TARO changes behind the scenes this Fall

Fellow TARO members –

TARO is preparing to update its systems to accept schema compliant EAD.  

This is very exciting news! But what does this mean for you?

Updating to fit the modern environment

Since TARO’s beginning in 2000, repositories have been asked to send in EAD xml files of the “dtd-compliant” variety. Over time, the larger archives community has moved to what is known as “schema” compliant format. The difference between dtd format files and schema format files is relatively minor in terms of how we encode our finding aids, and will likely not be apparent to researchers browsing and searching finding aids.

More importantly, any design updates TARO needs will depend on our files being in schema format. At the same time, more TARO repositories have moved to using collection management software such as Archivists Toolkit, Archon, CuadraStar, or ArchivesSpace — all of which only export schema compliant EAD.  Currently those repositories have a variety of challenges in continuing to contribute to TARO in its current set up.

Clearly, TARO needs to shift into schema-compliance so that:

  • Our EAD is in alignment as we move forward with much needed upgrades to TARO’s infrastructure
  • repositories can have an easier path to participation in TARO, no matter how they create their finding aids

How will this work?

Most of TARO’s finding aids will batch convert seamlessly to schema-compliance without the  need for any additional work by TARO member repositories. However, some of our finding aids will require hand-encoded updates to work with the new system.

In Fall 2015, the TARO Steering Committee will conduct a pilot project that will convert a sampling of DTD-compliant TARO finding aids to schema-compliance. Based on the findings of this pilot project, we will evaluate what portion of our finding aids will require this attention, then create training and documentation for hand-updating existing finding aids. In addition, we will make tutorials that explain the installation steps for the schema-compliant EAD template to be used as members submit new finding aids. A schedule for the transition to schema-compliance will be released to TARO members after the conclusion of the pilot project and an evaluation of members’ need for assistance with hand-encoded updates to their EAD.

How will you know what is going on?

Should I keep submitting TARO finding aids right now?

Yes – please do! The only downtime for submitting your finding aids will be during the time we arrange with you to use the script to edit your files.

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