Encoded Archival Description Activities
Objective: To make the contents of archives readily known by promoting use of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) markup to create more and better archival finding aids on the Web.
Overview: Finding aids are the collection guides or inventories that reveal where an archival collection came from, how it is organized, and what it contains. EAD is an international standard that archives and libraries can use to XML-encode the information in their finding aids for greater online access. RLG activities have included member training, a conversion outsourcing service, and, most recently, software for checking EAD encoding quality.
EAD was also the basis of the RLG Archival Resources database, which included close to 50,000 finding aids together with briefer collections cataloging. RLG Archival Resources gave rise to a powerful search tool for primary source materials in 2006: ArchiveGrid SM .
This working group helped shape standards for base-level application of Encoded Archival Description (EAD). This standard format for archival finding aids allows them to be easily accessed on the Web.
RLG encouraged institutions to reformat their finding aids in EAD, and this group advised RLG on member needs for implementation support, such as supplemental training and updated conversion service. In August 2002 the group completely revised and updated RLG's best practices for use of EAD (pdf).
The group also developed the EAD Report card, an automated program for checking the quality of your EAD encoding.
University of Michigan
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
Dennis Meissner, Chair
Minnesota Historical Society
Cornell University Library
Public Record Office
RLG staff liaison
Additional information and a Web site on this subject:
- Encoded Archival Description: Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) Collection Description Schema, Metadata Object D (pdf)
Presentation by Merrilee Proffitt (May 2003)
- The official EAD site at the Library of Congress
- "Paving the Way for EAD: RLG's Role in Archival Descriptive Standards Leadership"
RLG Focus 74 (June 2005)
- "Version 2002 of EAD Keeps Pace with International Archival Practice"
RLG Focus 59 (December 2002)
Please note: Archived versions of RLG Focus are available from the OCLC Corporate Library Collection in the OCLC Digital Archive. Choose the preferred index and browse from here.