[Mirrored from: http://www.rlg.org/strat/projfast.html]


New Access to Archival Collections -- The FAST Track

To enhance national and international access to primary sources through digitized finding aids linked to their RLIN collection-level records.

Finding aids are guides that provide detailed descriptions of the content of archival collections; they can form a valuable bridge between collection-level cataloging and whole information objects. The FAST (Finding Aids SGML Training) Track is a series of workshops designed to train RLG members in encoding their finding aids with Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) according to the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard and guidelines.

RLG members trained in encoding their finding aids with SGML according to an international standard. Links in the RLIN database leading searchers all over the world to these finding aids. Widespread adoption of the evolving EAD standard. A growing body of valuable primary sources information accessible worldwide.

Strategic Objective
Goal 2. Global Resource -- primary research information.

Related Strategic Value
Goal 1. Transformed Research -- coordinated digital collections.

Project Tasks
With generous support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Council on Library Resources, RLG has fostered the creation of training curriculum materials and has organized a series of eight regional workshops for members.

The RLG FAST workshops build on the work of members and allies in the archival community. The University of California at Berkeley pioneered in developing the EAD Document Type Definition (DTD) through the Berkeley Finding Aids Project. The Bentley Library Research Fellows advanced the EAD standard to the alpha stage, and the EAD "Early Implementers" are helping to take it through the beta stage. The Library of Congress has agreed to be the ISO maintenance agency for this standard. The Society of American Archivists (SAA) has agreed to cosponsor the standard, form a working group to develop application guidelines, and help promote its use.

The FAST workshops will:

Training is open to all RLG members; each participating institution will be expected to provide access through RLIN collection-level record links to its encoded finding aids as an outcome of this training. RLG will also make its archival server available for use as an optional location for finding aids.

Time Frame
Four workshops were conducted in 1996, training 60 staff from 35 RLG member institutions through sessions held in St. Paul, Minnesota; at the National Archives II in College Park; Maryland; and at the British Library in London. The schedule for 1997 is:

For further workshop information and to apply, RLG members are invited to contact Fran Devlin, RLG Member Services, by e-mail (bl.fed@rlg.org), fax (415.964.0943), or phone (415-691-2239).

Based on supporting features being created in other projects (Web-based searching access and viewing tools for the encoded finding aids; the implementation of RLG's archival server), use of the new RLIN links and finding aids is anticipated in early 1997.

Additional Information
Other projects that intersect with FAST are the Archival Server (Arches) and Web Access. You can also use the Contents or Search button to find background related to this project in other RLG Web pages.

For more information about the SGML encoding of finding aids, go to http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/FindingAids

The alpha EAD DTD and associated files are available from the Library of Congress's anonymous FTP site, ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/ead

Last updated 11/96
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