BERKELEY FINDING AID PROJECT

The Berkeley Finding Aid Project is a collaborative endeavor to test the feasibility and desirability of developing an encoding standard for archive, museum, and library finding aids. Finding aids are documents used to describe, control, and provide access to collections of related materials. In the hierarchical structure of collection-level information access and navigation, finding aids reside between bibliographic records and the primary source materials. Bibliographic records lead to finding aids, and finding aids lead to primary source materials.   

The Project will involve two interrelated activities. The first task will be to create a prototype encoding standard for finding aids. This prototype standard will be in the form of a Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO 8879) Document Type Definition (SGML DTD). Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley will develop the encoding standard in collaboration with leading experts in collection cataloging and processing, text encoding, system design, network communication, authority control, and text retrieval and navigation. Project participants will analyze the structure and function of representative finding aids. The basic  elements occurring in finding aids will be isolated and their logical interrelationships defined. The DTD will then be developed based on the results of this analysis. 

Building a prototype database of finding aids is the second objective of the Project. Available hardware and software will be evaluated. Hardware and software will be selected to support the following basic tasks and functions:
     1)   create finding aids marked according to Project defined

     2)   create a database of finding aids on SGML aware server;
     3)   TCP/IP based client-server communication;

     4)   SGML aware client software for X-Windows/Motif,
            MicroSoft Windows and Macintosh.

Client software must support display of a variety of graphic formats (TIFF, etc.). The client/server software should support a variety of search types: boolean keyword, word adjacency and proximity, and relevance ranking and feedback. The text viewing and navigation component of the client software should allow dynamic generation of an expandable table of contents adjacent to document text to supply context clues for reading comprehension and random, informed access to the text. Software should support hypermedia links between text and text and text and graphics. 

The finding aid database will serve two primary purposes. First, it will provide the encoding standard developers with computer application experience with which to refine and inform the development process. Second, it will provide a means for end users to evaluate the utility and desirability of encoded finding aids that will enable them to provide new ideas and suggestions to the encoding standard developers. End users will include not only public users, but staff users as well. Optimally, while the test database server will reside in Berkeley, clients will be available at collaborating institutions. 

The Berkeley Finding Aid Project envisions an information future in which serious scholars and the casually curious alike can easily isolate the cultural treasures they seek. In this information future, information seekers follow clearly marked paths through  library catalogs to finding aids and from finding aids to treasures in a multitude of computer and traditional formats ... and back. 
List of collaborators:

Daniel Pitti
Librarian for 
  Advanced Technologies Projects
212 Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720
510/643-6602 fax: 510/643-7891

Jackie M. Dooley
The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities

Avra Michelson
Technology Research Staff
National Archives and Records Administration

Lisa Weber
National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Sharon Gibbs Thibodeau
National Archives and Records Administration

Peter B. Hirtle
Technology Research Staff
National Archives and Records Administration

Jim Stevens
Special Projects Analyst
Information Technology Services
Library of Congress

John Perkins
Project Manager
Computer Interchange of Museum Information

Anne Kenney
Cornell University

Tom Hickerson
Cornell University

Richard Szary
Yale University

Rutherford W. Witthus
Head, Archives and Special Collections
Auraria Library
University of Colorado at Denver

Steven L. Hensen
Duke University

Clifford Lynch 
Director, Division of Library Automation
University of California

Howard Besser
Information Systems Analyst
Centre Canadien d'Architecture

Stu Weibel
OCLC Office of Research

Keith Shafer
OCLC Office of Research

Susan Hockey
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities
Rutgers University

C. M. Sperberg-McQueen,
Editor in Chief, Text Encoding Initiative 
University of Illinois at Chicago

Peter Rauch
Museum Informatics Project
University of California, Berkeley

Anne Caiger
Manuscripts Librarian
University Research Library
University of California, Los Angeles

Brad Westbrook
Manuscripts Librarian
The University Library
University of California, San Diego

Prof. Ray Larson
School of Library and Information Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Sherman Clarke
Amon Carter Museum

Tom Frusciano 
Rutgers University

Bonnie Hardwick
Head, Manuscripts Division
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley

Jack von Euw
Manuscript Division
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley

Tim Hoyer
Cataloging Division
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley

Laurel Jizba
Principal Cataloger
Michigan State University Libraries

John Duke
Assistant Director
University Library Services
Virginia Commonwealth University

Catherine R. Garland
Head, Processing Section
Motion Picture, Broadcasting 
  and Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress

Helen W. Samuels
Institute Archives

Charlotte Brown
Assistant Head and University Archivists
Department of Special Collections
University Research Library
University of California, Los Angeles

Alan Tucker
Associate Director for Project Analysis
Research Libraries Group

Michael Fox
Minnesota Historical Society

Sarah Rouse
Prints and Photographs
Library of Congress

James M. Bower
Manager, Vocabulary Coordination Group
The Getty Art History Information Program

Randal Berry
Network Development and MARC Standards Office
Library of Congress

Rob Spindler
Department of Archives and Manuscripts
Arizona State University Libraries

Karen J. Baumann
Archives Division
State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Judy Tsou
Music Library
University of California, Berkeley

Pam Kircher
 Online Computer Library Center Inc.

Kris Kiesling
Head, Department of Manuscripts & Archives
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
University of Texas at Austin

Phil Cronenwett
Special Collections Librarian
Dartmouth College Library

Daniel Meyer
Associate Curator
Special Collections
University of Chicago Library

Lucy Shelton Caswell
Associate Professor and Curator
The Ohio State University
Cartoon, Graphic, and Photographic Arts Research Library

The following have expressed support for the project and have asked
to be kept informed:

Paul Evan Peters
Executive Director
Coalition for Networked Information

David Bearman
Archives and Museum Informatics 
Pittsburgh, PA