Our institution, University of Tennessee Special Collections Library, has been
using X-Metal and EAD for our manuscript and archival finding aids since
January.  We get absolutely NO support from our systems people at all, other
than a server to store them on.  The University Archivist and myself (a
full-time metadata specialist) have been trained in how to use X-Metal and EAD
together and a p/t student assistant and I do all of the actual encoding.  The
style sheet that we use is one that we got from an EAD course that we attended
at the Rare Books School in Virginia.  I am still trying to learn more about
stylesheets so that I can modify and create them but am just trying to keep my
head above water with all of the digitization projects that we are beginning to

My advice would be to have someone in Archives (preferably the person who would
actually be doing the work of encoding and not a supervisor who would then have
to go back and try to explain it) take the EAD course at the University of
Virginia -- it is excellent and very well worth the time and money.  If that is
not possible then the best thing is to have the encoder to read the EAD cookbook
and the X-metal book (use bribery if you have to -- it can be dull and
confusing), go through the listserve messages, and then just sit at the computer
and experiment.  I have had to, and still do, spend many, many off-the-clock
hours at home and at the office experimenting and "playing" to see how to make
everything work together.  Good luck.

Lesli Zimmerman
Digitization & Technical Metadata Specialist
University of Tennessee
Special Collections Library

Joo Hang Cha wrote:

> Hello,
> I am currently working in a temporary Systems position at the University of
> British Columbia library. Our Special Collections and Archives division
> recently began a project on implementing EAD on our existing archive
> documents.
> I became quite involved in this project because I love to work on
> XML-related projects and also because I was one of few people in our Systems
> division who had previously dealt with XML, XSLT, XPath, etc before in some
> form of a production environment.
> Any ways, I am concerned about this project because our division is
> basically taken by surprise. The original plan was that Systems provided 2
> copies of XMetaL and Archives division was supposed to take care of the
> rest. As the project progressed, however, it turned out that they required
> more support from Systems.
> I am currently writing a custom XSLT that suits the purposes of UBC.
> However, I found it impossible to write a "universal" stylesheet that
> supports all sorts of archive documents. I find it particularly difficult
> because I have absolutely no background in archiving. I am using Michael
> Fox's cookbook stylesheets as a reference and need to constantly look up the
> EAD tag library.
> To make a longer story short, we are concerned about this project because
> nearly all our Systems staff (myself included) are loaded with other
> projects and once my position ends at the end of August, the Systems person
> in charge of this project will need to train himself in XML to continue
> support.
> I am seeking for advises based on the approaches taken by your institution.
> How are you dealing with XSLT on EAD? Is a Systems division taking care of
> them? Or did your Archives division train one of their staff in XML/XSLT?
> Thanks.

Lesli Zimmerman
"You have to have Soul. But if you
don't have Soul, Halibut will do."
          -- The Muppets