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Lucy,

I ran into this problem a while back (with some non-EAD pages) and I do
not think this is so much a question of how you encode the finding aids as
how they are transformed into HTML and how the HTML page is linked to.

When I looked at it, I discovered that a lot of EAD (and non-EAD) finding
aids are not readily discoverable on Google.  There appear to be two main
reasons.  First, you have to have a hard-coded link to the HTML version of
the finding aid.  It is not good enough to provide access only through a
search mechanism or database.  Google follows a link in order to index the
finding aid.  OAC has hard coded links, so you are covered on that score.

After that, the most important thing is to provide an accurate and concise
<title> in the html <head> element.  (I found many HTML finding aids
converted from EAD had no title or a very misleading one.)  This is really
a question of how the finding aid is transformed from EAD or another
format into HTML.  Data should be mapped from the <titleproper> or
possibly the <unittitle> in the <archdesc> and if necessary additional
califying information should be added in by the stylesheet or webscript.
If you view the source of this page, you can see how I handled this for
information in our holdings database:

http://web.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/uaccard/UAControlCard.asp?RG=2&SG=15&RS=10

In the case of the finding aid you link to, it seems to be readily
discoverable through Google.  The only way to improve the page score
beyond adding additional information to the title would be to coax other
websites to linking directly to the finding aid, since Google's page ranks
is based on external links.  So If you don't have hard links to each
finding aid from your own site, I would consider adding them.

Yours,

Chris

Christopher J. Prom
Assistant University Archivist
University of Illinois Archives
Room 19 Library (MC-522)
1408 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801

web:    http://www.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
phone:  217 333 0798
fax:    217 333 2868

On Wed, 10 Dec 2003, Barber, Lucy wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I am a novice EAD encoder!  So the answer to this question may be obvious to
> others with more experience in EAD or web-based authoring in general.
>
> The question is how do we encode so it is more likely that people will find
> our materials when using Google (or other search engines.)
>
> Background: We post our finding aids in EAD through the On-Line Archive of
> California.  We are trying to figure out how to ensure that our finding aids
> are likely to be found by people searching for the department that we list
> (for example, the California Department of Agriculture).  Because of our
> conventions for naming these materials, we do not always include California
> in the title of the finding aids.  Yet we are aware that there are many
> Department of Agricultures in cyberspace.  We know that if people are
> searching within the OAC, they will find our materials without much trouble.
>
> But we are not certain if the same is consistently true for other materials.
> Is there some method that we can use to improve the results that will still
> meet EAD standards? We are considering making some minor changes in the
> encoding of many of our finding aids and might be able to incorporate
> suggestions into this process.
>
> One example of a relatively "elusive" finding aid is the California Air
> Resources Board -- http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf7f59n8kg
>
> Thanks for any help this list can offer,
>
> Lucy Barber
>
> -----------------------------------------------
> Lucy Barber
> Archivist
> California State Archives
> 1020 "0" St
> Sacramento, CA 95814
> 916-651-8419
> [log in to unmask]
>