Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
The archives domain was slower than the library community to use machine readable records and it was not until 1993 that a project was started to develop a standard for machine readable finding aids, with version 1 released in 1998. This standard, the Encoded Archival Description (EAD), is increasingly used by archival repositories world-wide. The initial design used SGML as the carrier, but XML became available during the development period; it was therefore decided to make the format XML compliant so that either carrier could be used. The format maps closely onto the International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G).
The archives and library domains have different approaches to documenting their collections, with libraries focusing on individual items (of which they may have several copies) and archives focusing on the relationship of (usually unique) items in a hierarchical arrangement and this is reflected in the formats they use.
Although standardizing systems and terms within the archives domain is on-going, and there is still a lot of local practice, a set of internationally agreed terms is used in the format for the various levels of an archival collection.
While it is not possible to include a complete MARC record in EAD, some MARC elements can be embedded. Software can then be used to generate a skeletal MARC record by combining the individual elements, which can then be exported into a library catalogue and then be enhanced with additional data. When MARC elements are included they are identified by the use of the tag 'encoding analog'.
EAD records contain two segments with an optional third segment; when present the third segment is located between the other two segments.
Example of a brief EAD record
<ead> <eadheader> <eadid> 0123456789 <eadid> <filedesc> <titlestmt> <titleproper>Pitman Shorthand Collection</titleproper> <author>Ann Chapman</author> <titlestmt> <publicationstmt> <date> 1990 </date> <publisher>Bath University Library</publisher> </publicationstmt> <filedesc> <eadheader> <archdesc> collection <did> <abstract>A collection of materials in and about shorthandcollected by Sir Isaac Pitman </abstract> </did> <controlaccess><subject encodinganalog="MARC650">Shorthand</controlaccess> </archdesc> </ead>