Dear Mr. Landis,
In the past 3 years I have submitted presentation proposals for the EAD
sessions, but they were all rejected. I got the impression that some
people at SAA do not want to hear what I have to say regarding EAD and
encoding methodologies. The subject of my proposals was not to describe
yet another encoding project, but to present a completely different
approach (some have called it "contrarian") to the prevailing practice.
This is in a nutshell what I advocate:
- the way EAD is presented and promoted creates a lot of confusion
between archival description and an encoding technique (ie SGML)
- if traditional finding aids are inconsistent, it is not because they
are not encoded, but because they fail to conform to descriptive
- separate description from encoding!
- adopt descriptive standards (ISAD(G), ISAAR(CPF), RAD in Canada)
- adopt a computer system which supports properly descriptive
standards, that is which supports open hierarchical data structures and
context on output
- add an output interface to this system, which encodes data on export,
AUTOMATICALLY. Let the computer handle the technique of encoding.
- only archivists can do descriptions, but encoding can be done faster
and better by a computer.
I have experience and success with this approach over the last 4 years.
In particular, one State Archives has adopted my solution. On the other
hand, my conversion service, ArchProteus, has used the above described
methodology to encode some of the largest finding aids anywhere (several
of 300+ pages and one of 860 pages of printed text). (I could give you
some URL's where these finding aids can be viewed).
Other conferences have accepted my proposals: I was a speaker on this
subject at the last 4 ACA (Canadian Archives) conferences. And this
year, I was invited (without myself making a proposal) to speak at the
MAC/MARAC conference in Cleveland (on October 21).
At the last ACA conference, in Edmonton this year, Michael Fox accepted
to be part of the session in which I presented the above ideas.
In conclusion, I would like to find out from you if it is worth for me
to go through the effort to make a formal proposal for SAA, knowing that
I was systematically turned down in the past years, although there is no
one else to present a similar approach.
(604) 732-5614 fax: (604) 732-5672
William Landis wrote:
> Greetings EAD listers (and apologies for any duplication if you also subscribe to the Archives list),
> Just wanted to remind those planning to submit program proposals for the SAA
> 2001 program in Washington, DC, that proposals are due this Friday, Oct.
> 6th (more information available at the SAA Web site
> As current chair of the SAA Description Section, I would also like to invite
> anyone submitting a proposal touching on EAD implementations and challenges, archival description more generally, and access tools based on archival description to run it past the Description Section for endorsement. My e-mail address is listed below.
> Bill Landis
> Manuscripts Librarian, Special Collections and Archives
> The UCI Libraries, University of California
> P.O. Box 19557, Irvine, CA 92623-9557
> 949 824.3113 [824.2472 FAX]
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