, archive or collection, identify the archival material the organization will retain permanently, and provide a rationale for retention.
- How reliable is the selected material for researchers, either in a single subject area or across a broad research field?
- Identify any access restrictions.
In addition, the following should be addressed in the archival assessment for Audiovisual Material and Electronic Resources:
- Describe the scope and content of the fonds, archive or collection (or accrual) being retained in terms of the Technical Specifications in Annexes I – V and provide a rationale for retention of the selected material;
- What technical equipment is available to replay/access/read the archival material being collected and, if the equipment is not available, what migration strategy is in place for the presentation, access and long-term preservation of the material?
For archival material, the organization should provide a finding aid with the application for certification to each monetary appraiser that clearly reflects the material being retained as the result of its archival assessment exercise. Given the significant extent of some fonds, archives or collections, sufficient detail should be provided to assist the appraisers and the Review Board in fulfilling their respective roles. In some cases, a finding aid provided by the donor/vendor may be comprehensive and accurate enough for the organization to endorse and use as its own. If such is the case, the organization should demonstrate that the contents of the donation are precisely reflected in the finding aid. Where all the archival material retained by the organization is being appraised but not all is being submitted for certification, the appraisals will need to clearly identify the estimated value of only the portion of material being presented for certification.
Finding Aids for Audiovisual Material and Electronic Resources should also include the following:
- individual titles or categories of titles including the extent and format of all material relating to each title. In the case of very large collections, grouping titles into logical categories is acceptable;
- extent/descriptive unit for each title or categories of titles: including quantity of archival material, running time and length (as precisely as possible);
- the archival material clearly identified in accordance with the Technical Specifications in Annexes I - V.
Where a select number of animation cels are being acquired as works of art, refer to Describing Works of Art and Other Objects in Section 4 of this Guide, or consult the Secretariat.
|Film / Video
|Identify Type such as:||Describe Selected Content in Terms of the following, including the corresponding Format(s):|
Examples of Film Formats:
Examples of Video Formats:
|Identify Type such as:||Describe Scope of Selection:||Describe Selected Content in Terms of the following:|
|Variety / Entertainment / Ads||
|Identify Type such as:||Describe Scope of Selection:||Describe Selected Content in Terms of the following, including the corresponding Format(s):|
|Documentary series or single programs||
Examples of Television Film Formats:
Examples of Television Video Formats:
|Fiction series (weekly)|
|Fiction series (daily)|
|Variety / Entertainment / Performing arts programs|
|Public affairs programs|
|Radio / Sound Recordings
|Identify Type such as:||Describe Scope of Selection:||Describe Selected Content in Terms of the following, including the corresponding Formats:|
|Documentary series or single programs||
Examples of Sound Recording Formats:
|Variety / Entertainment / Performing Arts programs|
|Public affairs programs|
|Sound Recording Industry (music, publishing etc.)|
|Field research / Oral history|
|Sound and special effects|
|Identify Resource Type such as:||Describe Selected Content in Terms of the following, including the corresponding Format(s):|
|Computer Aided Design (CAD)||
|Digital resources for which there are analogue equivalents||
|Other||Examples of Digital Formats (indicate whether stored on CDs, DVDs, hard disks, flash memory, etc.):
The following resources are external websites provided for educational purposes:
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)
Library and Archives Canada
National Film Board, Canada
The Library of Congress
The Society of American Archivists
National Film and Sound Archives, Australia
Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA)
Oral History Association (OHA)
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