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EAD Working Group Report, 1998-1999


Herewith my report on the activities of the EAD Working Group over the past year. I'll be at the meeting in Pittsburgh to answer questions, but don't anticipate having anything substantial to add on August 25.

We have Guidelines! Well, we will by the time of the SAA annual meeting. During the first week of November 1998, Jackie Dooley, Michael Fox, Steve Hensen, Bill Landis, Janice Ruth, and I met at the Bentley Library to discuss the parameters of and begin writing the EAD Application Guidelines, with assistance from Bentley-ite Greg Kinney. We walked away from Ann Arbor with 114 pages of text that had already survived a first cursory going-over from Editrix Jackie. Over the course of the next six months we wrote, edited, rewrote, added oodles of tagged examples, debated via email about content. Drafts of the document were reviewed by members of TSDS, the EAD crew at Berkeley and a few other selected individuals, as well as three "outside" reviewers. The result, which should be available at the annual meeting, is a 300-page guide that should not only assist EAD neophytes, but should also serve as a useful reference tool for veteran users of EAD. In addition, it gives the EADWG "spin" on some content designation issues.

Special recognition goes to Jackie Dooley and Bill Landis, who edited and formatted and edited and formatted a seemingly endless progression of drafts. Their diligence and hard work meant that the rest of us had to keep up and that the final draft got to Teresa Brinati on schedule.

Paperwork to initiate the process of SAA's endorsement as an official descriptive standard was submitted to the Standards Committee in early June. The SC chair indicated that the review process would be finished in time for Council to consider endorsement at the annual meeting.

On the training front, two new instructors, Jackie Dooley and Rich Szary, were indoctrinated and presented two of the nine SAA EAD workshops given since the last annual meeting. Workshops were held in Ann Arbor (in conjunction with MAC), two in Philadelphia (for PACSCL), Berkeley (for the OAC), Austin, Albany, Flagstaff (in conjunction with CIMA), London, Ontario (in conjunction with ACA), and Dublin, Ireland. Daniel Pitti conducted two week-long sessions at Virginia's Rare Book School. The Public Record Office in London is starting its own training program; the initial session to be given in November. The demand for training continues to be high.

In an attempt to make EAD documentation more readily available in Europe, Teresa Brinati was put in contact with a representative from the PRO to explore the possibility of the PRO becoming a distributor. Negotiations quickly fell through, however, so other avenues are being explored.

Looking ahead, the WG will be reorganized and somehow funding to support the continued development and maintenance of EAD will be secured. The question of funding is bundled with a number of other SAA standards-related issues, but clearly we cannot continue to support EAD on a piecemeal basis. To date EAD has survived on the quick grant proposal written for a specific funding need and thousands of hours of volunteer time, but it is going to require a more solid financial foundation from which to flourish. In addition, the increasing internationalization of EAD will be an issue, as will the need for (dare I say it?) Version 2.0.

Kris Kiesling
Chair, SAA EAD Working Group
Member, SAA Standards Committee
Head, Department of Manuscripts and Archives
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78713-7219
Voice: (512) 232-4614
Fax: 512.471.9646

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