Charles Cofone wrote:
> We recently received a catalog from Gaylord which offers a product
> called "Internet Archivist Software." The catalog claims that this package
> "makes it possible to encode yuour finding aids to the Enclosed Archival
> Standard without having to compile complex files."
There is nothing complex about the files involved: all can be
manipulated within a simple text editor.
> Has anyone on the List had any experience with this product? What are its
> strengths, weaknesse? Is it worth purchasing?
Never used it, but IA <http://www.interface.com/ead/>is a product that
was recommended by consultants, prior to my
arriving at the CHS, to compile finding aids to 20 - 30 nationally
significant collections held here. The product as I understand it has
some interesting features, not least of which is the ability to save
directly to HTML (remember that, so far as the majority of web users are
concerned, only HTML can be viewed in a regular browser). The most
fundamental problem with IA is simply that it only works with the EAD
(v. 1.0) DTD. If the DTD ever changes --- and it surely will --- you
will need to buy an update from Interface Electronics (the Co. that
markets IA). This is obviously problematic, and sort of places you at
the company's discretion.
There are other commercial products that you may be interested in; these
are generic SGML/XML editors that can work with *ANY* DTD (EADb, v. 1.0,
TEI, CIMI, or even one you might want to create yourself). Examples:
Near & Far Designer: $1395 <http://www.microstar.com>
Adept Editor: ca $ 1500 <http://www.arbortext.com>
Adobe Framemaker+ (SGML edition) 5.5 $ ca. 2K <http://adobe.com>
There are a whole bunch of others (try
<http://www.oasis-open.org/cover/sgml-xml.html>), all of which will
allow you to enter-in the DTD du jour, without paying for extra support.
As the preceding are rather costly you might consider Corel's
WordPerfect 8 (Academic discount ca. $90) which will take any DTD you
give it, and present you with a familiar and easy to use working
environment. There is, apparently, something similar for M$ Word but I
know nothing about it.
Our preference at the CHS (admittedly to prove a point that EAD can be
effectively created for less than a total software-cost outlay of $100)
is to use a text editor and MS Word templates created in-house. Once in
the EAD format a variety of output options are available... but to
answer those is not to answer your question.
The CHS is currently working on an embellishment to NoteTab (an
excellent freeware text editor, probably the best Win32 editor I have
ever used, <http://www.notetab.com/>) to allow swifter
EAD editing. This is directed specifically toward CHS's particular
implementation of the EAD tagset, but it may provide a base for other
implementations. The scripting language for NoteTab modification is
extremely easy to lean and is far simpler than M$ Word's VB scritping...
and in some ways more powerful for the basic-to-intermediate user. In
any case, it is more than suited to the job. When the extensions to
NoteTab are complete they will be available for download from the CHS
Hope this help you,
Stephen Yearl, Project Archivist
[log in to unmask]
Connecticut Historical Society
1 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT, 06105