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> I have some EAD questions and am not sure if they were discussed here
> before:
>
> While I understand that EAD has been used in an increasing number of
> archives and manuscripts libraries to encode finding aids, there are
> still a fair amount of institutions holding back on it. I am wondering
> what could be the possible reasons preventing them from using EAD.

Off the top of my head: expense, learning curve (in order to implement
meaningful EAD you need to learn XSLT as well as EAD itself, and getting a
grip on how all the parts fit together can be frustrating [well, it was for
me, anyway] ) and lack of immediate returns.  The point of encoding in EAD
rather than just HTML is to allow semantic access and processing of finding
aids--doing searches limited to particular fields, for example, or
generating lists of finding aids containing only the information you find
pertinent.  Doing these things, however, requires a large committment, as
the applications for processing XML are generally pretty arcane and require
a great deal of extra configuration to do anything meaningful with a
particular DTD such as EAD.  What it boils down to is this: at the moment,
with the applications that exist, for all but the largest repositories, most
of what users want to do with finding aids can be done with simple full-text
searches of HTML documents.  This being the case, it's easy to see what
smaller repositories don't want to pour resources into switching.

This isn't to say that the advantages of EAD are illusory, simply that--like
OPACs--EAD will take some time to reach its full potential, and to become
something more than simply an electronic facsimile of what it's replacing.

--Eli Naeher
   Lower Cape Fear Historical Society