If that doesn’t qualify as a strange blog-post title, I don’t know what does.
Anyhow, I just wanted to say how nice it was to visit the Carolina Digital Library and Archives department (CDLA) at the Louis Round Wilson Library in UNC-Chapel Hill.
Natasha Smith, the head of the Digital Publishing group, invited our entire Digital Collections department to visit them on the morning of May 20th. While there, we were able to demonstrate and discuss with them the behind-the-scenes processes of our Digital Repository, and we were also able to hear and see a lot of interesting projects that CDLA is working on. To mention just one, for brevity’s sake, I’ll say that I was very excited to see a superbly designed online template for a finding aid to a collection that has now been digitized in its entirety. So, definitely keep an eye out for the new Thomas E. Watson Papers finding aid once it is unveiled.
During our discussions, we also got on the topic of EAC (or Encoded Archival Context), which is a standard that I’ve definitely wanted to see developed more fully after first hearing about it just one year ago. It was nice, too, that Richard Szary was in the room, since he was one of the original working group members of the EAC standard while at Yale (though I wasn’t aware of that at the time).
In my mind, EAC would be a perfect candidate to be deployed with something like Metaweb’s Freebase. Sure, we could still export valid XML files for the preservation of the information (as the standard should still adhere to the original Toronto Tenets), but I think it would go a long way to have this information available on an easily editable and transferable platform. I’d love, for instance, to be able to pull biographical and relational information about people mentioned in our finding aids via something like their Metaweb Query Language, and also to dynamically generate a list of “related collections” available elsewhere, at other institutions.
Anyhow, Maggie Dickson, the Watson-Brown Project Librarian, mentioned the NCBHIO project, which is something that I had never heard of before. Here’s a link to their website, NCBHIO, which isn’t entirely functioning anymore, but it is the only website devoted exclusively to a collection of EAC records of which I’m currently aware, at least. If there are more out there, though, I’d love to hear about them. I have heard of a few European institutions already incorporating EAD and EAC, but I’m definitely not aware of anything else like this.
In any event, in order to learn more about the standard, I went ahead and used Wget to download all 59 EAC records that are still currently hosted on the NCBHIO website (hence the strange title for this post). Hopefully I’ll have some time this summer to study those files some more and perhaps even create a few EAC records myself.
Until then, if anyone else is working with EAC, or anything like the EATS project (here’s a blog post about that), which was developed by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, I’d love to hear more about it.