Is there an off-the-shelf system for EAD?
Am I asking the impossible? I am not an archivist, I am effectively Head
of Cataloguing and Database Manager for the Library's main catalogues so I
am used to an off-the-shelf integrated library system which includes a
cataloguing module and which we can customise. Once we have decided which
MARC tags we want to use, how they should display and how they should be
indexed, we have boxes to enter bibliographic data. When the record is
saved it is indexed and presented to staff and students.
We are adding file level records for some archival materials to our OPAC,
mainly for our large and growing publishers' archives - see
http://www.rdg.ac.uk/SerDepts/vl/Lib/Colls/manu.html#pub. It is a huge
task (34,000 records added to date in three years) for which we have
external funding which ceases soon - before we will have completed more
than a couple of collections. It has significantly increased the usage of
our archival collections but remains inadequate as it doesn't convey the
relationships or hierarchies of the collections. Our Archives staff had
no technological expertise when we started which is why we choose to
"piggyback" on existing cataloguing expertise.
I want something like our ILS (we're currently on our 4th - SIRSI Unicorn)
which will achieve ISAD(G) records, for which EAD appears to be the best
WWW compatible format. I don't want to have to develop macros for
conversion from Word or other databases (although we might be prepared to
pay someone else for them). The archivists want to be able to enter and
edit their data without worrying about whether it will convert properly or
whether they've remembered the syntax. We need a system which will grow
as the technology and standards develop, for example, as Z39.50-EAD
compatibility is achieved.
I was and am quite happy editing HTML in Emacs, but it is not the quickest
way of getting large quantities of data onto the WWW and it is certainly
not to everyone's taste. It seems to me that we are still at this stage
with EAD XML. Am I wrong?
If I have my facts wildly wrong or have demonstrated an inordinate
ignorance of archival practices, please don't jump on me too hard - I
really want to know what we should be doing. There is no money in
archives here so we often have to resort to cheap and nasty solutions but
I am VERY keen on standards, having experienced nothing but chaos when
standards are not followed.
Commercial advertising welcome - off list.
Sorry to go on so.
Rose-Ann Movsovic email: [log in to unmask]
Collections Manager tel: 0118 987 5123 x 7487
Reading University Library fax: 0118 931 6636