Creator and Contributor Definitions

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a person/organization should be included as a creator (primarily responsible for creating the item) or a contributor (secondarily or tangentially responsible for the item).

Creator or Contributor?

In some cases it depends on the kind of role.

A person or organization related to the item but not directly related to its creation is a contributor including:

  • donors

  • funders

  • sponsors

  • distributors

  • committee members (for theses and dissertations)

Some roles suggest, by definition, that a person or organization contributed to a piece of the item rather than the whole (contributor), such as:

  • annotators

  • author of introduction, etc.

  • research team members

  • assignees

  • witnesses (e.g., signed witnesses on patents or documents)

In some cases it depends on the item.

For example, a photographer might be a creator of:

  • a photograph (original negative or print)

  • a book of images

  • a slide image

But a photographer might be a contributor for:

  • a yearbook

  • a postcard (with correspondence)

  • a newspaper


Kinds of Items



Example Records

photographic print

the photographer

a copy negative (a picture of a photographic print)

the photographer of the copy

the photographer of the original print

Portrait of Unknown Woman

a yearbook

  • the originating school

  • an editor-in-chief

  • co-editors

  • section editors

  • photographers

  • business managers

  • sponsors

also, if there are multiple organizations responsible for:

  • printing

  • lithography

  • cover art

  • etc.

a map

depending on the kind of map:

  • a cartographer

  • a draftsman

  • an illustrator (if images outside the map are extensive)

  • a surveyor

  • an engraver

  • an illustrator (if images outside the map are small or less significant)

a traced copy of a plat

the person(s) who:

  • traced the original

  • copied the original

  • illustrated or changed the copy

the original:

  • surveyor

  • draftsman

  • cartographer

an opera

  • a composer

  • an arranger

  • a compiler

  • an adaptor

  • a librettist (in some cases)

  • composers (of individual pieces)

  • a librettist (in some cases)

  • a printer

  • a translator

a single essay

  • an author

  • an illustrator (if the illustrations are a significant part of the essay)

  • author of an introduction

  • an illustrator

San Felipe de Austin: Capital of Austin’s Colony

a compilation of essays or articles in a book, journal, etc.

  • an editor

  • a compiler

  • essay/section authors

  • illustrators

a film

  • a director

  • an actor with a significant part

  • actors

  • a cinematographer

  • an editor

  • an interviewer or interviewee

  • a producer

  • a recording engineer

  • other staff

Unauthorized Immigration

a recital or musical performance

  • a performer

  • a conductor

  • individual performers (if part of a group concert)

  • a composer

  • a speaker

  • a producer

  • a recording engineer

* Items marked with an asterisk are restricted to the UNT community - the records are viewable but non-UNT users cannot view/listen to the actual objects.

Other Notes

  • The UNT guidelines do not limit the number of creators or contributors. However, due to time constraints, we will sometimes choose a specific number for a project. For example, we might include all creators, but only the first five (5) contributors for all objects in a particular project, or only include contributors that have explicity-named roles other than “staff.”

  • For formatting guidelines, see the Creator page and the Contributor pages.