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I’m please to announce that a forum entitled “Envisioning a Rhode Island EAD finding aid collaboration” was held

in March (read more details of the forum in the publicity release below). 


There is now a small group representing 5 repositories in the state working to write grant applications for a

Rhode Island EAD pilot project:

            Brown University (lead institution)

            Rhode Island Historical Society

            Rhode Island State Archives

            University of Rhode Island

            Westerly Public Library

Sarah J. Shaw

Digital Initiatives Librarian

Brown University Library

Box A  Providence, RI  02912

TEL:  401 863-1508  

FAX:  401 863-1272

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Submitted by: Sarah Shaw, Digital Initiatives Librarian, Brown University ([log in to unmask])



Rhode Island EAD finding aid collaboration forum


Brown University Library’s Center for Digital Initiatives hosted an all-day forum on March 28, 2006 entitled “Envisioning a Rhode Island EAD finding aid collaboration”. To open this dialogue, Brown invited 20 participants representing a cross-section of Rhode Island universities, public libraries, historical societies, and state-level agencies/consortiums/networks to discuss the feasibility of forming a Rhode Island consortium to create a union database of guides to archival and manuscript collections throughout the state.  The finding aids would be encoded in EAD (Encoded Archival Description), a data structure standard endorsed by the Society of American Archivists and the Library of Congress, which allows searching across collections and institutions, and retains the hierarchical nature of each collection.


In the morning, CDI staff at Brown (Sarah Shaw, Jennifer Betts, and Patrick Yott) demonstrated consortial finding aid sites developed for other states and regions, and gave an overview of EAD.  Kelcy Shepherd (Five College Project Archivist) was invited to speak on “Working within an EAD consortium & an update on the Archivists’ Toolkit”.  This was followed by demonstrations of three existing Rhode Island finding aid websites at the Rhode Island Historical Society, Naval War College, and University of Rhode Island.


After lunch, the group discussed opportunities for collaboration and how a plan for effective collaboration might be developed.  A smaller group was formed to carry the work forward and seek funding for a pilot project to encode a sample of finding aids to be posted on a consortial website entitled “Rhode Island Archival & Manuscript Collections Online (RIAMCO)”.  Sarah Shaw (Digital Initiatives Librarian, Brown University) will facilitate meetings of the pilot project group.