Encoded Archival Description Activities

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

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.


Greg Kinney
University of Michigan

Mary Lacy
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Dennis Meissner, Chair
Minnesota Historical Society

Naomi Nelson
Emory University

Richard Rinehart Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

David Ruddy
Cornell University Library

Bill Stockting
Public Record Office

Michael Webb
Bodleian Library

Timothy Young
Yale University

RLG staff liaison

Merrilee Proffitt
Program Officer


Additional information and a Web site on this subject:

For more information

Merrilee Proffitt
Program Officer