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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.2 Addressee




Identifying Attributes





Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - addressee

Element URI

[To be actioned by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat before publication]

Definitional Attributes


The name of the recipient(s) to which a record has been sent.


To add context to the record for evidentiary requirements.


"Along with the message text, the recordkeeping system must also capture the transmission data (metadata) to ensure proper retention of the complete record. Transmission data includes the sender's name, recipient's name(s), date transmitted, subject, and return receipt, if any." ARMA Guideline For Managing Email, s.

"Registration specifies the following metadata as a minimum: …d) the author (person or corporate body), sender or recipient." ISO Technical Report 15489-2, s. 4.3.3

"Business process metadata at the point of record capture should … c) identify and document the agents or participants in a transaction…" ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. 9.5.1

Value Domain

Non-enumerated strings of text representing addressee(s).

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level only.


Mandatory at record level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme






Conditions of Application - Record


Free text


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked





Conditions of Application - File







Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

Addressee is a record-specific metadata element that is designed to add context to official correspondence. This correspondence can take the form of an email, a fax, a mailing, etc.

For email, Addressee refers to the "To:" and "Cc:" lines. In many cases, the "To:" and "Cc:" information may be auto-populated into the Addressee element by an EDRMS. Whether an institution wishes to repeat the instance of Addressee to accommodate multiple recipient names is a local implementation issue.

This element is generally considered most useful when dealing with email records, as this information is easily captured and indexed.

Note that metadata in the "From:" line of an email corresponds to the element Creator. Metadata in the "Subject:" line of an email corresponds to the element Title.

b) Best Practices

For internal correspondence, it is the creator of the record that is responsible for ensuring the record is declared locked; however, for communications received from external sources, institutions will need a business rule to determine who will declare the record locked. Often the first person on the list to receive correspondence is responsible for declaration.

It is understood that a correspondence record is locked as soon as it is sent and once it is sent, the value of this element may not be changed, however, prior to sending the correspondence, the creator may change the list of recipients; therefore, this element is modifiable prior to the record being locked.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory in order to comply with ISO standards and ARMA's Guideline for Managing Email. The desire for a single standard profile screen necessitates that the element Addressee will appear on the profile screen in all cases, even when the record being profiled is not correspondence. In such instances, a placeholder value (e.g. "none") will have to be supplied for this element in order to fulfil the mandatory obligation.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

This element should be auto-populated when possible, specifically, when dealing with email.

e) Linkages


f) Examples

  1. "Smith, John" - John Smith transmits an email within his institution. John declares the record locked and the EDRMS auto-populates the Addressee element with the information from the "To:" and "Cc:" lines

  2. "Jones, Sarah" - Sarah Jones receives a digital fax or email from an external source. Sarah declares the record as locked. The EDRMS, recognizing that the record was received (not sent) by Sarah, scans the record for the "To:" line and auto-populates the element with Sarah's name.

  3. "Financial Management, Budgets, 2002/03" - A person transmits an email to a file. This will be handled in the same manner as Example 1, with the information on the "To" line being a file name rather than a person's name.

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