Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery - Staff Wiki

EAD Implementation and Feasibility Study

Special Collections
Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery
Prepared by Lindsey Loeper, Visiting Librarian
May 2008


Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is a version of XML created by archivists to define the elements and relationships within archival finding aids.  Since its development in 1997, EAD has become the standard in the archival field and has been implemented internationally.


Implementing EAD will primarily benefit the archival holdings in Special Collections, including University Archives, the Center for Biological Sciences Archives, and the general manuscript and records collections. 

  • Clearly identifies descriptive, structural, and related elements of the finding aid using a flexible yet defined metadata schema

  • Allows content of finding aid to be extracted and used elsewhere as metadata, for example MARC, CONTENTdm, and PastPerfect.

  • Automates creation of MARC records from EAD tagged finding aids using an EAD-MARC XML converter

  • Ensures standardization of finding aid arrangement and layout which will assist researchers in locating needed information

  • Layout or display can be altered universally by modifying the stylesheet without having to alter each finding aid individually

  • Identifies needed descriptive elements for research use which assists in the creation of a full and complete finding aid

  • Allows for storage of administrative metadata such as tracking edits or additions to the finding aid

  • Ability to extract full finding aid data for inclusion in bibliographic metadata services (ArchiveGrid [OCLC] or a regional archives consortium)

  • Compliance with archival community standard

Implementation Needs
  • XML editor NoteTab Light: This software is currently in use by the library.

  • XML DTD (Document Type Definition) for EAD: available for free download from

  • Stylesheet for web display: Stylesheets are currently in use for the library web pages and library staff has experience with their creation and implementation.  Templates are also available for free from the Society of American Archivists EAD Roundtable.  We may consider working with the University of Maryland, College Park to implement a display template that is similar to their format to increase user understanding of the descriptive elements.

  • Web space for online hosting: EAD tagged finding aids will replace the current online finding aids, so the additional required web space should be minimal.

  • Staff time: In Spring 2008 the 17 online finding aids were converted to a standard XML compliant template that was designed to increase navigation.  This project was completed in 5 months by the Special Collections graduate assistant, who works 20 hours per week.  The conversion to EAD will be expedited because of the standardization that was completed by the GA and Archivist.  See the estimated staff time for each task below.

Suggested Implementation Work Plan
  • Evaluate arrangement of finding aids: This is an ideal time to evaluate how useful our current arrangement standard is for the finding aids, as well as address any aids that are not complete.  Much of this was completed in Spring 2008.  (Estimated staff time: 40 hours)

  • Implement EAD DTD: The EAD DTD contains the rules and arrangement of the EAD tagging scheme.  The DTD is available for download from the Library of Congress EAD website.  (Estimated staff time: 5 hours)

  • Design stylesheet: The library website currently uses stylesheets.  The Archivist will work with the Web Librarian (Janet Hack) to design the stylesheet.  (Estimated staff time: 20 hours)

  • Design EAD template: Having a standard template will ensure that the same information is identified in each finding aid.  Templates are currently used for the library web pages.  The Archivist will identify the EAD tags/fields that are required.  (Estimated staff time: 20 hours)

  • Convert finding aids: This process will include importing the current finding aids into the EAD template, evaluating the content, editing for standardization of content and style, and exporting to the stylesheet.  The bulk of this can be performed by a student assistant, particularly the repetitive container listings.  (Estimated staff time: 80 hours.  Estimated student time: 200 hours)

  • Post to web.  (Estimated staff time: 5 hours)

  • Include in archival bibliographic resources (e.g. ArchiveGrid).  (Estimated staff time: 5 hours)


Janet Hack, Web Librarian (UMBC)
Jennie Levine, Archives and Manuscript Curator (UMCP), Chair EAD Roundtable (SAA)
"Encoded Archival Description" Course offered by the Society of American Archivists, April 21-22, 2008
Fox, Michael J.  EAD Cookbook.  Society of American Archivists, 2002.  Available at


Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery . University of Maryland, Baltimore County . 1000 Hilltop Circle . Baltimore MD 21250
(410) 455-2232. Questions and comments to: Web Services Librarian