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National Archives of Sweden ----- Date: August 22, 1997 ----- Doc.ref.: 60-2855-97

EAD comments

Preliminary comments on the EAD.DTD by a working group at the National Archives of Sweden

The project group for the Archival Information System (ARKIS) has commissioned a working group to review the EAD.DTD. The group should especially consider the possibilities of using the EAD for exchange of data.

Members of the working group are:

Mats Berggren, IT Department, National Archives (mats.berggren@riksarkivet.ra.se)

John Juliusson, Royal Institute of Technology (john@nada.kth.se)

Per-Gunnar Ottosson, National Archives, author of the present report, (per-gunnar.ottosson@riksarkivet.ra.se)

We would like to thank the EAD Working Group of the Society of American Archivists's Committee on Archival Information Exchange for this opportunity to present our comments. The result of the EAD project impresses us, and we are sure that it will be of great value for the archival community all over the world.

The comments presented below are very preliminary and represent only the views of the working group.

If the EAD Working Group wishes that we elaborate any of our proposals more in detail we will certainly try to do that.

General comments
The databases of the National and Regional Archives of Sweden have an exchange format which is now very close to the MARC AMC. The fundamental public information on fonds levels can hence easily be converted into EAD. The problems are limited to authority records, terminology and management fields (see below).

Generally there would be no problems to convert existing Swedish finding aids to EAD by manual tagging. The problems are the same as those that American implementors have already experienced:

Early finding aids ... frequently contain ... descriptive introductory information that mixes administrative information including acquisitions, provenance, and access and use restrictions, as well as biographical or historical and brief scope and content information (The encoded archival description: retrospective conversion guidelines, Berkeley 1997)
It is proposed that Swedish finding aids in the future should be more adopted to the ISAD(G), and in that development the EAD would become an important tool.

For the use of EAD in the international archival community, it is essential that EAD is fully in line with ISAD(G), and for most elements that is already the case. There might, however, be some doubts on the intended application of EAD in some cases. We would therefore suggest

Proposed element changes

EAD is not yet adopted to include information from authority records according to ISAAR(CPF). This can probably be achieved by a minor change. We suggest a new wrapper element for all information pertinent to a corporate body or person as a subject that might be held in an authority record. It is essential that access points to a person or corporate body as such are distinguished from the access points of the records.

<nn> (we have difficulties in suggesting a proper name, authority description?)
type legal values according to ISAAR(CPF) 1.2
May contain:
<name> with attributes to distinguish authority entry, parallel entry and non-preferred terms
(Is there really a need for separate elements for personal, family and corporate names when they can be distinguished by a type attribute?)
<date> type attribute with values such as date of birth, date of death
<geogname> type attribute with values such as place of birth, place of death, place of residence, business location etc.
<occupation> including mandates, functions
In most finding aids there will be only one such "authority description" for the creator under <origination> on the highest level of description, but in case of collections there might be several on different levels. Concerning other references to persons or corporate bodies the present system with the attribute authfilenumber in the name elements is satisfactory.

This solves, however, only the problem of including information from an authority file in an EAD document. As intended with ISAAR(CPF) we also have the need to exchange authority records between different systems. This might be done by allowing an EAD-file to consist only of authority descriptions or by producing a special DTD for that purpose. We would be happy to take part in a discussion towards a common solution of this problem.

Such standardization is of international concern when sharing or linking of textual information is likely to cross national boundaries. ISAAR(CPF) I.4

It would be most valuable if the EAD.DTD is made compatible with the coming XML standard. We have observed that the following changes are needed for that purpose according to the working draft on the XML standard 07-Aug-97, Appendix A XML and SGML - http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-xml-lang

National conventions and archival management
It cannot be expected that EAD adapt to different national conventions, languages or archival management purposes. We propose instead that EAD should be made more open for local modifications in about the same way as TEI. We are aware of that this might cause some problems at the exchange of information. It is, however, probably much better with one EAD that is open for modifications, than that we get many different EADs around the world as we now have all the national MARCs. The method we suggest below makes it also very evident for the users which modifications that have been made.

Examples of local modifications we need to do

Proposed changes of the EAD.DTD
Put the following two entitities in the beginning of the file EAD.DTD:

<!ENTITY % EAD.extensions.ent '' >


In the file associated with this parameter entity, its allowed to redefine entities used in EAD. In this way we can for instance use Swedish archival terminology as legal attribute values.

<!ENTITY % EAD.extensions.dtd '' >


In the file associated with this entity new elements can be declared.

The doctype-subset in document-instance would then look like this when the adoptions to Swedish archival standards have been made in the files se_mod.ent and se_mod.dtd.

<!DOCTYPE EAD PUBLIC "-//Society of American Archivists//DTD ead.dtd (Encoded Archival Description (EAD))//EN"


<!ENTITY % EAD.extensions.ent SYSTEM "se_mod.ent" >

<!ENTITY % EAD.extensions.dtd SYSTEM "se_mod.dtd" >


In the instructions for the EAD.DTD it could be pointed out that such modifications only should be done by national EAD committes.

Per-Gunnar Ottosson