On Sun, 28 Sep 1997 15:52:26 -0700 Alvin Pollock wrote:
> My experience has been
> that the different conflicting ways in which ead is applied
> has made development of generic tools and stylesheets com-
> pletely impossible. Matthew Nickerson's recent posting to
> the ead list on this topic really hit a nerve with me. One
> of the first things that this project should have been able
> to provide was a pool of stylesheets and application tools
> that everyone could share. Instead, those institutions which
> have the resources to develop their own tools have done so
> and everybody else has been left out in the cold.
This is a very good idea where there is an existing model for finding aids, such as APPM, and for
those created from scratch. However, as someone who is using EAD for retrospective conversion
work, I have found that you must rely on the structure etc of your existing material. It is not feasible
to discard over a century's worth of listings and start from scratch, or even to refer to the original
material except for in the most extreme cases of bafflement. Thus all you can reflect in the EAD
file is what you have already got in your finding aid. In some ways this is easier as it allows you to be
lazy and blame the original finding aid for any faults in your implementation. One thing that I am
convinced of, after processing a vast swathe of different lists, is that the flexibility/lack of control
(depending upon your perspective) of EAD, which can be regarded as a possible negative factor is a
virtue when it comes to dealing with the retrospective conversion of rather disparate material.
Whether or not in the future someone decides to make the finding aids I have converted more
consistent, until they do the existing material is at least available, and when they do there will be a
structured file with which to work.
> On another note, I have heard it often said that every <c> should
> have exactly one <unittitle>. This makes a great deal of sense to
> me but I have never seen it formally stated, either in the DTD, the
> tag library, or the application guidelines. I'm not sure it's ever
> been said on the ead list. If this is the case, can we formalize
> this "law" somehow? It's possible to hardwire this into the DTD
> I'm sure, but probably makes more sense to state it in the tag
> library, application guidelines, and perhaps comments within the
> DTD itself.
While the <unittitle> is needed at the higher levels of description - for series, collections etc, when
you get down to item level, items do not tend to have titles - if this were imposed the <unittitle> at
item level would have to become the description of the item.
Durham University Library