Becoming a SNAC Cooperative Member


SNAC is a cooperatively created and maintained resource for the description of corporate bodies, persons, and families (hereafter CPF entities) interrelated to one another and to the historical resources that provide evidence of their lives and work. As a cooperatively maintained resource, SNAC serves interrelated functions that benefit both cultural heritage professionals, particularly archivists and librarians, and research users of cultural heritage resources.

For archivists and librarians, SNAC serves as a platform for sharing labor-intensive identity resolution and description of shared CPF entities. It also serves as a platform for explicitly connecting dispersed historical resources held in repositories around the world through descriptions of the CPF entities. 

SNAC provides researchers with two major benefits: integrated access to dispersed cultural heritage resources related to people, and access to the social-professional-intellectual networks of the people documented in the resources.

As a cooperative description platform, SNAC has focused on serving archivists and librarians, but it aspires to expand the professional editorial community to include digital humanists interested in being partners in SNAC’s development and maintenance.

Member Benefits

The benefits of membership include the following:

  • Enhancing discovery and use of archival holdings 

  • A platform for sharing labor-intensive identity resolution and description of shared corporate bodies, persons, and families

  • A platform for contextualizing and connecting holdings to related holdings in other repositories around the world

  • Participation in developing the ever-expanding global social-document network represented by the data in SNAC

  • Improving the research economy for researchers by providing integrated discovery of dispersed historical records and documents

  • Enhancing researchers’ understanding of historical records and documents by linking them to the social-professional-intellectual networks of the people documented in them

  • Sharing holdings information with researchers and other archival professionals

  • Contributing to editorial standards and policies that advance archival practice

  • Enhancing the effectiveness of archival processing and description

  • Training in standards-based description of corporate bodies, persons, and families

  • The use of the SNAC API to contribute new data to SNAC, including new CPF descriptions and summary descriptions of local holdings


SNACSchool: Training Workshops

SNAC offers training in archival description of CPF entities (authority control) and use of the SNAC editing client. Training is offered remotely to current members. Onsite training is usually scheduled in conjunction with national or regional professional meetings.

Training can also be arranged at member institutions, with the member institution reimbursing the travel expenses of the trainers, and when appropriate, providing honorariums for the trainers.

SNAC instructors are archivists and metadata experts and many have contributed to the development of the course materials.

Types and Levels of Membership

Membership tiers

There are five tiers, based on the number of anticipated editors from your institution or group:


Editor Accounts

Base Membership Yearly Subscription

Unaffiliated Researcher
(special project)



Very Small




Up to three



Up to five



Up to eight


Very Large




Which tier should I choose?
It depends on how many users you expect to be adding and editing resources. A small local archive or college library will find their needs met with a limited number of accounts, but a larger archive with multiple repositories will need more or unlimited accounts.


Member Responsibilities

All members are required to participate in the maintenance of CPF and related resource descriptions in SNAC. Though there is no specific effort required, each member is expected to actively contribute new CPF descriptions and cooperatively participate in the maintenance of existing CPF descriptions.


All members are required to maintain their summary resource descriptions in SNAC, including the maintenance of URLs to the full, authoritative descriptions in local or consortial access systems.


All members are expected to contribute to the governance of the SNAC Cooperative. Participation in governance may take the form of serving on the SNAC working groups or contributing feedback to working group products.  Member staff may also, following training, become members of the SNAC School faculty.


Remaining in good standing by complying with the SNAC membership agreement.


Designating one individual within your institution as a primary contact and voting representative.


Supporting your own expenses and costs incurred in participating in the SNAC Cooperative.

Abiding by the intellectual property policy of SNAC.


Intellectual Property Statement

The SNAC Cooperative (archival description) data are made available under a CC0 license (Creative Commons license with no use constraints). This policy aligns the Cooperative with the government and academic trend towards making information available for use without restrictions. By signing this agreement, the member grants permission to the Cooperative to make all data contributed by the member available under the CC0 license.

The Cooperative releases all software and programs developed as open source using GitHub.  Given that some of the software and programs are built on or employ open-source software components not developed in the project, third-party open source software will be released according to its specific license. 


If your institution or project is interested in becoming a member, contact