Category Archives: Uncategorized

1st draft available for review: TARO schema-compliant encoding guidelines

On behalf of Rebecca Romanchuk and Carla Alvarez, TARO Standards Committee co-chairs, please read the following asking for your feedback on the new schema-compliant encoding guidelines, which will be used by all TARO repositories after each repository is converted to schema compliance later this year.
Please know that doing your conversion, you will have oneonone contact with a TARO volunteer to help you get started submitting finding aids in schema format using these guidelines, but we welcome your feedback on the guidelines now. ___________________________________________________________________________The TARO Standards subcommittee is pleased to announce that we have completed our first draft of the
EAD 2002 Schema Best Practice Guidelines for TARO!

Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO), Texas’ EAD finding aid consortial site – https://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/, is in the midst of an NEH planning grant to develop improved systems and updated standards for TARO as it achieves sustainability to serve the archival research community into the future. Part of this work is to create new encoding guidelines for TARO repositories that c onform to the EAD 2002 Schema encoding standard, which TARO will complete conversion to in 2016. These best practice guidelines (BPG) are available as a PDF at http://bit.ly/1Wk6p6W. The BPG appendices are a TARO-friendly sample Schema-compliant template for EAD encoding for your use, and an EAD finding aid ex ample. These appendices are also available at the same link as XML files.

We welcome feedback addressing every aspect of our BPG.

Go to http://goo.gl/forms/gaJXiCVtp4 to complete a brief survey to give us your ideas for how the BPG can better address your needs for EAD encoding. The survey is configured to adapt its questions depending on whether your repository is a TARO member, or if you are in Texas and have not yet joined TARO, or if you are outside of Texas and want to give us your general feedback.

Please complete the survey by Friday, June 3, 2016.

If you encode for TARO, we need to hear from you. The BPG, which will be a key tool for TARO participants, offers detailed guidance on creating EAD XML files. Even participants who export XML from software such as ArchivesSpace (and don’t see the raw XML) will need to follow TARO protocols as described in the BPG, such as formatting the <eadid>. You will need to follow the BPG in order to submit your Schema-compliant files to TARO, which each repository will be required to do by the end of 2016.

The co-chairs of the TARO Standards subcommittee extend sincere thanks to its members for their superb contributions to the BPG. Invaluable support has been provided during our drafting process by TARO Steering Committee co-chairs Amanda Focke and Amy Bowman, UT Libraries TARO technical support staff Minnie Rangel, and our NEH planning grant project manager Leigh Grinstead and grant consultant Jodi Allison-Bunnell. We are also grateful to the EAD consortial community at large for the encoding documentation they make available online, in particular Online Archive of California and Archives West, which are models that have guided us.

Cordially,

Carla Alvarez, MA, CA (co-chair – TARO Standards subcommittee)
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection
University of Texas at Austin

Rebecca Romanchuk, MLIS, CA (co-chair – TARO Standards subcommittee)
Team Lead, Archives / Archivist II
Archives and Information Services
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

TARO Standards subcommittee members:  
Maristella Feustle (UNT-Music Library),
Cynthia Franco (SMU-DeGolyer Library),
Molly Hults (Austin Public Library-Austin History Center),
Benna Vaughan (Baylor University-Texas Collection),
Jeffrey Warner (Rice University-Woodson Research Center).

Reminder: comments due by April15

Friendly reminder! Comments due on this document with TARO’s mission, vision, and more due by April 15. Thanks!

The TARO Steering Committee has worked with Leigh Grinstead, TARO’s NEH Planning Grant Manager, to create the following  collection development document articulating TARO’s purpose, background, mission, vision, audience, project scope, participation criteria and more.

This document is an important beginning step toward formalizing TARO. Additional documents will also be developed, such as TARO Best Practices Guidelines, and we continue to explore organizational issues and new platform options.

We invite you to read this collection development document and send any comments by April 15
to the TARO listserv (taro-lib@utlists.utexas.edu)
or directly to the co-chairs and project manager:

Co-chairs:
Amanda Focke, Rice University, afocke@rice.edu &
Amy Bowman, Briscoe Center for American Studies, a.bowman@austin.utexas.edu

Project Manager for NEH Planning Grant:
Leigh Grinstead, Lyrasis, leigh.grinstead@lyrasis.org
Thanks,
Amanda

Want to see more details such as meeting minutes and more? Go to the TARO wiki.

for public comment – TARO collection development policy

The TARO Steering Committee has worked with Leigh Grinstead, TARO’s NEH Planning Grant Manager, to create the following  collection development document articulating TARO’s purpose, background, mission, vision, audience, project scope, participation criteria and more.

This document is an important beginning step toward formalizing TARO. Additional documents will also be developed, such as TARO Best Practices Guidelines, and we continue to explore organizational issues and new platform options.

We invite you to read this collection development document and send any comments by April 15
to the TARO listserv (taro-lib@utlists.utexas.edu)
or directly to the co-chairs and project manager:

Co-chairs:
Amanda Focke, Rice University, afocke@rice.edu &
Amy Bowman, Briscoe Center for American Studies, a.bowman@austin.utexas.edu

Project Manager for NEH Planning Grant:
Leigh Grinstead, Lyrasis, leigh.grinstead@lyrasis.org
Thanks,
Amanda

Want to see more details such as meeting minutes and more? Go to the TARO wiki.

Schema transition underway – see the year’s rough schedule

TARO repositories have been sorted into three groups for the purposes of working through schema conversion process.

Each repository will be worked with individually to ensure their documentation and training needs are met.

Scroll down to see what to expect and where your repository is grouped, and please know we will be in touch with your repository to discuss this process and the timing.
Questions right now? Contact Amanda Focke

  • Group A – Spring / early Summer 2016: repositories already creating schema compliant XML with software such as ArchivesSpace, ArchivistsToolkit, CuadraStar, Archon.
  • Group B –   Summer – Fall 2016: repositories encoding by hand in XML editor of some sort, significant current staff experience and documentation
  • Group C –  Winter – early 2017: encoding by hand in XML or text editor, little or no current staff experience and documentation

TARO workflow steps for repositories moving to schema compliant XML submissions, 2016

What to expect: Overall, each repository should expect the conversion process to take about a week, with the work happening via a script run by Minnie Rangel, and the repository not having account access during that time. After that, the repository can submit edited or new finding aids as long as they are schema compliant, and guidance will be provided on how to do that.

  1. Scheduling the conversion, repository by repository

Minnie Rangel and Amanda Focke  to schedule conversion with repository at a convenient time.

  1. Blocking repository account access during conversion

Tuesday of the scheduled conversion week, the repository’s account access is blocked by Minnie to prevent any submissions during the conversions.

  1. Schema conversion of existing files at TARO
    Wednesday of the scheduled conversion week, Minnie runs the dtd-to-schema conversion script on the repository’s existing files in TARO. This may take 2-3 days depending on the number and size of the files. (For example, 800 files might take 2-3 days.) At the end of this process, all the XML files on TARO’s server for this repository will be schema compliant and valid, with no need for the repository to take further steps on them, unless there was an error (see below for further info on errors). The HTML webpage for the finding aids that researchers see online will not have changed at all.
  2. Repository to download their dtd files and new schema files for local backup.

Repository will log in to their TARO account in the usual manner as access will have been restored, and use the secure-shell client’s tools to download all their files. The old DTD XML will be in one folder and should no longer be used for current finding aid editing, only as an archived copy. The newly created schema compliant files can be used for editing if needed.

  1. Error correction on schema compliant XML

In the event of any errors, Minnie will supply a list of such errors which will be helpful in correcting them.

  • Please note that the correction of these errors is required but can be done at the convenience of the repository, since the finding aid seen by users is still the HTML as generated by the old DTD file.
  • Advice and troubleshooting will be available from the TARO Outreach and Committee, and possibly other TARO committee members as needed.
  1. Any new or edited XML submitted will need to be schema compliant and valid

Going forward from your conversion, any edits to files, such as for updates to a finding aid, will need to be submitted as a valid schema compliant XML file in order for it to process correctly and show online as HTML. You will be given the documentation and other info needed in order to do this using essentially the same workflow you already have, it is not a huge change.


 

A note about groups — if you think your repository is in the wrong group, or you don’t see your repository at all, please contact Amanda Focke. The groups were made based on survey responses in Fall 2015 or by email / phone in early Spring 2016.

Group A: roughly scheduled for Spring / early Summer

African American Library at the Gregory School (AS)
Baylor University (CuadraStar)
Rice University, Fondren Library, Woodson Research Center (AS)
Texas General Land Office Archives and Records (AT)
Texas A&M Corpus Christi (AS)
Texas A&M University Cushing Memorial Library (Archon)
University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections (Archon) University of North Texas Archives (Archon)
Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University (AS)

Group B: Roughly scheduled for Summer / early Fall

Austin History Center, Austin Public Library (NoteTab)
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Notepad++)
Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo (Oxygen) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin(Oxygen)
Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center (Oxygen) Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center (limbo between AT/AS)
San Jacinto Museum of History (Oxygen)
Southern Methodist University (Oxygen)
Stark Center, University of Texas at Austin (Notepad++)
Stephen F. Austin University (limbo between Archon/AS)
Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin (Oxygen)
Texas State Library and Archives Commission (Oxygen)
Texas Tech University Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library (Oxygen)
Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library (NoteTab)
Texas State University (Oxygen)
The University of Texas at Austin. Alexander Architectural Archive (Oxygen) –CONVERTED FEB 2016 IN TARO PILOT WORK
The University of Texas at Austin. Benson Latin American Collection (Oxygen)
The University of Texas at Austin. Dolph Briscoe Center for American History (Oxygen)
Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections,
Moody Medical Library, University of Texas Medical Branch (Oxygen)
University Archives and Special Collections The University of Texas at Tyler (limbo between Archon/AS)
University of Texas Arlington Library, Special Collections (XMetal)
University of Texas San Antonio (Oxygen)

Group C:  early 2017

Tyrrell Historical Library (Oxygen)
Concordia University Texas Historical Online Collection (Oxygen)
Lamar University’s Archives and Special Collections (NoteTab)
Robert E. Nail, Jr. Historical Archives at Old Jail Art Center (NoteTab)
San Antonio Municipal Archives
South Texas Archives at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (Oxygen)
Texas Woman’s University, the Woman’s Collection (Oxygen)
University of St. Thomas Archives
University of Texas El Paso (Oxygen)
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Oxygen)
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
UT Human Rights Documentation Initiative


 

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

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

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.