Adam Wead

Penn State University / @amsterdamos

Stranger in a Strange Land

EAD in a MARC-only World

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Data Transformation


245 0 4 a| The 1997 A & E entertainment almanac : 
        b| an information please almanac / 
        c| Robert Moses, Alicia Potter and Beth Rowen, editors  



    1997 A & E entertainment almanac
    an information please almanac
  	Robert Moses, Alicia Potter and Beth Rowen, editors




  The 1997 A & E entertainment almanac : 
  an information please almanac / 
  Robert Moses, Alicia Potter and Beth Rowen, editors  


and on, and on...

  • RDA
  • Bibframe

Fetish metadata

  • PBCore
  • VRA Core
  • Premis
  • METS
  • EAD

A Tale of Two Silos

  • MARC data via Millennium
  • archival collections in Archivists' Toolkit
  • digital content in collections


  • very common, good solution, but...
  • granularity of discovery
  • we wanted items within collections to be visible
  • we needed the finding aid displayed

librarian is to the MARC record,

as the archivist is to the finding aid.

Finding Aids

  • big documents
  • anywhere from a few to thousands of items

Transformation to EAD

  • added markup to the exiting format like HTML
  • retained its monolithic structure
  • remained order-dependent

Our Unique Collections

  • significant items where in collections
  • some collections had thousands of items
  • how where you going to find that?

Transformational Technologies

Tech Components

  • presentation: html
  • searching: Blacklight
  • indexing and storage: Solr
  • Ruby, Rails

Transforming EAD

Breaking up is hard to do...

  • one piece for the finding aid
  • one piece each for every series, sub-series, folder, etc.
  • one piece each for every item
  • thousands of pieces per collection

Searching and Relevance

  • MARC-based items interfiled with items from collections
  • boosts the relevance of items, not just collections
  • exposes items across and within collections
  • faceted search capabilities
  • minimal integration
  • container-level pieces discarded from search results


  • pieces are re-assembled for finding aid display
  • only relevant sections are displayed
  • default view does not show the entire finding aid
  • because people don't read web pages [1]

And now...

Digital Content

  • video was highest priority
  • digitized all induction footage, other important series
  • decided on PBCore as our metadata standard

Deeper Technology Stack

  • Hydra
  • adds Fedora repository for storage and preservation
  • enabled description and arrangement of video
  • PBCore records attached to pieces of an EAD

Did this work?

  • yes, but sustainability is unknown
  • requires a full-time developer
  • unique approach to EAD indexing that doesn't fit other institutions
  • self-contained, closed system
  • dependent on specific technologies

What does the future hold?

  • linked data
  • EAD has no Bibframe equivalent, yet
  • most other schemas do not either... MODS does, pbcore does not

Next Steps

  • ontologies for our silos
  • ArcLight
  • Linked Data Platform (LDP)
  • ArchivesSpace
  • implementing linked data

Adam Wead

Penn State University / @amsterdamos