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Archive for the 'EAD' Category

Spreadsheet to EAD to ArchivesSpace

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

The spreadsheet (ead_from_excel_for_as) attached to this post is being tested to markup EAD <c>s optimized for ingest to ArchivesSpace.  This spreadsheet allows users to take advantage of the drop-down, autofill, and autoincrement features of MSexcel for entering box and folder numbers and other repetitive data.  It also constrains the content of some fields. For example, extent measurements must be selected from a set of 53 counts and measures currently in use in Harvard’s ArchivesSpace installation.

This is only a test!  (But I’d love to get some feedback.)

Make some EAD components by entering a series list, folder list, item list into the cells. If you do this a lot, the column labels will make sense to you.  If they don’t, let me know.

Select the cells that contain the EAD markup.

Paste them into a valid EAD file at the point in the hierarchy where you want them. They should be valid EAD markup. If they are not, I’d love to hear what went wrong!

Here’s a basic EAD that is primed for testing ingest to ArchivesSpace.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ead xmlns="urn:isbn:1-931666-22-9" xmlns:xsi=""

                <titleproper>YOUR NAME HERE test excel ingest formula</titleproper>
    <archdesc level="collection">
            <unitid>TEST excel ingest formula </unitid>
            <origination><persname>YOUR NAME HERE</persname></origination>
            <unittitle>test excel ingest formula</unittitle>
            <unitdate normal="1900/2000">1900-2000</unitdate>
            <physdesc><extent>1 cubic feet</extent></physdesc>




Tips and tricks for editing EAD in oXygen

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Since I had to write up most of these for a new staffer, I thought I’d share a few things about oXygen that have made editing EAD easier. Details are in the PDF, but here’s the list:

1) Menus can be modified

2) Use the “Author view”

3) Panes can be selected and their locations modified

4) Breadcrumb trail can also be used to select

5) Find‐and‐replace in “Text view” can use regular expressions

6) Paste text as XML in Author view

7) Assign keyboard shortcuts


Please add your own tips in the comments!

Cataloging the Universe of Visual Materials: XML Extras!

Monday, August 11th, 2014

I’m privileged to be leading a segment of “Cataloging the Universe of Visual Materials,” a pre-conference workshop that is part of the Society of American Archivists annual meeting.  I’m joining a team of truly impressive experts:

  • Robert Burton, Photograph Cataloger, Harvard University
  • James Eason, Archivist for Pictorial Collections, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mary Alice Harper, Head, Photography & Art Cataloging, Harry Ransom Center
  • Miriam Meislik, Media Curator, University of Pittsburgh

We have been ruthlessly herded brilliantly marshaled by Cathy Martyniak, Audio Visual and Image Archivist, University of Florida and Wendy Pflug, Associate Curator and Assistant Professor, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, The Ohio State University.

While my segment is eye-crossing / sleep-inducing the truly exciting stuff full of angle brackets and field numbers, I’m really looking forward to my colleagues’ contributions on photographs as information artifacts and aesthetic objects, on recognizing photographic and other image formats and processes, and on the challenges of deciding how to record and convey the value of visual resources to users.

As a treat for the XML geeks out there, even if you aren’t attending the workshop, I’ve put together some XML extras.  I’ve taken a finding aid for a collection of Harvard University News Office photographs that date from World War II and the demobilization era, and marked the collection-level stuff up in MODS and VRA Core.  I’ll be adding Dublin Core and MARCXML and improving the MODS and VRA markup when I get back from SAA.

In my segment on metadata standards, systems, and input, I’ll be touching on the fact that the varous communities of practice (libraries, archives, museums, and visual resources specialists) have established their own content and encoding standards.  What’s really hit me during this exercise, though, is how the various communities have different preferences and values and even entirely different pieces of information.  I hope to provide some reflection on that later.

In the mean time… get yourself and XML editor, download some files, and play!

Link to XML extras:


The most cryptic finding aid ever

Friday, October 25th, 2013

In a world of bad finding aids, there are some that make you cringe. Did my archives do that?

This finding aid stands out because of the obvious hard work that went into it, but it is perhaps the least user-friendly thing I’ve ever seen.


Here’s the handy key from the bottom of page 3:


Now that you know how to interpret it, have a gander at page 21 of the finding aid:

Page 21 of the finding aid


Let’s translate the “1910″ line. Here’s an enlargement:


It reads “1910    2, 1, (1)     1xc, 1relay”

This tells us that there are 6 photographic prints of the “track” team (which in this finding aid means any team that runs).

In the position under the “Varsity” column header, “2,1,(1)” means four photographs are of the Varsity track team.  Of these four, two are presumably from the same negative and definitely from 1910, one is from a different negative and definitely 1910, and one is from a third negative and probably from 1910.

There are no photographs indicated under the column for the Junior Varsity team, but there are two “other” photographs.  One is the cross-country team, and the other is the relay team.

Of course, there’s a lot that this  finding aid is not saying.

There’s no information about the photographs’ sizes, or anything to help you retrieve the right folder.  (These are portfolio-sized folders stored flat in drawers, which is scary, since a lot of the photos are small, but we’ll let preservationists shudder about that.)

Near the top on the right-hand side are the years 1930 and 1931.  Does it take steeping in an Ivy League tradition to understand that “H-Y” means this is a photograph of a Harvard-Yale track meet?

Page21 H-Y detail


We’ve decoded this finding aid and converted it to EAD, but we didn’t convert some of the information– such as whether a date attribution was doubtful or whether more than one print might have come from the same negative.

And we’re still being slightly mysterious.  There are placeholders in the EAD version waiting for links to several dozen digitized images.

So, is this more user-friendly?