EAD Application Guidelines for Version 1.0


From the Encoded Archival Description Working Group

The members of SAA's Encoded Archival Description Working Group would like to express our profound appreciation to the numerous institutions and individuals who assisted in the preparation of these Guidelines. Full acknowledgements for the overall development of Encoded Archival Description can be found in the EAD Tag Library.

A great debt of gratitude is owed to the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), formerly the Council on Library Resources, and the encouragement of its executive director, Deanna Marcum, for providing funding to the Society of American Archivists both to develop more fully the EAD DTD and to underwrite the preparation of the beta application guidelines. The guidelines development process began with a meeting of the Bentley Fellowship Finding Aid Team(1) in November 1995 at the Library of Congress, hosted by the National Digital Library, and including Anne J. Gilliland-Swetland as the recently appointed author of the then forthcoming guidelines.

A meeting in January 1996, hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles (and funded by CLIR) was attended by a subset of the Bentley Team (Michael J. Fox, Steven L. Hensen, Kris Kiesling, Daniel Pitti, and Janice E. Ruth) in addition to Gilliland-Swetland and Thomas A. La Porte. This meeting laid the foundation for the guidelines and provided general guidance and an outline for the authors. A second CLIR-funded meeting was convened at the University of California, Berkeley, in April 1996 to examine progress and issues regarding the draft guidelines. Attendees at this meeting included Gilliland-Swetland and La Porte, the entire Bentley team (with the exception of Steven DeRose), Randall Barry of the Library of Congress, and Tim Hoyer and Jack Von Euw of the Bancroft Library.

In spring 1998, with the impending release of Version 1.0 of the EAD DTD and publication of the EAD Tag Library, it became clear that the beta version of the guidelines would require revision to accommodate the many changes that had occurred. An application to enable and facilitate this revision was submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on behalf of the Society of American Archivists and the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, which had agreed to host revision meetings. This application was successful, and a subset of the Society of American Archivists' EAD Working Group, consisting of Jackie M. Dooley, Michael J. Fox, Steven L. Hensen, Kris Kiesling, Bill Landis, and Janice E. Ruth, along with Greg Kinney of the Bentley Historical Library, met in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in November 1998 to complete this process.

The Working Group is therefore extremely grateful to IMLS, the Society of American Archivists, the Bentley Historical Library, and the University of Michigan for their support toward the completion of this document. We are particularly appreciative of the continuing support and encouragement of Francis X. Blouin and William Wallach, director and assistant director, respectively, of the Bentley Historical Library, and to their support staff (particularly Diane Hatfield) for their good-natured tolerance of the various EAD-related invasions of their precincts over the past few years.

Editing of the draft was supervised by Jackie M. Dooley and Bill Landis of the University of California, Irvine. Members of the SAA EAD Working Group(2) and the SAA Technical Subcommittee on Descriptive Standards(3) provided feedback on a preliminary draft. A later draft was reviewed by Elizabeth Dow, Chris Powell, and Kathleen Roe, and their detailed feedback was crucial in improving many areas of the Guidelines. Teresa Brinati, director of publications for the Society of American Archivists, provided editorial management and moved this publication to final production and distribution.

The Working Group is indebted to the University of California, Irvine for its support and oversight of this project, and to the Society of American Archivists and its executive director, Susan Fox, for their unwavering support for this and all other work connected with the development and promulgation of EAD.

Encoded Archival Description Working Group
Society of American Archivists
April 1999

From the Executive Director of SAA

EAD Tag Library, and these EAD Application Guidelines. Individual Working Group members have contributed in various ways by writing or reviewing drafts of the documentation, providing international perspectives, and testing changes and revisions.

Within the Working Group, however, eight dedicated individuals have been the principal players in bringing Version 1.0 of EAD to fruition. Each of these SAA members has been involved with EAD since its inception and has contributed in numerous ways, including serving as the authors of individual sections of the Version 1.0 Tag Library and Guidelines. In addition, they merit individual recognition for the following contributions:

Jackie Dooley served as editor of the Guidelines. Ever mindful of the diverse EAD audience, she blended innumerable drafts of chapters and sections into a comprehensive document that will be useful to both EAD novices and masters. In her capacity as chair of the SAA Publications Board, Jackie also facilitated the publication of the Tag Library.

Michael Fox contributed his extensive knowledge of descriptive practices not only from the archival perspective, but from the library and museum perspectives as well. He also kept the group abreast of XML and other technical developments. In his role as liaison to the Working Group from the International Council on Archives Committee on Descriptive Standards, he was able to bring international concerns to the group.

Steve Hensen, in addition to his role as "elder statesman" and conscience of archival description, has been the unofficial but highly successful fund-raiser for the group. The grant applications he wrote on behalf of SAA to the Delmas Foundation and to the Institute of Museum and Library Services funded two critical meetings, enabling members of the EADWG to revise the DTD and to draft the Guidelines. He also coordinated final editorial work on the Tag Library.

Kris Kiesling, chair of the Working Group since it was established in 1995, provided key leadership during all phases of the group's work on documentation, coordinating all efforts and enforcing demanding production schedules. In addition, she was instrumental in the creation of the SAA EAD Roundtable.

Bill Landis brought not only a fresh perspective when he was added to the Working Group in 1997, but also wit and enthusiasm. Bill gathered the numerous examples that provide encoding guidance in the Tag Library and assisted with editing the Application Guidelines.

Daniel Pitti, leader of the original Berkeley Finding Aid Project, was responsible for extensive revisions and testing of the DTD. He kept the group on the SGML/XML straight and narrow and also has acted as advisor and mentor to a number of EAD implementers.

Janice Ruth brought her considerable editorial and writing skills to bear on both the Tag Library and the Application Guidelines. Her editorial perspective was particularly critical in "visioning" the Guidelines, and she served in many instances as the group's institutional memory for previous iterations of EAD documentation.

Helena Zinkham was a catalyst in kicking off the creation of the Version 1.0 Tag Library, drafting element descriptions, tracking down endless details, and checking and rechecking to ensure that nothing was missed.

SAA commends each of these individuals for their vision, dedication, and uncommon commitment to the archival profession. Their leadership represents archival history in the making.

Susan Fox
Executive Director
Society of American Archivists
April 1999


  1. A history of EAD's development may be found at the Encoded Archival Description Official Web Site, which is maintained by the Library of Congress and is available at: //www.loc.gov/ead. The original Bentley team included Stephen J. DeRose (INSO, formerly Electronic Book Technologies), Jackie M. Dooley (University of California, Irvine), Michael J. Fox (Minnesota Historical Society), Steven L. Hensen (Duke University), Kris Kiesling (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin), Daniel Pitti (University of Virginia, formerly University of California, Berkeley), Janice E. Ruth (Library of Congress Manuscript Division), Sharon Gibbs Thibodeau (National Archives and Records Administration), and Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division).

  2. The Society of American Archivists EAD Working Group consists of the members of the Bentley Fellowship Finding Aid Team (except DeRose), as well as Randall Barry (Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office), Wendy Duff (University of Toronto), Ricky Erway (Research Libraries Group), Anne Gilliland-Swetland (University of California, Los Angeles), Bill Landis (University of California, Irvine), Eric Miller (OCLC Online Computer Library Center), Meg Sweet (Public Record Office, United Kingdom), Robert Spindler (Arizona State University), and Richard Szary (Yale University).

  3. The Society of American Archivists Technical Subcommittee on Descriptive Standards is chaired by Bill Landis (University of California, Irvine) and also includes Nicole Bouché (Yale University), Donna DiMichele (Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center), Susan Potts McDonald (Emory University), Dennis Meissner (Minnesota Historical Society), and Alden Monroe (Alabama Department of Archives).

Table of Contents
Home Page Preface Acknowledgments How to Use
This Manual
Setting EAD
in Context
Creating Finding
Aids in EAD
Authoring EAD
Publishing EAD
EAD Linking

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