I'm interested in hearing from subscribers if they have had any experience in
thinking about the implications of working with EAD and OCLC's product
Here is the URL for OCLC's SiteSearch: http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/site.htm
EAD has been implemented at The New York Public Library (NYPL) for use with
finding aids. There are well over 100 finding aids on the library's website and
more are being created.
As a separate topic, I've been on a committee to deal with many different
bibliographic databases that have been created over the years at NYPL. Recently
a desire has been expressed to unify these databases, and eventually merge them
into a single bibliographic entity. SiteSearch has been put forward as an
economical and practical solution to this problem. (The software package
contains its own database module.)
We had a meeting with two representatives of OCLC last week. From what I
understand, the need for SiteSearch to be Z39.50 compatible prevents it from
being able to deal with relational databases unless they are "flattened" out
(one major disadvantage). The representatives were also very honest in saying
that at the current time, the complexity of EAD prevents SiteSearch from being
able to access all its virtues.
I believe that EAD came about because of the limitations of MARC. In other
words, EAD addresses archival issues of organization and representation in a way
that typical library catalogs can not.
For some of us at NYPL SiteSearch is pretty much disqualified from serious
consideration at the present time because of its incompatibility with EAD. But
there are still others who that want to take it on anyway. Of course, the EAD
material need not be a part of the SiteSearch suite, but then other internal
relational databases can't be a part of it either. With this limtiations, to my
mind it seems that SiteSearch would have limited application at my institution.
SiteSearch definitely has many advantages. Its main attractive feature is
providing a unified front end to all kinds of bibliographic data. A New Jersey
project called VALE provides users with a single interface to 45 libraries
throughout the state. That's marvelous! But that's not the way NYPL is
considering use of the product.
I hope I have outlined the tension that currently exists between different camps
at NYPL. I am soliciting from subscribers if any others have dealt with this
issue, or whether they are currently doing so. I would also be interested in
hearing if anyone is using, or considered using SiteSearch for any archival
Bob Kosovsky student
Librarian Ph. D. program in music
Music Division Graduate Center
The New York Public Library City University of New York
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My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions.