All posts by hrainey

Overview of Encoding Survey

Last month, I solicited EAD templates and documentation from partner institutions to get a clearer picture of TARO’s EAD landscape. Thank you to the 24 institutions that answered the questionnaire and provided documentation. The responses and accompanying documentation illuminate some of the shared (or similar) encoding practices across the TARO partners, as well as areas of encoding diversity. This knowledge will help me and the Steering Committee make useful recommendations for incorporating a schema-compliant workflow into existing practices. The goal is to find that sweet point between breadth and specificity, so that participation in TARO is both convenient and beneficial.     

Overall, there is plenty of common ground amongst the respondents in regards to encoding workflows and processes. The following is a very general overview of the survey responses:   

24 total responses

17 of the 24 of the institutions that responded to the survey described a process of encoding by hand using previous finding aids and/or templates as guides. MS Word and Excel are common tools used for creating collection inventories that are then copied and pasted into an XML editor.   

13 use Oxygen XML editor  

Finding aid creation is a multi-step, multi-tool process for everyone, and common ground bodes well as TARO moves toward greater standardization. Common tools, such as MS Excel and Oxygen XML editor can be incorporated and leveraged in best practices guidelines.  

As of right now, fewer organizations use archival management systems, while a handful of respondents expressed plans to adopt an AMS in the near future.

7 use AMS

3 ArchivesSpace
2 Archivists’ Toolkit
1 Archon
1 CuadraStar

As you may be aware, ArchivesSpace generates schema-compliant EAD. In fact, the AS output is sometimes stricter than the EAD 2002 schema . Currently, the institutions that use these archival management systems must reverse edit their EAD back to DTD to make it TARO compliant. With more organizations adopting (or at least considering) management systems, TARO must plan to accommodate current and future developments in technology. Updating the XML in TARO will not only improve the front-end user experience, but will also broaden potential participation.

The greatest variation across the respondents appears (quite obviously) in the documentation, instructions, and templates of each contributing institution. A large consideration going forward is finding the optimal level of standardization that benefits all contributing institutions. Participation in TARO should be easy, perhaps effortless. With this goal in mind, the question we need to ask is:

How can we reduce redundancies between unique institutional workflows and contributing to TARO?

Feel free to continue this conversation, especially if you feel that the overview above does not represent how your institution creates EAD.

 

Schema Compliance Intern

Picture of Hannah
Hannah helping remote researchers at the Harry Ransom Center

Hello TARO! My name is Hannah Rainey and I am the schema compliance intern for the 21st Century Collaborative Planning Project. I am very honored and excited to join the effort to update TARO. I am passionate about improving access, both in the reading room and behind the scenes.

Before I describe my role in the project, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in lovely Boise, Idaho where I developed a love for the outdoors. I attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts where I developed a hatred of winter. In 2010, I completed a BA in Cinema and Media Studies. I began working at a music library as an undergrad and have since worked in a variety of libraries and archives, including a short and very fun stint at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. Currently, I am a Graduate Intern in Reference and Public Services at the Harry Ransom Center. If all goes as planned, I will graduate with a master’s degree from the UT School of Information this December.

From now until January, I will work directly with archivists at the Briscoe Center and librarians at UT Libraries to develop workflows for testing EAD finding aids. My goal is to identify common pain points in the transformation from DTD to Schema, and get a general sense of the time it will take to correct common errors, both manually and programmatically. My work will comprise a small portion of the overall effort to update and adopt shared encoding standards across the TARO consortium.

If you have any questions or comments please email me: rainey.hannahleah@gmail.com