More regarding EAD production:
One other difficulties we ran into were training students who
had never processed manuscripts materials and had very little experience
(if any) with manscripts at all. I had one student who had a lot of
cataloging experience. I had to explain how a guide was put together and
so forth and that there was a method to the alleged madness. Student
inexperience can be a benefit because you can train them and they haven't
learned bad habits or resistance to new EAD practice; however it does
increase the learning curve.
My students and I developed two different ways of tagging. I used
primarily keyboard macros and the WordPerfect find and replace feature.
This cut down on the amount of guide preparation needed (i.e. looking the
wordperfect codes, etc.) because I corrected the formatting as I tagged
names, etc. My students used "programmed macros" -- macros which were not
keyed to the keyboard or the button bars. This method requires a
perfectly formatted guide to begin with. When I assigned guides to
students, I reviewed the guides and selected ones which would not have
these formatting problems; I tended to take guides which were more
problematical. One of my students specialized in one particular guide
format. Barrett Library guides at the University of Virginia are
chronological annotated guides and follow an exact format. She created a
series of tagging macros for these particular guides which increased her
speed in tagging these particular guides.
I would agree with Stephen that other issues such as display, etc. will
take more time than the actual tagging. Once you've set up your macros
and have learned EAD, the tagging will be the easiest part of the process.
Considering index issues and web page design from the beginning will save
a lot of pain in the long run (and lost time).
I also needed to resist urges to correct content and rewrite guides. The
guides we worked with spanned about fifty years and guide writing practice
has changed considerably. For example a three hundred (text) page guide
for the papers of Harry F. Byrd Sr. contained a listing of every single
speech in the collection from an over 20 year senatorial career. A more
recent guide for a collection of political papers had a simple listing for
Other considerations in estimating time would be ergonomic concerns.
Keying in, especially mousing, can take a tremendous toll on the wrists.
And working with computers can affect vision and eye-blink rate. Plan on
breaks during the tagging process.
At UVA we worked with a variety of guides from 1 pagers to guides over 250
pages. If the guides were clean and not shame inducing and tagged with
full tagging, 1 pagers could take about 15-20 minutes to do (all three
steps of the UVA three step process) and 10 page guide about an hour. A
250 page could take anywhere from a day and a half (about 12 hours) to 2
days (16 hours).
However, these loose estimates assume that these guides had a simple
structure and did not include lists or indices. If you plan to do
anything fancy, this will add time (in fact almost double the usual time).
One processor I know likes to use bold typeface in her guides. I had to
drop the bold because it would have taken too much time to code and it
would not look good (the processor and I thought) on the web page.
I hope this has been helpful and I wish you the best of luck with your
CLIS, University of Maryland
Special Collections, University of Virginia, intern