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Strategies for the Creation and Maintenance of EAD XML Finding Aids John R. Nemmers Society of Florida Archivists April 26, 2005
What is EAD? Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is a metadata standard that is used to describe a resource (i.e., archival/manuscript materials) In other words, it is a standard format for expressing archival finding aids. The standard is maintained by the Library of Congress and the Society of American Archivists (SAA)
Origins of EAD No real standardization prior to EAD (e.g., MARC-AMC was around, but severely limited) Compelled by limitations of old descriptive frameworks, members of the archival/library community in the mid 1990s set out to define a standard electronic finding aid Enabled by new technologies: Intended for XML (XML and EAD have practically grown up together)
Extensible Markup Language (XML): You can define your own XML to meet your needs Do this by creating Document Type Definitions (DTDs) or XML schema Data is marked up using XML elements, or tags (e.g.,
EAD XML Example
Once an EAD XML file has been created you can Transform it to HTML for the Web Contribute it to a union database/online search system such as RLGsArchival Resources (contributed as an XML file) Put it into an XML database for local or online access Transform it into PDF for printing Use it to generate MARC catalog record The key to all of these options are the style sheets used to transform and/or display the metadata in a useful format (i.e., without the tags).
Getting started with EAD: EAD web site: http://www.loc.gov/ead/ EAD Application Guidelines EAD Tag Library EAD Cookbook by Michael Fox Best practice guidelines (RLG, NCEAD, Florida, etc.)
How do we create EAD? An XML file basically is a plain text file, so an EAD finding aid can be created using any basic text editor, such as Notepad (e.g., type it in as a .txt file and then save it with an .xml extension) Drawbacks: You have to type in every single
One Solution XML editors XMetaL Oxygen XML Spy Wordperfect Easier authoring of EAD finding aids because these editors can supply EAD tags automatically using templates or macros
Another Solution Databases For example, each field in the database corresponds to an EAD element You can create a form/report in the database that supplies the correct EAD tags automatically. For example, the above Title Proper field would be output as:
Another Solution Templates Automated templates or special applications in which you input only the descriptive data and the application supplies the correct EAD tags. The templates can either be forms you fill out (very similar to a database approach) or they can be interactive templates that prompt you for data.
One method for creation: NoteTab Free text editor that has built-in language for creating templates. EAD creation is automated we enter the descriptive data and the template supplies the correct EAD tags (minimal typing) Ability to automate other processes as well: transforming to HTML using style sheets
Create HTML transforms the currently open EAD XML document into HTML Prompts user to select a style sheet (we have multiple style sheets for General Mss, Florida History, UF Archives) Opens a transformation application: Saxon Tells Saxon to transform the EAD file using the selected style sheet Saxon outputs an HTML with same name as XML file (EAD elements have been marked up using HTML tags)
Transforming XML Metadata XML Metadata document(EAD)Transformation Application(Web Browser, Saxon, etc.)with style sheet (separate or built-in) HTML version, MARC record, PDF version, etc.
EAD XML > HTML Example Diary described using EAD XML (Created using a NoteTab template no tags were keyed in) HTML version of that EAD document (produced using style sheet no HTML tags were keyed in)
Where does it go? Does it live around here? EAD finding aids can be converted to other formats (HTML, PDF) which are then published online (or just used locally) can reside as individual XML files (on a server or locally) can reside in databases (on a server or locally) can be harvested for inclusion in an online search system
EAD XML > Union Database
On the Horizona Toolkit? The Mellon Foundation is funding an effort by UC San Diego, NYU, and the Five Colleges to develop the Archivists Toolkit The Toolkitwill bea suite of applications for processing and managing archival information, including the creation of EAD finding aids.
On the HorizonTraining? Opening Archives: Improving Access to Primary Sources in Floridaan LSTA grant proposed for 2005-2006 Partnership between the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA), the State Archives, FIU, FSU, UCF, UF, and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. Goal is to train archivists, librarians, and curators to create EAD finding aids Train 60 people in three regional workshops Publish best practices guidelines for EAD creation in Florida Encourage submission of EAD finding aids to the PALMM union database Archival Collections Create regional EAD experts and continue EAD training in future years
More info Library of Congress official EAD web site: http://www.loc.gov/ead/ EAD Help Pages: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/ead/sitesann.html (includes the EAD Cookbook and an annotated list of EAD sites on the web)