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  1. 1. Standards and exchange formats in the UK: The Role of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) in promotion of Access to Archives in the UK Bill Stockting: Standards and exchange formats for interoperability among archival information systems: Bologna 8 May 2008
  2. 2. Introduction UK archivists started using beta version of EAD in 1997, mainly at:  The National Archives (TNA) (then the Public Record Office (PRO)  University manuscripts and archives departments EAD implemented in online applications of individual university repositories and programmes providing federated access, such as:
  3. 3. Access to Archives (A2A) -
  4. 4. Archives Hub -
  5. 5. Introduction Discussion will look at:  Background to success of EAD - the right tool at the right time  Illustration of EAD as a flexible tool in the archival description process:  Capturing standardised metadata  Editing and storing metadata  Searching and presenting metadata  Exchanging metadata
  6. 6. Background Development of ICT and Internet in 1990’s:  Archivists see potential of ICT tools for access to archives and development of EAD in US  UK strategic environment favourable and Government policy argues for increased access to archives as part of and electronic service delivery in public sector  Need for data format standards to achieve presentation of archival metadata online
  7. 7. Background EAD - the right tool at the right time:  Based on open standards: Initially SGML but early compatibility with XML and developing technologies  Not tied to commercial software and freely available  Commitment to development and maintenance by international EAD Working Group  Great flexibility
  8. 8. Capturing Standardised Metadata EAD a structure standard designed to work with description standards such as  MARC  ISAD(G), especially in current version - EAD 2002 EAD tags allow representation of:  finding aids conforming to rules of multi-level description  all ISAD(G) data elements
  9. 9. Capturing Standardised Metadata EAD used to create new finding aids:  Text files easy to create  Use of common SGML/XML authoring tools that allow validation against EAD DTD  Templates developed to lessen routine tagging - e.g. Archives Hub online template -
  10. 10. Capturing Standardised Metadata EAD used in process of retro- conversion of legacy finding aids:  TNA conversion from distributed finding aids system to integrated standardised multi-level catalogue  A2A Programme - conversion of paper and non- standardised electronic finding aids using EAD template  Conversion services such as RLG/APEX
  11. 11. Editing and Storing Metadata Despite advantages of relational databases for the storage and editing of descriptive metadata EAD also used:  Smaller repositories - e.g. Modern Records Centre, at the University of Warwick  Federated services such as Archives Hub and A2A Programme
  12. 12. Searching and Presenting Metadata EAD used to present finding aids online:  Single finding aids by transformation of EAD as XML to HTML via XSL  Federated services show many strategies:  Archives Hub: Cheshire Search engine XML, Z39.50 and GRS1  NAHSTE: perl, XML::Twig and cgi  A2A: XML, HTTP and XSL