On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 08:25:05PM -0400, Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
> Create EAD files to describe the collections in your archives
  because EAD is the MARC of the archives world. There are no two ways
  about it.  --ELM

That might not be the best way of putting it given the full extent of
the original question (see below).

EAD vs HTML? No question (EAD). Can MARC be used to describe archival
collections? Fact is, it is.

This leads to a followup question: What is the current uptake of EAD
in the archival world? I did some looking and couldn't find
percentages stated. What I'm asking is, of those archival collections
described using electronic finding aids, what percentage are EAD? What
percentage are MARC? What percentage are other? (I don't care to
distinguish HTML from PDF, for example.) Is anyone doing anything
creative with, say, linked data? (What I really mean is RDF, plain and

I realize this is going off topic, but the original topic is pretty
much dead in the water if we confine it to EAD vs HTML. But if we add
the bit about "Or are both [EAD and MARC] going the way of the
dinosaurs?", then the answer is no, not (quite) yet, but I do recall
at the very first DLF meeting, when EAD was presented, mutterings from
about half the audience that this should be a database
application. Since then we've seen more than one viable XML database,
or software than can handle XML nicely (e.g., XTF), so while that
objection disappears, nevertheless I think that the observation
underlying those mutterings still stands: is there a better way to
this (at least, conceptually), and, is anyone working on such a way?
Today EAD is clearly the answer, but if EAD was questionable even
then, I'm wondering what a viable successor might be tomorrow (which
doesn't, of course, affect what implementation decisions we make

Charles Blair           
Director, Digital Library Development Center, University of Chicago Library
1 773 702 8459 | [log in to unmask] |