XML at UNC: What's New

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1. What's New For You in EAD 2002?

If you're new to EAD, you won't care about the changes between EAD Version 1.0 and EAD Version 2002. Just follow this manual, and you'll be okay.

If you're an old hand at EAD, you'll probably be happy to know that there's really not much in EAD 2002 that will directly affect how you do your finding aids. Here's a summary of the upfront and behind the scenes changes from Encoded Archival Description Tag Library Version 2002, which lives in Lynn's office (the book's a lovely minty green). If you're interested in more details, feel free to take a look at the tag library (also available at http://www.loc.gov/ead/tglib/index.html).

There are two new elements in the Descriptive Identification of the Unit <did>: Language of the Material <langmaterial>, and Material Specific Details <materialspec>. Replacing the LANGMATERIAL attribute in <archdesc> and <c>, the <langmaterial> element makes it possible to provide intelligible information about language(s) to the end user. Information such as scale for technical drawings and maps and playing time for sound recordings can be expressed in <materialspec>, expanding EAD's applicability beyond "traditional" archival materials.
Archival Description <archdesc> (and therefore all components) also has some new elements. Location of Originals <originalsloc> parallels the originals/copies aspect of Alternative Form Available <altformavail>. Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements <phystech> accommodates the new ISAD(G) rule 3.4.4, and indicates whether there are unusual physical aspects or if special equipment is needed to access the materials. Legal Status <legalstatus>, a new subelement of <accessrestrict>, replaces the former LEGALSTATUS attribute on <archdesc>.
A new subelement in the <profiledesc> header element, Descriptive Rules <descrules>, accommodates the new ISAD(G) element 3.7.2 to provide the descriptive code used to create the finding aid.
Structural changes have also been implemented in EAD 2002. Administrative Information <admininfo> and Adjunct Descriptive Data <add> have been "unbundled," i.e., the elements that were formerly nested within these two elements are now available directly in <archdesc> and <c>. While they provided a useful grouping tool at the highest level of description, frequently the need to open, for example, <admininfo> to use <accessrestrict> at the component level simply created tagging overhead…
EAD 2002 presents a host of new attributes, and most of the semi-closed lists of attribute values have been eliminated. In most cases, the semi-closed lists were very Anglo-centric and inhibited international adoption of EAD (e.g., the list of controlled vocabulary thesauri for the SOURCE attribute). It will now be the responsibility of individual repositories to use consistently the code lists and terminology recommended by national practices.
Finally, archivists persuasively articulated the need for certain elements and attributes in places where they weren't available in EAD version 1.0. As a result, <title> is now available in <indexentry>, and "singlequote" and "doublequote" have been added as values for the RENDER attribute, in addition to other improvements.

Where they fit into our typical workflows, the new EAD 2002 stuff has been incorporated into this manual (<processinfo> now includes information about who and when the collection was processed and about revisions to EAD-encoded finding aids; <relatedmaterial> now appears right after Online Catalog Headings; <separatedmaterial> now appears right after the Collection Overview; <organization> has turned into <arrangement>). Other new things noted above are for special cases or probably not what we want (e.g., <materialspec> sounds like something the SFC would want to use, but reading the description in the tag library will persuade you otherwise).

One thing not mentioned above is the disappearance of the single date as a type attribute. We will also now begin normalizing dates. See SINGLE AND NORMAL DATES.

At the same time EAD was morphing from 1.0 to 2002, NCEAD was rewriting its guidelines. Some of the changes you'll find in this manual have to do with decisions made on the NC EAD front. You'll see a lot more encoding analogs (these are crosswalks to MARC21 cataloging) that are encouraged by NCEAD. The creation of two abstracts (one for biographical/historical information) and the other for scope and content information) is a result of increased use of encoding analogs.

The most significant of these changes, however, are joining the national trend of requiring normalized dates at the highest levels of description and implementing the NMToken concept. You'll find the date normalization procedures in this manual. Here is the explanation of NMTokens from the NCEAD Best Practices Guidelines 2002:

One of the most dramatic changes to the dtd in EAD 2002 was the move from semi-closed lists and the implementation of NMTokens for many attributes. NMTokens consist of an undefined attribute value list. For each applicable element, EAD 2002 allows for the option of restricting an attribute value list in a separate file. For example, in EAD Version 1.0, the attribute type for <container> had a semi-closed list which included: carton, box, folder, reel, frame, oversize, reel-frame, volume, map-case, box-folder, page, folio, and othertype. This attribute value is now an NMToken … a closed list ..defined in the related file, eadlocal.ent. These defined values [are] confirmed during the parsing process of an individual EAD instance.

In practice, this means that you won't be able to misspell folder, and we will no longer use "othertype" as an attribute. The only places we've actually implemented NMToken lists are in the source attribute for <controlaccess> and the type attribute for <container>. The source list was made in agreement among NCECHO institutions. Most people doing finding aids won't need to worry about this list. See CONTAINER TYPES for the list of type attributes.

Switching to Version 2002 also allows us to change a few practices that we probably should have changed a while ago. We've done WAY too much content tagging (tagging text with <persname>, <corpname>, etc.) in the past. Please see the new short, but important, section of this manual called CONTENT TAGS for how to tag text. In the past, we included scope and content information in <unittitle> tags at the file (e.g., container) and item levels:

<c03><did><container type="folder">9</container>
<unittitle>Volume 9, <unitdate type="inclusive">1888-
1889</unitdate>, 486 pp.: Letterbook containing business 
correspondence</unittitle></did></c03>

Now we'll do it right:

<c03><did><container type="folder">9</container>
<unittitle>Volume 9, <unitdate type="inclusive">1888-
1889</unitdate>, 486 pp.</unittitle></did> 
<scopecontent><p>Letterbook containing business 
correspondence</p></scopecontent></c03>

AND, very exciting is our ability to add digital archival objects (DAO) to finding aids (you could always do this, but our xsl stylesheet never supported it before). This means that you can scan a particularly wonderful letter, photo, whatever to illustrate your finding aid. You can also include audio and video clips. At least initially, we don't want to go wild on these additions because of space considerations on the Library web server, but we could certainly handle DAOs scattered here and there at this point (and maybe more in future after we see how the space usage goes. See The Tao of DAO.

As always, please refer questions and report malfunctions to Lynn.

Happy EAD 2002ing!

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