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Chapter 10. EAD


EAD stands for Encoded Archival Description, and it is an SGML/XML vocabulary used to markup archival finding aids. Like TEI it has its roots deep in SGML, and like TEI has only recently become XML compliant.

As you may or may not know, finding aids are formal descriptions of things usually found in institution- al archives. These things are not limited to manuscripts, notes, letters, and published and published works of individuals or groups but increasingly include computer programs and data, film, video, sound recordings, and realia. Because of the volume of individual materials in these archives, items in the archives are usually not described individually but as collections. Furthermore, items are usually not or- ganized by subject but more likely by date since the chronological order things were created embodies the development of the collections' ideas. Because of these characteristics, items in archives are usually not described using MARC and increasingly described using EAD.

According to the EAD DTD, there are only a few elements necessary to create a valid EAD document, but creating an EAD document with just these elements would not constitute a very good finding aid. Consequently, the EAD Application Guidelines suggest the following elements:

  • ead - the root of an EAD document

  • eadheader - a container for meta data about the EAD document

  • eadid - a unique code for the EAD document

  • filedesc - a container for the bibliographic description of the EAD document

  • titlestmt - a container for things like author and title of the EAD document

  • titleproper - the title of the EAD document

  • author - the names of individuals or group who created the EAD document

  • publicationstmt - a container for publication information

  • publisher - the name of the party distributing the EAD document


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