From UA Libraries Digital Services Planning and Documentation
Revision as of 10:25, 19 December 2012 by Kgmatheny (talk | contribs) (minor restructuring + short description at top of page)

This page gives some guidelines for creating titles, in case you are creating metadata or the title is not supplied in the metadata.


The following information is extracted, paraphrased, and adapted from Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), published by the Society of American Archivists (Chicago: 2005).

(Sec. 2.3, p. 17) The title provides a word or phrase by which the material being described is known or can be identified. If a label has been attached to the document, use professional judgment to determine whether or not a transcription of that label is appropriate to serve as a title.

2.3.1 When supplying a title, take the information from any reliable source, including the internal evidence, an external source, or a title on another copy or version of the material being described.

2.3.3 (General Rules) When supplying title information, compose a brief title that uniquely identifies the material. 2.3.21 Choose a term or phrase that most precisely and concisely characterizes the unit being described. The term or phrase should incorporate the form(s) of material and reflects the function, activity, transaction, subject, individuals, or organizations that were the basis of its creation or use.


  • Oneida Nation petition to Jasper Parrish
  • James Joyce Letter to Maurice Saillet
  • Richard Nixon letter to H.R. Haldeman regarding the Watergate break-in

Additional Info for Creating Image Titles

The following is not in the DACS but may assist in photograph caption creation.

For photographs, focus on the primary content of the image. Consider:

  1. who or what is the focus
    1. if it contains people but you have no names, use the term "unidentified" in conjunction with descriptive nouns, such as men, women, children
  2. what is happening
  3. if the time frame or setting is important, include that in the title.

Please do not try to interpret or explain why.


  • Jeff Coleman and unidentified man standing on White House steps
  • Riot outside Gorgas Library during civil rights demonstration
  • Caricature drawing of Uncle Sam by Benjamin Franklin Pierce