Introduction to the Rules for Archival Description (RAD)

See News & Events for upcoming course dates or contact our Archives Advisor.

Course Description

The description of records and creation of finding aids are the method for providing access to your archival holdings. The Rules for Archival Description (RAD) is the Canadian standard which guides our descriptive work. This course introduces and explains the rules in RAD. It focuses on the practical uses of RAD and its integration into Nova Scotia’s shared archival database, MemoryNS. This includes online activities and uploading content to MemoryNS.

Digital copies of RAD (2008 version) can be downloaded from the Canadian Council of Archives website.

This course is part of the CNSA Archival Certificate Program.

Learning Method

Learning is done through a combination of lecture, personal reading, and practical exercises. The course is either held online across three half-day sessions or in person over two full days.


Arrangement and Description OR or working knowledge of archival fonds arrangement.


Registration is open to anyone although preference is given to CNSA Members. Staff and/or volunteers at CNSA member organizations, which are in good standing, can register at the discounted rate. Multiple staff/volunteers from a member organization may be eligible for a group discount. Please contact our Archives Advisor for details.

Members are eligible for a travel subsidy if this course is offered in person. Click here for Expense Claim Form for travel subsidy.

Reading (provided)

Wendy M. McDuff and Marlene van Ballegooie, RAD Revealed: A Basic Primer on the Rules for Archival Description (Canadian Council of Archives, 2001), Chapters 1 and 2.