All posts by afocke

Scheduling the transition to schema compliance in 2016

Dear fellow TARO members,

Our progress towards updating TARO files to schema compliance continues.

Thanks to your participation in our Fall 2015 survey regarding your repositories’ methods for creating EAD finding aids, we have been able to group our TARO repositories into 3 groups for the purpose of scheduling each repository’s schema updates in 2016:

  • Group A includes repositories already creating schema compliant finding aids (for example those using collection management software which exports schema compliant EAD). This group would go through the schema transition first (Spring 2016).
  • Group B includes repositories creating dtd compliant finding aids with significant staff experience and workflow documentation. This group would go through the schema transition second, with assistance from members of the TARO team (timeframe to be determined).
  • Group C includes repositories creating dtd compliant finding aids with less staff experience and workflow documentation, as well as those who are close to creating dtd compliant finding aids and who need training or other support to get started. This group would go through the schema transition third, with assistance from members of the TARO team (timeframe to be determined).

About half of TARO repositories responded to the survey which allows us to sort repositories into these groups for planning purposes.
Our next step will be to follow up in the next two weeks with the repositories who did not respond so we can plan the year’s schema compliance work accordingly. We do realize that in some cases where repositories did not respond, the contact email we have could have been out of date, and we will do our best correct that situation.

Questions about this schema compliance planning process? Contact Amanda Focke at afocke@rice.edu.

Otherwise, stay tuned!
Thanks,
Amanda
TARO Steering Committee Co-chair
TARO blog for public news Wiki as working committee records

Upgrading to schema compliance in 2016!

As promised in August 2015, we at TARO have been working diligently on preparing our system to move to the more modern format of schema-compliant EAD.
We have conducted our pilot project for moving to schema-compliance.

We will start with volunteers for early conversion with the rest following as training and support allows. No one will be rushed into conversion.
We will contact you in January 2016 to discuss this process, answer your questions,  and hear when your repository would consider participating.
A specific TARO contact person will be available to you for questions and assistance throughout this process.

We will be ready starting in January 2016 to begin working with each repository one at a time to:
1.) Convert the repository’s existing files which are on TARO over to schema compliance. TARO’s Minnie Rangel will use an automated process and then work with repositories on manually following up on any errors (at the repository’s convenience, or at the time when the repository wishes to reload a given file for content changes). The time needed for this will vary from repository to repository, but shouldn’t be significant, and is not on a particular deadline.
2.) Give you the information you need in order to start submitting schema-compliant files to TARO from then on.
(You may still submit dtd-compliant files all the way up until the time your repository converts to schema compliant submission.)

We look forward to working with you on this and appreciate your participation, as this step is the basis for any additional TARO improvements.

Sincerely,
Amanda Focke, on behalf of the TARO Steering Committee

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.