The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the  
University of Virginia; the California Digital Library, University of  
California; and the School of Information, University of California,  
Berkeley are pleased to announce The Social Networks and Archival  
Context (SNAC) Project, funded by the National Endowment for the  
Humanities (NEH), Preservation & Access, Research & Development  
Program. The two-year project will begin in May 2010.

SNAC will address the ongoing challenge of transforming description of  
and improving access to primary humanities resources through the use  
of advanced technologies. The project will test the feasibility of  
using existing archival descriptions in new ways in order to enhance  
access to and understanding of cultural resources in archives,  
libraries, and museums.

Leveraging the recently released Encoded Archival Context–Corporate  
Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF), the SNAC Project will use  
digital technology to “unlock” descriptions of people from  
descriptions of their records and link them together in new ways.  
First, it will create an efficient open-source tool that allows  
archivists to separate the process of describing people from that of  
describing records, meaning that it will pave the way for improving  
the quality of description and the quantity of resources described.  
Second, it will create a prototype historical resource and access  
system which will be based on creator descriptions—linked to one  
another and to resource descriptions in archives, libraries and  
museums, online biographical and historical databases, and other  
diverse resources—thereby providing more effective access and robust  
historical context to a broad array of humanities materials.

The project will derive EAC-CPF records from existing archival finding  
aids from the Library of Congress, the Online Archive of California,  
the Northwest Digital Archive, and Virginia Heritage. Derived records  
will be matched against and enhanced with data from name authority  
files supplied by the Library of Congress (Library of Congress/NACO  
Name Authority File), Getty Vocabulary Program (Union List of Artist  
Names), and OCLC Research (providing data from the Virtual  
International Authority File (VIAF)).

The SNAC collaborators will establish a project Web site in the next  
few weeks. The Web site will provide detailed information on the  
project as well as provide access to the narrative of the proposal  
submitted to NEH.

The project collaborators wish to thank the participating institutions  
for granting access to data and permission to use them for research  

Finding Aids:

Library of Congress (

Online Archive of California (

Northwest Digital Archive (

Virginia Heritage (

Authority Records:

Library of Congress/NACO Name Authority File ( 

The Getty Vocabulary Program Union List of Artist Names ( 

Virtual International Authority File (

Finally, we would like to thank The National Endowment for the  
Humanities ( for funding the project.