Version 1.0 of EAD SGML DTD Now Available
Announcement to Creators of Archival Finding Aids
After several years of intensive experimentation and testing,
the developers of the Encoded Archival Description are pleased to
announce the availability of Version 1.0 of the EAD SGML/XML DTD
and related files. This is the first production release of the EAD
DTD. Version 1.0 incorporates a variety of enhancements requested
during experimentation with the "beta" test version of the EAD DTD.
During the two-year beta test, a wide range of users experimented
with the EAD DTD. Their input was important for determining the
final shape of this implementation of SGML.
Version 1.0 of the EAD DTD is designed to function as both an
SGML and XML DTD. It conforms to all SGML (ISO:8879)
specifications. It has been thoroughly tested against SP, the
mostly widely used SGML validating parser, as well as with a wide
variety of existing SGML software. By default, the EAD DTD and
EADGRP DTD are configured to function as SGML DTDs. The EAD and
EADGRP DTDs have also been validated using existing XML validating
parsers. To be used as XML DTDs, both EAD and EADGRP have
"switches" for turning off features used only in SGML applications,
and turning on features used in XML applications. Instructions for
using these "switches" are contained in the DTDs themselves. A more
detailed technical overview of the DTD is being developed, and will
be made available at this site when completed.
Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), as applied in
this suite of DTDs and related files, is already revolutionizing
the world of finding aids by providing a single standardized
encoding through which archival descriptions can be exchanged and
used. It may also simplify the process of creating machine-readable
finding aids in the future as the use of SGML tools becomes more
widespread and better understood.
As you begin to implement this version of the EAD DTD, keep in
mind that it is the product of a lengthy development effort during
which many options and models were considered. It may not reflect
the exact structure of the finding aids that you currently produce,
but it should provide elements into which you can fit the
information you currently capture.
The EAD DTD was designed to be somewhat prescriptive,
providing and in some cases requiring that finding aids be
structured in a particular way. This will occasionally result in
differences between the structure of an encoded archival
description and existing printed finding aids when they are used as
the source for content.
What You Need To Do:
To start creating your own Encoded Archival Descriptions, you
will need various SGML files and support documents. Most are
available to you electronically via FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
from an anonymous file server maintained by the Library of Congress
in Washington, D.C. Documents, such as the EAD Tag Library, are
currently available only in print, but Web versions will be
available in the near future for consultation. Due to the length
of the EAD Tag Library, we recommend you purchase a copy of the
printed document which is available from the Society of American
Archivists. It should greatly facilitate your use of the EAD DTD.
In order to download the EAD DTD and other machine-readable
documents, all you need is access to the Internet and electronic
transfer software (FTP). The host domain of LC's FTP server is:
Once an FTP session is initiated, you will be prompted for a
name. You should enter: anonymous
When you are prompted for a password, enter your Internet
address, or name.
At the FTP> prompt, change to the EAD subdirectory by entering
the command: cd pub/ead
NOTE: The character between the subdirectory names is a
Entering the command "dir" will return to you a list of the
files available in the EAD subdirectory.
The files you should transfer using the "get" command are
listed below. The "get" command should copy a file to the default
directory on the machine you are using locally. Most of the files
should be transferred as ASCII files, which is the default transfer
mode for most FTP applications. Some of these files will need to
be transferred in BINARY mode. To change to binary mode during an
FTP session, enter the command "bin". The command "asc" can be
used to return to ASCII mode. NOTE: For some FTP applications, the
transfer mode is automatically set based on the file extension
found during transfer.
If you do not have access to FTP, you may request a diskette
containing these files by contacting the Library of Congress,
Network Development and MARC Standards Office (NDMSO), who will be
acting as the maintenance agency for this standard.
We encourage you to join the large number of users of the EAD
DTD if you are not already among that growing group. We also look
forward to getting feedback from you as you make use of Version 1.0
for the first time. The EAD DTD is not set in stone but will be
enhanced in the future based on the experiences of its users. If
you know of anyone else interested in this effort, encourage them
to download Version 1.0 and subscribe to the EAD electronic forum.
Subscriptions to the "EAD" electronic forum should be sent to
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