Our general rule is to use end punctuation within <p> (where it would be obligatory) but nowhere else with the reasoning being that it's easier to have a stylesheet add end punctuation if you want it than to strip it off if you don't.  If the past, we provided a "subject browse" list generated from our EAD files.  It would have looked really ugly in that context with everything having end punctuation.  Plus, I remember a time (although distant now) when end punctuation was not included in MARC terms.  In other words, rules change, LC practice changes and now we have RDA. 

Mark Carlson
University of Washington, Seattle

On 3/11/2014 8:11 PM, Ashley Knox wrote:
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This has probably been spoken about in the past, but now that so many EAD implementors are using data entry systems and not necessarily generating custom stylesheets, what might the consensus be on using end punctuation after controlled headings. Is there a strong reason to keep or get rid of it? I have heard arguments for both.

As a digital collections department, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place in trying to standardize this. I'm seeing many digital/metadata heavy groups going away from the punctuation in metadata for digital objects (perhaps planning to allow for systems to control that still) and then EAD implementors creating finding aids with the punctuation.  I surveyed a few institutions that came to mind. I mostly see the punctuation kept. However, with something like DPLA, there is no end punctuation. I'm creating metadata and finding aids for both areas, but describing the same material, as in, a finding aid of correspondence with punctuated controlled headings and then a digital collection of the same correspondence with DC metadata with non-punctuated headings.

We plan to implement ArchivesSpace and we don't really know an automated way to switch back and forth between formatting choices like this conveniently, so it would be great to go with something and stick with it. Right now, in our AT, we use end punctuation. I guess what matters is that we CAN include the punctuation at our institution if we want to and export/share our EAD that can easily be altered through stylesheets if a system we shared with opted against them. I still have a hard time grasping using the same headings in two different places at our own institution and including punctuation in one and not the other--with no real strong reason of why on either--while at the same time having no qualms with the fact that our library catalog obviously uses it and is where the argument begins. If someone can show me some examples of what they do and why, or why we shouldn't care about a small formatting issue that could also span across other fields too, I would appreciate it greatly. MARC 245 also uses end punctuation, but EAD finding aid titles do not? Is this a parallel issue that would show why punctuation doesn't matter?

DPLA – No Periods

These finding aid/EAC/EAD examples/best practices say do include/instruct to use periods





OAC Practices - page 13:


Northwest Digital Archives Best Practice Guidelines

Page 25 – their systems adds it in for them, so they don’t put it in manually


DACS 2nd Edition says to follow AACR2 or RDA, but then the examples don't actually use any end punctuation.

PAGE 32--General Rules 
2.6.4 Record the name(s) of the creator(s) identified in the name element in the devised 
title of the materials using standardized vocabularies (e.g., Library of Congress 
Authorities) or with rules for formulating standardized names, such as those found in 
 Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804 
 Title: Alexander Hamilton papers 
Lyon, Phyllis 
Martin, Del 
 Title: Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin papers 
Richardson, James Burchell 
 Title: James Burchell Richardson family papers 
Schramm family 
 Title: Schramm family papers 
Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937 
Fullerton, William Morton, b. 1865 
Title: Edith Wharton correspondence with Morton Fullerton 
Bollingen Foundation 
 Title: Bollingen Foundation records 
United States. Bureau of Insular Affairs 
 Title: United States Bureau of Insular Affairs records 
Irvine Company 
University of California (System). Regents. 
Title: Land agreements between the University of California 
and the Irvine Company 

Finally, the names of these entities must be rendered in a standardized form using 
standardized vocabularies (e.g., Library of Congress Authorities) or with rules for 
formulating standardized names such as those found in AACR2, ISAAR(CPF), or 
RDA to facilitate the retrieval of information across descriptions, systems, and 

And FINALLY, EAD3 Gamma has an example on page 243 of a subject heading encoded and DOES include end punctuation.


ArchivesSpace members (examples of current EAD examples):

end punctuation;expand=subject;route=ksrlead;brand=ksrlead;query= (nonmember)

no end punctuation


Ashley Knox

Digital Projects Librarian

University of South Carolina Libraries

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(803) 777-0735