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Hi Ryan,
Working at an independent historical society with no IT staff and a archives staff with little technical background, I can completely understand what you are going through.  We started implementing EAD last year.  Our staff has been using the EAD Xforms tool created by Justin Banks (Available at:  http://www.archivists.org/saagroups/ead/tools.html).  It has taken our staff some training it get used to using it and to ensure that they type everything in the proper format, but otherwise it has been pretty successful.  My problem has been keeping up with all the individual files, making sure they validate, and then putting them online. 
I've been looking into implementing Archivists Toolkit at our institution, since it's database format will allow us to keep all our records in one place and then export as needed.  I have been very successful importing the finding aids that we created using Justin Banks' template, and MARC records from our online catalog (with the help of MarcEdit - http://oregonstate.edu/~reeset/marcedit/html/index.php).  I have not yet experimented with allowing some of our less tech savvy archivists or volunteers use Archivists Toolkit, though, so I'm not sure how easy or difficult it will be for them to understand.  
 
Good Luck!
 
Suzanne Maggard
Special Collections Assistant
The Filson Historical Society
1310 S. Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208
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On 4/23/08, Ryan Lee <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi all,
 
This is my first posting to this list. 
 
I am a new hire with a little EAD experience who has been asked to implement encoding finding aids in EAD.  EAD exists in a very simplified form currently, but it is only created in a simple database that is tied to the MARC record that supposedly can be exported into EAD, but we would like to do more.  The problem is that most of the staff here have little to no experience in XML, and much of the work of processing and creating finding aids is done by volunteers who have little to no experience with XML or technology in general.  Both parties also seem to suffer from a bit of techniphobia.  I am need of ideas to sort of break down this barrier and bridge the technology gap.
 
My question is:  Does anybody have experience in training volunteers or technphobes in EAD?  Any success stories?  Are there tools out there that make it so you can do EAD without having to know XML, or where you don't have to use an XML editor?  I know about the Archivist's Toolkit and a couple other similar software programs, but I don't know enough about them to see if they fit our needs.  In general, are there any ideas out there from past experience for making EAD easier to learn and more intuitive without making it too simplified?
 
In my EAD experience, we had a template and guidelines to follow, but we had to do the encoding in an XML editor and had to know a little about XML in order to be successful.  I am trying to make it as painless as possible without compromising too much.  Is that possible?
 
Thank you for any answers to these questions that you can provide.
 
Ryan
 
Ryan K. Lee
Metadata Specialist
LDS Church History Dept.
50 E. North Temple Rm. 289E
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
(801) 240-2173
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