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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.13 Container




Identifying Attributes





Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - container

Element URI

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

Definitional Attributes


The storage receptacle for the record.


To identify the grouping of records by container type.

To assist in locating a record.


"Techniques to ensure capture of records may include …b) arrangement in a logical structure and sequence, whether a physical file or an electronic directory, which facilitates subsequent use and reference,…d) systems which profile or template the actions undertaken in doing business, which …2) provide evidence of where a record is located…" ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.3

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing containers.

Datatype Name



Applicable at file level only.


Mandatory, if applicable, at file level.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Institution-specific scheme




Container From Date; Container To Date; File Code; Location

Conditions of Application - Record




Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked





Conditions of Application - File


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

Containers are the analog or digital receptacle in which records are stored. In an analog world, containers may include such things as file folders, boxes, binders, etc. In a digital environment, containers can include files, folders, directories, etc. These digital containers are typically represented with an icon within the user interface of the application.

b) Best Practices

Some EDRMS can mimic the analog world and set up containers with a "from" and "to" date that mirrors the analog system for facilitating retention and disposition processing. However, the element Container primarily addressees the analog environment.

In records management, the concept of a volume is very important. A group of records makes up a file and a file may consist of a number of volumes (a logical grouping of files, usually grouped by date). A volume, however, is not considered a container, because as stated, it is a logical grouping rather than a physical grouping. One can purchase a box, but one cannot purchase a "volume". Volume is a status that is conferred upon a container.

The value for this element may be modified by an authorized official only.

c) Obligation

This element is mandatory if a container exists. Container assists users in the retrieval of information, as well as in the processing of the disposition of records within the container.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

This element is not auto-populated, but institutions may wish to default the value.

e) Linkages

This element is intrinsically linked to Container From Date and Container To Date. The Container To Date is often used to determine the Retention Trigger for the Container.

It is also linked to the File Code of the file or files that it contains. This is required to assist in locating the file. To that end, this element is also linked to the Location element.

f) Examples

  1. "File folder"

  2. "Box"

  3. "Wallet"

  4. "Binder"

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