I'm from Florence, Italy and I built for State Archive of LUCCA (Italy) what we call e-ASLU, a structure EAD-like which describes all the archive as a tree up to the leaves (documents, parchments, maps) with their images. This is all XML/XSLT native without Data Base.

Well I thought a lot about the question of getting easy way to fill the structure of this XML Structure and I concluded that
it was much more important to learn something of common tools to handle XML than building  easy interface for the archivists.
Handling Archives is also a question of tools to do it and then of knowledge of these tools. If you don'k know tools you have at disposal, you cannot know what realy are you freedom degrees in making your job.
The word "technology" is very often an "alibi" for a phobia that has no sense.
When pen was invented people could speak of technology but, an instant after, all people started to use it and in a short time it become an every-day-normal-use tool. Somebody made resistence, exactly as today.

I consider tha "centrality of data" the most important issue for an Archive, with the possibility of using, handling showing etc. own data directly by the owner (the Archive and the archivists). Today we have a tool like XML that permits to avoid intermediates to see, handle and show data: this is a great freedom degree and we cannot delegate to external "technology specialists". We must know them.

Finally to give a direct answer, I always say that
I could demostrate that Informatics is a great solution (because I believe it) but I would be able to demostrate that it is very dangerous and at the end unusefull (if I don't believe it).

That is: if you think you have find the right road (I agree), you must force even if somebody will remain technophobe.
I remember that knowledge makes it painless.

Buona Fortuna

Giovanni Tartaglione
LUCCA e-ASLU project manager 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ryan Lee 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 6:21 PM
  Subject: EAD for volunteers and/or techiphobes

  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 K. Lee
  Metadata Specialist
  LDS Church History Dept.
  50 E. North Temple Rm. 289E
  Salt Lake City, UT 84150
  (801) 240-2173
  [log in to unmask]

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