Hugo,
 
    Let me assure you that the EAD Working Group has worked hard to ensure that EAD is compatible with ISAD(G).   In the first version, we paid close attention to the existing version of ISAD(G) and reflected that concern in the DTD and in the EAD to ISAD(G) crosswalk that appears in the EAD Application Guidelines.   This compatibility is reflected in the way that national archives in the UK, France, and elsewhere have been able to use EAD to encode descriptions based on ISAD(G).   The forthcoming version of EAD will both incorporate the changes made in the second version of ISAD(G) which was released just a year ago and make further alterations that we hope will make the relationships between the data structures in ISAD(G) and EAD even more transparent and seamless.
 
     There will, of necessity, continue to be some differences between the two.   While ISAD(G) contains 26 elements, closer examination reveals that there are actually more data components specified in the standard.   For example, the very first element in ISAD(G), Reference code, actually consists of three pieces of information: country code, repository code, and local reference code.  A similar situation exists with the element called "Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information" and in others.  
 
     Machine processing of this data also requires that we parse our information into smaller components for interchange or for manipulation as in indexing or display.   In short, EAD must incorporate a finer degree of granularity in its markup and cannot stop with the broad categories of ISAD(G).   Additionally there is the need to accommodate what ISAD(G) refers to as "existing national standards" that govern the content of our particular finding aids.   For example, we have worked hard to accommodate the more detailed requirements of RAD within EAD, creating new elements where required.   
 
    Consistency of terminology across standards is always a problem, one that you and I realize all too well from our discussions during the revision of ISAD(G).  I'm afraid that even if English-speaking archivists could agree on terminology (a difficult proposition at best), it would do little to solve the translation problem into other languages and descriptive codes.   I think that the best solution will be to continue the practice of promulgating cross-walks that map data between conventions.
 
     Having said all of this, I want to fully and heartily endorse the view that we need to look to ISAD(G) as the basis for further standardization and as the Rosetta stone that facilitates communication, the tool that gives us a common vocabulary which  makes these sorts of discussions possible and fruitful.
 
All the best,
 
Michael
   
 

Michael J. Fox
Assistant Director for Library and Archives
Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Blvd West
St. Paul, MN 55102-2409
651-296-2150  (phone)
651-296-9961  (fax)
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-----Original Message-----
From: Hugo Stibbe [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 10:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Supplemental to my message re: XSL and EAD

I discovered that I forgot to sign my message to Daniel and Michael.  I will try not to forget to sign this message.
 
I like to add something I forgot to say.  I just read Daniel's message he posted just now.  I do realize that the history of the development of the EAD DTD preceded much of the availability of ISAD(G), ISAAR(CPF) and, I believe, also the second edition of APPM.  (I am not sure about the latter.)  So, as Daniel said, there is still much work to do.  The development of EAD is very significant for our archival community and its further development and in particular its revision and updating should continue.
 
I read somewhere that one of the aims of the EAD Working Group (or is it now a permanent SAA committee) is to have the EAD DTD become more 'internationalized so that it will be accepted elsewhere than in North America. It is already happening, but with much tweaking to accommodate local practices and terminology which can only be done through locally developed style sheets.  I do not know of any better way to 'internationalize' the EAD DTD than to ensure that EAD elements are linked to elements of description in the now well accepted international standards ISAD(G) and ISAAR(CPF) where such elements of description and their terminology exist in EAD. ISAD(G) and ISAAR(CPF) do not have all the elements in EAD, but where they exist they should be identical in terminology and definition.  This would help greatly in acceptance and understanding in the international community of the EAD DTD.

Hugo Stibbe
OTTAWA, Ontario
Canada
Telephone: +613 746-0008
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