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Hi Jeroen, everybody,

First of all, I think a lot of institutions are thinking of using
METS in conjunction with the EAD. The METS predecessor mark-up MOA2
has been widely used that way, and for examples, I'd invite you to
look at http://www.oac.cdlib.org/dynaweb/ead/bampfa/cha/. If you're
interested, you can read up on how this EAD / MOA2 information
architecture works in the context of Museums & the Online Archive of
California (MOAC) at
http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/guenter/EVA2001CollectionsAccess.html.

>To what extent is the
>structure (hierarchy) of the archive taken into account within the actual
>METS research projects ? Does there exist a practical example of the linking
>between the EAD and METS standard ?

This is the question I'm really curious about. A very similar
question came up at an Online Archive of California Subcommittee
meeting a couple of weeks back - how do you define where the EAD ends
and where METS begins if you use them in conjunction? Both standards
have the capability of describing a complex hierarchical structure
and at least theoretically, you could actually replace the EADs
function of hierarchically structuring a collection with a series of
nested METS documents pointing to more METS documents. I'm not
implying that it would be either wise or intellectually sound to do
so, but through the mptr, it's definitely conceivable.

I think I have some tentative answers to the question, but I'd be
curious to hear what others think. First of all, where the EAD ends
and METS begins has everything to do with a specific institution's
(community's) objectives in using the EAD - if, as in an archive, the
EAD is used to manage the physical collection, then I'd assume there
would be pretty specific guidelines establishing what the EAD has to
cover, making that area in a sense "off-limits" to METS. In a museum
setting, a practical dividing line would be that anything the
registrars have accessioned into the Collections Management System
will go into the EAD as individual item-level records;  METS will be
responsible for anything that needs to be expressed "below" the
record level (e.g. the structure of a chinese album represented by
one record in the EAD, comprised of 12 individual leafes presented
through METS).

Furthermore, if you are thinking in the context of a large union
database, both the EAD and METS fulfill certain access functions
which in turn may determine some of their boundaries - if you're
trying to use METS objects primarily to float multimedia surrogates
to the top of the archive, then using "meta"-METS objects (no
reference to multimedia assets, only to other METS docs) may be
problematic. Furthermore, using METS to build an digital
surrogates-only union database also means that even simple objects in
the EAD (one record, one image) can't be resolved through a thumbnail
- access file solution within the purview of the EAD anymore; the
record has to be duplicated as a METS object to make the multimeda
surrogate accessible through the METS-based image catalogue. In that
case, the presentation of digitized materials becomes the primary
decision point.

Any thoughts on this?

Guenter
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Guenter Waibel
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
Digital Media Developer http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/
Digital Imaging SIG Chair, MCN http://www.mcn.edu/visig_subscribe.taf
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Phone   510-643-8655
Fax     510-642-4889
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