EAD 101: An Introduction to Encoded Archival Description

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EAD 101: An Introduction to
Encoded Archival Description
XML and the Encoded Archival Description:
Providing Access to Collections
Oregon Library Association
Eugene, Oregon
April 16, 2004
Elizabeth Nielsen, Senior Staff Archivist
Oregon State University Libraries
http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu
Overview
• Background on the description of
archival materials.
• The nuts and bolts of EAD including
examples of elements and attributes.
• Why is EAD (in addition to MARC)
important to archivists?
• Demonstrate the NWDA finding aids
database.
Why?
• Inform potential users/patrons about
collections -- especially important for
archival collections which are not
“browsable” and with which most
patrons are not familiar.
• Enhance access/use of collections by
providing more detailed information.
• Improve reference assistance.
Principles for Description of
Archival Materials
• Different materials best served by
different types/levels of description.
• Collection-level.
• Hierarchical.
• Item-level description only for certain
materials (e.g. photographs).
What’s a Finding Aid?
• Document that describes an archives
collection.
• Two parts:
– Collection-level information.
– Inventory or container list at folder- (or
item-) level.
What Form Now?
• Usually created initially as word
processing files.
• Posted on the web as HTML files.
• MARC records created and posted to
local OPAC (OASIS), Summit (Orbis
Cascades Alliance), and OCLC.
Alice Edwards Papers
• HTML finding aid (OSU Archives
website)
• MARC record
Limitations to HTML and MARC
• Only “full text” searching of HTML
finding aids.
• MARC records have to be created “by
hand” from finding aid.
• Lack of consistency in format and
content.
What is EAD?
Encoded
Archival
Description
EAD is …
A set of rules for designating the
intellectual and physical parts of
archival finding aids so that the
information can be searched, retrieved,
displayed and exchanged in a
predictable, platform-independent
manner.
EAD Rules
• Written in the form of an SGML (or XML) Document
Type Definition (DTD).
• The DTD mandates which elements are mandatory
for a “valid” EAD document; which attributes are
mandatory; and the order for elements and
attributes.
• DTD is NOT a content standard.
• DTDs are read by computers … humans prefer the
Tag Library
EAD development
• Development began in early 1990s.
• Version 1 of the DTD released in 1998.
• Version 2002 released in late 2002.
Tag Library and
Application Guidelines
• Computers read DTDs …
• Humans prefer Tag Library and additional
guidance.
• Standard maintained by the Library of
Congress Network Development and MARC
Standards Office.
• Tag Library and Application Guidelines
published by Society of American Archivists
(SAA).
Best Practice Guidelines
• Online Archive of California
• Research Libraries Group
• Northwest Digital Archives
Role of BPG
• Ensure uniformity in structure and
encoding of finding aids.
• Promote interoperability within the
NWDA database among finding aids
from diverse repositories.
3 high-level elements
• <eadheader> -- provides information
about the creation, revision, publication
of a finding aid
• <archdesc> -- information about a
body of archival materials at collection
level
• <dsc> -- description of subordinate
components; hierarchical
Sample <archdesc> elements
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
<unittitle>
<unitdate>
<origination>
<abstract>
<physdesc><extent>
<scopecontent>
<bioghist>
<controlaccess><persname>
Attributes for <unitdate>
type=
era=
calendar=
normal=
certainty=
encodinganalog=
Example
<unitdate
type="inclusive"
encodinganalog="245$f“
era="ce"
calendar="gregorian"
normal="1895/1962">
1895-1962
</unitdate>
Sample <dsc> elements
<c01> -- [subgroup]
– <unitid>
– <origination>
– <unittitle>
– <unitdate>
<c02> -- [series]
<unitid>
<unittitle
<unitdate>
<c03> --[item or folder]
Back to Alice Edwards …
• Look at various pieces of encoded
finding aid.
Primary Reasons
•
•
•
•
•
Search
Retrieve
Display
Exchange
Retain hierarchy of folder- or item-level
description.
Northwest Digital Archives
(NWDA)
Database of EAD finding aids from 13
institutions in Oregon, Washington,
Montana, and Idaho being developed
with grant from National Endowment
for the Humanities.
Disclaimers
• NWDA database under development.
• Being moved to new server at this time.
• Stylesheet being enhanced and
customized.
• Search engine not customized yet.
• Database only includes ~300 XML files
at this time.
NWDA
Browse by Repository
Browse List of OSU Finding Aids
Edwards EAD Finding Aid
Search
Keyword Search
One Hit!
Hits in Context
Advanced Search
Hits for “Oregon State University”
Application to Other
Collections
•
•
•
•
Vertical Files
Pamphlet Files
Poster Collections
Any integrated group of materials with
common features that benefits from
collection-level as well as more detailed
description (especially if that is
hierarchical).
Thank You.
Elizabeth Nielsen
[email protected]
541-737-0543
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