Thank you for your reply. Your answers along with those of Wm. Kevin Cawley
greatly clarified my perception of the EAD and its application. I now see
that the EAD's use is far more specific than I had originally thought.
My primary interest in archiving is the development of a simple universal
method to encode information onto individual digital documents and other
material such as audio, visual and multimedia files. These digital
documents and material could then be easily accessed and retrieved according
to a criteria which includes subject and file type.
It seems to me that there could be a role for the EAD in such a method given
the growing importance of digital material in archives. Wm. Kevin Cawley
said, the EAD is "designed specifically for a kind of archival finding aid
called an inventory or a register." Imagine, if you well, a system where the
inventory or register is updated automatically as material is added to the
Research and Development
4849 El Cemonte Ave., #169
Davis, CA 95616 USA
tel: (530) 756-6477
on 4/23/02 11:15 AM, Elizabeth Shaw at [log in to unmask] wrote:
> EAD is used for the encoding of archival finding aids -descriptive guides
> to collections of materials -not general purpose web pages.
> One can imagine that finding aids for collections of digital objects might
> be encoded in EAD but the objects themselves might be images, word files,
> pdf or what ever.
> Perhaps the reason your last posting didn't receive an answer is your
> final paragraph. EAD is *not* a general purpose encoding scheme like HTML
> or XHTML but is a document type designed to encode very specific types of
> information. EAD is really only of interest to those who work
> with archival collections or other cultural heritage materials.
> EAD encodes the metadata about a collection (ie information about a
> collection) not the collection itself. It seems unlikely that anyone but
> those who are developing web sites for archives or cultrural institutions
> would adopt EAD.
> Descriptions of collections that are encoded in EAD are generally
> prioritized by an individual archive based on factors such as the
> importance of the collection to the institution, the level of existing
> descriptive metadata about the collection, the likelihood that the
> collection would be of broad general interest. Each institution has chosen
> its own way.
> While it is true that large institutions are disproportionately
> represented in the ranks of those who have adopted EAD this may reflect a
> variety of things - the relative immaturity of XML tools, the steep
> learning curve to implement, the resources available in an institution,
> the usefulness of making one's finding aids available beyond the
> institution's doors.
> Many EAD encoded finding aids are migrated from pre-existing paper based
> finding aids. The are enhanced with the EAD encoding in order to provide
> additional structure so the XML transformation and search/retrieval tools
> can be utilised to access precise information within an individual or
> collection of finding aids.
> Hope that points you in the right direction.
> Liz Shaw
> Visiting Lecturer
> Room 626 IS Building
> Department of Library and Information Sciences
> School of Information Science
> University of Pittsburgh
> Pittsburgh, PA 15260
> Phone: (412)624-9455
> Fax: (412)648-7001
> On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, L.H. Grant wrote:
>> I am new to the list so please forgive me if this topic has already been
>> discussed. Essentially, I would like to know how people knowledgeable in
>> this area view the practical scope or influence of the EAD particularly as
>> it relates to Web pages and other digital material such as PDF, WORD and
>> other similar types of files.
>> Do many of you view the EAD as having limited reach and application ? For
>> instance, given the nature of the EAD, do most see it as a tool for use by
>> government and academic institutions? I perused some of the listserv's
>> archive and surmised from what I read that most institutions that have
>> adapted the EAD were those with substantial resources and the ability to
>> designate and train one or more in the use of the EAD. Does this make the
>> use of the EAD impractical with smaller institutions, groups or individuals?
>> Also, given the effort required to use the EAD, I wonder what guidelines are
>> used in selecting the digital material for EAD inclusion. Is it only what
>> is considered the most important documents?
>> Finally, there are over 2 million Web pages added every day and many
>> thousands of pdf and word files as well. Is it practical to even consider
>> using the EAD for a fraction of this amount? Other than a few select
>> institutions, have webmasters incorporated the EAD into their sites on any
>> appreciable level?
>> Thank you,
>> Research and Development
>> IconFind, Inc.
>> 4849 El Cemonte Ave., #169
>> Davis, CA 95616 USA
>> tel: (530) 756-6477