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Sharing Your Finding Aids in CONTENTdm. Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Files in Mountain West Digital Library June 3, 2009. Sandra McIntyre, Mountain West Digital Library Cheryl Walters, Utah State University. Encoded Archival Description (EAD).

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sharing your finding aids in contentdm

Sharing Your Finding Aids in CONTENTdm

Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Files in Mountain West Digital LibraryJune 3, 2009

Sandra McIntyre, Mountain West Digital LibraryCheryl Walters, Utah State University

encoded archival description ead
Encoded Archival Description(EAD)
  • Used by archives and manuscripts libraries to encode data describing corporate records and personal papers
  • Variously called finding aids, guides, handlists, registers, or catalogues
  • Administered and maintained jointly by:
    • Society of American Archivists
    • U.S. Library of Congress
encoded archival description ead1
Encoded Archival Description(EAD)
  • Based on Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and its subset, eXtensible Markup Language (XML)
  • Main sections:
    • – contains the title and optional subtitle of the collection and detailed information about the finding aid itself
    • – contains the description of the collection material itself
ead file in xml
EAD file in XML

Finding Aid text is encoded using EAD and XML markup so the finding aids can be shared, searched and viewed electronically.

EAD element titleproper in XML tagging:

Register of the Andrew Karl Larson Papers

XML is the markup language that allows EAD files to be read and exchanged electronically.

ead 2002 schema
EAD 2002 Schema


using contentdm for ead files
Using CONTENTdm for EAD files
  • CONTENTdm 4.0: minimal EAD import
    • Extracted and imported 7 metadata fields
    • No display, just “Access this item”
  • Extraction script and other modifications by Terry Reese at Oregon State University
    • Extracted and imported unlimited fields
    • Some institutions modified the displays
  • CONTENTdm 5.1: improved EAD import functionality
    • Extracts and imports 47 metadata fields
    • Displays EAD file as pages in compound object
collaborative ead project
Collaborative EAD project
  • Utah Manuscripts Association (UMA)
  • Funding: LSTA grant 2007-2008
  • 6 pilot institutions:
    • Utah State University -- PI: Brad Cole
    • University of Utah
    • Brigham Young University
    • Weber State University
    • Utah State History
    • Utah State Archives
collaborative ead project goals
Collaborative EAD project: Goals
  • Interoperable use of metadata
    • EAD standard
    • Project’s own Best Practices Guidelines
  • Infrastructure for sharing and searching finding aids
    • Creating EAD files easily
    • Uploading files and metadata
    • Sharing in Mountain West Digital Library
  • Education and assistance for new partners
coming from different directions partners widely divergent
Coming from different directions: partners widely divergent
  • Stages of readiness:
    • One library had no electronic EAD finding aids, just print
    • Another had all finding aids in XML EAD
    • Some had a mixture of print, html, & EAD finding aids
  • Staff size: from very small to very large
  • IT support: from very little to a lot
  • Inhouse EAD expertise: from none to considerable
result 1 ead files in 6 local repositories
Result #1:EAD files in 6 local repositories

result 2 harvested centrally
Result #2:Harvested centrally

project steps
Project Steps
  • Project-specific standards
  • Encoding tool
  • Metadata extraction
  • Ingestion to CONTENTdm
  • XSL stylesheet for display of EAD files
  • Modification of the CONTENTdm item viewer
  • OAI harvest into Mountain West Digital Library
our best practice guidelines
Our Best PracticeGuidelines

See LSTA project wiki:

Based on other existing guidelines such as Northwest Digital Archive Best Practice Guidelines &

Best Practices and Application Guidelines for Creating EAD Finding Aids at the University of

Minnesota Libraries

encoding tools
Encoding tools
  • Custom shareware: xEAD from University of Utah
  • Commercial tools:
    • XML Editor by SyncRO Soft
    • NoteTab Pro by Fookes Software
    • XMetaL by Just Systems
metadata extraction mapping ead elements i e fields
Metadata extraction:Mapping EAD elements (i.e., fields)

35 EAD elements are extracted and mapped

metadata extraction extraction script
Metadata extraction:Extraction script
  • JScript batch extraction script:
    • Acts on all EAD files in the same folder
    • Parses XML: Takes EAD elements and maps them to CONTENTdm fields
    • Saves each record (=metadata extracted from one EAD file) as a separate line in a tab-delimited text file
jscript maps ead unitid into the collection number field of tab delimited spreadsheet
JScript maps EAD unitid into the Collection Number field of tab-delimited spreadsheet

JScript instruction:

// unitid to Collection Number

eadFields[4] = "ead:ead/ead:archdesc/ead:did/ead:unitid";

eadToCdm[4] = 3;

Spreadsheet with Dublin Core metadata

ingestion into contentdm
Ingestion into CONTENTdm
  • Standard CONTENTdm “Multiple Files” import
    • Metadata from tab-delimited text file goes into CONTENTdm fields.
    • All files from selected folder are uploaded.
  • Workaround for date ranges in 4.3
what s happening inside a folder of finding aid files during extraction
What’s happening inside a folder of finding aid files during extraction

Clicking on jscript file extracts Dublin Core fields and…

a tab delimited spreadsheet of DC metadata is created in same folder

xsl stylesheet
XSL stylesheet
  • Modifying CONTENTdm for immediate display of EAD file (with no CONTENTdm metadata record)
  • XSLT transformation of original EAD – controls the display of EAD elements to the user
  • Appearance customizable in CSS by each partner
  • Includes a search box for regional search of all finding aids in MWDL
xsl stylesheet1
XSL stylesheet,867

modifying item viewer in contentdm
Modifying item viewer in CONTENTdm

For CONTENTdm 4 or higher, with PHP 5 or higher:

  • Copy into appropriate directories:
    • XSL stylesheet
    • CSS stylesheet
    • Small images (for regional search box)
    • New include file basic_view_ead.php
  • Add about 25 lines in basic_view.php
project description and tools
Project description and tools

  • All 6 repositories up
  • 4,694 EAD files harvested so far in MWDL
  • Reports of more patron requests
  • Standards still difficult to maintain
    • U of U: some empty required fields
    • USU: changed call number convention
    • Weber State: dates not formatted correctly
  • Editing process for EAD changes is tedious
future growth
Future growth
  • Bringing in additional regional partners
  • Refining tools
  • Adding more EAD search and browse capability to MWDL
  • For repositories, adding links to digitized materials
contentdm 5 s improved ead import
CONTENTdm 5’s Improved EAD Import
  • Advantages:
    • Can import much bigger finding aids
    • No need for pre-mapping by another tool
  • Disadvantages:
    • Limited to importing one finding aid at a time; this is problematic if have large amounts of finding aids
    • Encoding problems need to be resolved:
      • Schema namespace not accepted so x-links don’t work
    • Jury still out: will all text for files be searchable?
questions welcome
Questions welcome!
  • Sandra McIntyreProgram DirectorMountain West Digital Library(801) [email protected]
  • Cheryl WaltersHead, Digital InitiativesUtah State University Merrill-Cazier Library(435) [email protected]