Lisa Lipshires
LIS 469
Spring 2013
What is EAD?
EAD, or Encoded Archival Description, is an
XML standard for encoding finding aids-guides to archival materials.
Like other instances of XML, EAD-encoded
finding aids are both machine and human
This dual readability allows finding aids to be
more easily understood, shared, and
searched online.
History of EAD
Created by U.S. archivists, led by Daniel Pitti
at UC Berkeley, EAD initially based on SGML;
XML-compatible version released in 1998.
EAD is maintained and updated jointly by the
Society of American Archivists and the Library
of Congress.
A new version of EAD will be released by
January, 2014. Kelcy is a member of the
Technical Subcommittee that is working on
the revision.
Structure of EAD
Nested structure of EAD mirrors organization of
archival materials—larger units contain nested
The 2002 EAD DTD allows, with the <c>
“container” element, unlimited repetition of
subunits at different levels of the hierarchy.
The element <c> is flexible in that it can be
used for archival units of different sizes, such
as Series (large) and files (small).
There are 146 elements in the EAD Tag Library,
but only 9 of them are required.
9 Required Elements
Inside 2 Main Sections
1. <ead>
2. <eadheader> metadata about the finding aid
3. <eadid> [unique code for finding aid document] </eadid>
4. <filedesc> wrapper element for titlestmt
5. <titlestmt> wrapper element for title and author of finding aid
6. <titleproper> [the title of the finding aid] </titleproper>
7. <archdesc level=“collection”> wrapper for archival description; level is a required attribute.
8. <did> [ ] </did> wrapper element for basic description of archival unit. When child of
<archdesc>, <did> contains description of highest level of hierarchy.
9. <dsc type=“combined”>[ ] </dsc> wrapper element for subordinate components of
hierarchy. <dsc> not required, but type attribute is required, if <dsc> is used.
My EAD Internship
At Connecticut State Archives this semester.
Surveyed and described the records of the
General Federation of Women’s Clubs of CT.
Encoded finding aid in EAD.
Used NoteTab Pro for encoding. Validated
finding aid against the 2002 EAD DTD.
Here is what the finding aid looks like in HTML
and in XML.
Encoding Environment
 In
NoteTab Pro, the CT State Archives
installed the EAD 2002 Cookbook, a set of
software tools for implementing EAD, and
tweaked the XSLT stylesheets that came
with the Cookbook.
 The CT State Archives also installed Saxon,
an open source transformation engine, to
produce HTML from the EAD.
NoteTab: Pros and Cons
 Unlike
oXygen, NoteTab Pro will not tell
you right away that the code you have
typed is invalid. You have to click on
“parse and validate” to find out.
 The Archives chose NoteTab Pro over
oXygen because it is much less expensive-around $35 per license, rather than
around $500 per license, for oXygen.
EAD Cookbook
Includes modular finding aid components
that can be selected and customized.
Provides middle ground between encoding
finding aids by hand and generating EAD with
data management systems, such as the
Archivists’ Toolkit.
This is what the NoteTab Pro interface, with
the EAD Cookbook installed, looked like on
my computer at the CT State Archives.
Encoding Challenges
 Greatest
challenge of my internship was
to make the finding aid accurately reflect
the sometimes quirky organization of the
records, without confusing users.
 Archivists are not supposed to rearrange
records to make them easier to
understand; records should be kept in the
order and groupings that creators made.
 Eight
folders in one box were titled by the
creators with the years of their contents,
but the folders’ inclusive dates would
already be listed in the finding aid.
 Using the actual titles of these folders
would have meant that finding aid users
would have seen double dates, and no
words, for each of the folders.
Solution Created by Supervisor,
Allen Ramsey
Group the folders under one title, Documents.
<c03 level="file">
<container type="Box">8</container>
<unitdate type="inclusive" normal="1897/1906">18971906</unitdate>
<physdesc><extent>8 folders</extent></physdesc>
<note><p>Folders are arranged by years. Documents
include correspondence and reports related to the founding
of the Connecticut State Federation of Women's Clubs,
committee reports, programs, speeches, correspondence,
and calls to conventions.</p></note>
Solution in HTML Output