EAD (Encoded Archival Description ; Version 2002 Official Site)

Encoded Archival Description Tag Library, Version 2002

EAD Elements

<ead> Encoded Archival Description


The outermost wrapper element for an information access tool known generically as a finding aid. A finding aid establishes physical and intellectual control over many types of archival materials and helps researchers understand and access the materials being described. The <ead> element defines a particular instance of a document encoded with the EAD Document Type Definition. It contains a required <eadheader>, optional <frontmatter>, and a required <archdesc> element, in that order.

The AUDIENCE attribute value may be set to "external" to display data in all subelements, unless the value is changed for a specific element. To facilitate use of EAD as XML Schema, an xmlns attribute may be switched on in the default DTD by making the following change:

Change: To:
<!ENTITY % namespace
<!ENTITY % namespace
A separate Document Type Definition called EAD Group can be used to bundle <ead> finding aids that describe different parts of a collection that have been dispersed among various institutions or custodial units. See the <eadgrp> element description for additional information.

May contain:

archdesc, eadheader, frontmatter

May occur within:



AUDIENCE #IMPLIED, external, internal


The following elements constitute the minimum set of elements for an EAD instance (i.e., those required by the DTD). Although the Description of Subordinate Components <dsc> is not itself required, if it is used its type attribute must be set. See Appendix C for fully encoded examples.

    <archdesc level="fonds">
        <dsc type="combined">[...]</dsc>