About the Bentley Library EAD Project

The Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan EAD Project is a collaboration between the Bentley Historical Library and the Digital Library Production Service of the University Library. The finding aids are encoded by Bentley Historical Libray staff. The search and display system is provided by DLPS using the DLXS software developed and licensed by DLPS.

The EAD finding aids are encoded in xml using the EAD 2002 dtd. Conversion of the previous sgml finding aids to xml/EAD 2002 was completed in November 2003 using MS Word macros and XMetal xml authoring software. At the same time DLPS rewrote its software to make it xml and EAD 2002 compatible.

New EAD finding aids are created from MS Word documents, using stylesheets and macros to substantially automate conversion of the contents lists into valid EAD tags. The xml files reside, and all search, transformation and delivery processing takes place on DLPS servers.

In the Bentley / DLPS system, the finding aids are stored only as xml files but delivered to the user as HTML documents created on-the-fly. This permits sophisticated searching of the structured and richly encoded xml files without requiring the user to have special plug-ins or web browsers; and it significantly speeds delivery, as no auxiliary files need to be downloaded. The system also gives the user several views of a finding aid and permits delivery of finding aids in sections, rather than forcing the user to download an entire document (which in some cases can be 1 MB or more in size).

Three documents are available online that outline the basis for the approach to delivery of SGM/XML-based resources via the Web underway at the University of Michigan. The first two are authored by John Price-Wilkin, the last by Chris Powell and Nigel Kerr. Though not referring specifically to finding aids, the same approach described in the articles is used in the EAD project.

The Bentley Library and HTI/DLPS would welcome comments and question about our approach to implementing EAD. Send comments to Greg Kinney <gkinney@umich.edu> or Chris Powell<sooty@umich.edu>