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The National Archives Catalog Data Model


What is the National Archives Catalog Model?

The National Archives Catalog model shows you the hierarchy or relationships between catalog descriptions and their creators.  The hierarchy involves a 'parent/child' relationship between records. For example, a series can be the parent of several items and a series can also be the child of a specific collection or record group.

The relationships between archival descriptions in the National Archives Catalog are as follows:

  • A series belongs to a record group or a collection.
  • A file unit belongs to a series.
  • An item can belong to a file unit or belong directly to a series.
  • Series, file units, and items only have one parent record.
  • Collections, record groups, series, and file units can have multiple child records.

Use your mouse cursor to click and learn more about each part of the OPA model.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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