Hi, Barbara.


We still have a number of things to attend to before we move this framework over to our live site, but you can check out our redesign (bugs and all) here:


(and do use the “feedback” form in the lower-right corner if you want)


…as opposed to online display, though, which I still think requires constant updating and more discussion (especially as screen sizes have become bigger and smaller), my feeling is that making the data (i.e., EAD sans stylesheet) as freely available/request-able as possible, especially as the EAD/EAC standard itself evolves, will be the most important thing that we can do for our collections. 


For instance, far more interesting, in my opinion, than the online delivery of information about a mass of collections confined to one institution, is the possibility of exploiting how different collections, which are geographically dispersed, relate to one another.  And, I think this becomes increasingly true as “special collections” materials become digitized and made to be (in my opinion) less special; and,  because of that, all the more in need of becoming both highly connected and user-friendly (lest they become both less special and deemed to be too cumbersome to bother with).


How different might archival research look like if we could entice a startup company  to use our data to build and maintain an interface?  For just one example, consider how Powerset (later purchased by Microsoft) updated and innovated wikipedia’s data made available via the DBpedia project.  Here’s an example page, for the “Archives of American Art”:




All of these tools, such as the highlighter, could be replicated for the online delivery of EAD, but it would take some work, and it’s not really work worth doing by each and every institution.  So, we’ll either need more people working on open-source endeavors focused on delivery, such as the fantastic XTF project, and/or we’ll need to work on establishing some sort of EADpedia project.





Mark Custer






From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Aikens, Barbara
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 9:30 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Call for Contributions to SAA Presentation


Dear Colleagues,


You may recall that last fall I wrote the listserv asking about the development of really new and different online displays of  and search interfaces for EAD structured data – presentations that were really appropriate for the web environment, as opposed to more traditional online pdf and htm displays that resemble paper finding aids.  


After some online discussions and comments, Jackie Dooley at RLG volunteered to pull together a SAA session and it was accepted.  The title is “Structured Data Is Essential for Effective Archival Description and Discovery:  True or False?”  Speakers are Michael Fox, Noah Huffman, and myself.   I had planned to focus my presentation on AAA’s interface of linking all resources (catalog record, finding aid, Collections Online, digital images) via the creator, and present our prototypes for improved finding aid displays.  I also wanted to briefly discuss the new Smithsonian Collections Search Center. 


As I think about the presentation more, though,  I thought it might be fun to also highlight the work of others in addition to the work we’re doing at AAA.   I know that many of you have also been doing innovative work with online prototypes and search interfaces for EAD data.  This would be a good way to get information out there about a lot of projects on a national level, rather than just one or two.  So, if you think your work with EAD structured data is something different and interesting, and are interested in having your project mentioned, please let me know and we can talk.   I’m thinking perhaps one or two PP slides with a paragraph of narrative that I could read, as well as contact information.  



Barb Aikens



Barbara D. Aikens


Chief, Collections Processing

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Ph: 202-633-7941

email:  [log in to unmask]


Mailing Address

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

PO Box 37012

Victor Bldg., Suite 2200, MRC 937

Washington, DC  20013-7012