I am not sure that I can add anything after Michael Fox's thorough
response, but here is my two cents anyway ...
During the University of Virginia project, I resisted strongly the idea
of needing to repeat each box. My adherence to this was primarily based
on the desire to recreate how the guide looked on paper not from any
deeper intellectual basis. From what I understood of a variety of guides
I worked with that the box/folder listings were not organized from any
intellectual basis but from what looked right and pretty on the page.
When I trained staff in marking box folder listings, the usual reaction wa
that how can we tag a guide so that the box appears once and then the
folders. (They weren't too crazy about the extra typing and tagging until
I showed them ways to automate the process.) So I think that this is very
much an automatic response from beginning coders in EAD.
I compared guides with the look of one box listing, many folders versus look
of many repeated box listings, many folders on the web screen. The effect
was that the "single listing" is not as readable or as understandable as
the "many listing" on the computer display. So I agree with what
Elizabeth Dow already said concerning the display.
The upshot is that one should consider that in coding for EAD that you
aren't really recreating the paper formatting of the guide but instead
creating a different formatting for the computer screen. So you should
consider what the researcher using your guides is looking at and what help
they may need in interpreting the information in your guide. Other
elements of an online guide might need to be considered as well, such as
the lengths of paragraphs, appearance of names, etc.
However, I think from previous messages on this list that others out there
feel very strongly about the box/folder listing and may argue otherwise.
I wonder if the strong tradition of how box/folder listing are typed (a
box then list of folders) created a feeling that a box/folder should have
a certain look and that other approaches are then seen as not conveying
the same information as efficiently or as understandably. Personally, I
think that some guides were written in such a way as to be easy for the
typist to type than for the user to use.
EAD challenges us as processors and guides writers to consider
different ways for constructing guides and conveying information about a
given collection. For me, often a guide which made sense on the page
because I had a greater familiarity with interpreting paper based
information became hard to understand (and even read) when removed from
the context of the formating on the page and put into the enviroment of
Anyway, just some thoughts from the trenches.