In response to Karen's comment about not knowing what rules archives use,
the archival community uses RAD (Rules for Archival Description) in the
creation of archival finding aids (their term for the metadata they create
for archival collections).  RAD is the AACR of the archival world, at
least in North America.  It is a key part to the creation of Encoded
Archival Descriptions (EAD) finding aids.  I think, like AACR, it has
served as a model for rules for archival description in many
countries.  There is also ISAD(G), the General International Standard
Archival Description rules endorsed by the International Council on
Archives which have been in use for at least 10 years.  I'm not sure, but
it seems to me RAD was revised to incorporate aspects of ISAD(G).  I'll
let a real archivist comment on that process.  EAD users also follow
published application guidelines which have done a lot to standardize the
content of archival finding aids.

Randy Barry

On Tue, 13 May 2003, Karen Coyle wrote:

> Suzanne, in a sense I think you are asking cataloging questions. One of the
> reasons for leaning on cataloging rules is that there are often many
> different ways that you can represent the same item (look at how many
> different citation rules there are). None of them do everything, and none
> are "perfect," but you choose one and go with it. The cataloging rules then
> inform your electronic record structure. I think it's hard to answer these
> questions in a vacuum because there is no single answer.
> That said, it sounds like you want to maintain the relationships between
> the parts, which leads me to think that you might do better looking at
> archival "cataloging" rather than library cataloging. The archival
> community is less interested in pure identification and retrieval and is
> more interested in defining structure and context. Libraries are willing to
> finesse structural relationships as long as retrieval mechanisms (i.e.
> keyword searches) will deliver the records to the user.
> That said, I know that archivists use the EAD ( as
> their data format, but I don't know what they use as rules. METS can give
> you structure, but it doesn't provide cataloging -- so the cataloging has
> to come from elsewhere. We store our EADs in METS, since METS works well as
> a wrapper around metadata. We also store MARC-XML in METS, MODS in METS,
> and DDI (Data Document Initiative) in METS. So METS could wrap around a set
> of records and give them structure, but it doesn't help you know what
> should be in your records in the first place.
> kc
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> Karen Coyle           [log in to unmask]
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Randall K. Barry
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