1. How can we prepare ourselves for using the Finding Aid Creation Tool and Repository?

We suggest that you begin by reading the OhioLINK Task Force’s EAD Starter Packet, which contains some basic background on EAD, lists the minimum required finding aid elements, and includes information on obtaining your institution’s LC/MARC Institution Code (if you don’t already have one). Your institution might also want to consider whether or not your institution will try to use archival descriptive standards or guidelines such as Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) in order to prepare its finding aids.

2. Why does my institution need to have an LC MARC institution code in order to participate in the OhioLINK EAD project?

The international EAD standard requires a unique identifier for each institution creating finding aids. The authoring institution’s LC MARC code is used as the identifier, which in turn serves as the basis for the ID for each finding aid the institution creates. This enables the sorting of a large number of finding aids in an electronic environment.

3. My institution has existing EAD (xml) finding aids. May we simply upload them to the Repository?

When your institution registers to use the Finding Aid Creation Tool, select “My institution would like to use the EAD Application to create new finding aids, but we also have existing EAD finding aids ready to submit to the OhioLINK Repository” near the bottom of the form. There are instructions within the Tool for file naming and uploading of these existing finding aids.

4. What about “legacy” finding aids (existing finding aids in Word, html, pdf, etc. format)? Is there any way to convert them to EAD automatically?

There is no easy way to automatically convert existing finding aids in formats such as Word, pdf, html, etc. However, the Tool does allow for information to be copied and pasted into the Web forms it employs. One alternative to complete conversion of legacy finding aids is to use the Tool to prepare collection-level descriptions and include links within those documents to more detailed, component level information available on your local Web site.

5. In addition to submitting finding aids to the OhioLINK Repository, we also want to present them locally on our own Web site. How do we do that?

The OhioLINK EAD Finding Aid Creation Tool allows for the downloading of the EAD xml file to your desktop. Although some Web browsers can load xml files in a readable format, most do not. In order to effectively display xml finding aids, you can use xslt (extensible style sheet language). For more information on this option, please see The EAD Cookbook (for 2002 version), section 5 regarding style sheets.

6. Why should we use this Tool instead of other applications such as Archivists’ Toolkit/Archon (ArchivesSpace)?

Your institution should assess its needs and the functionality of these tools in attempting to answer this question. One major advantage of the OhioLINK Finding Aid Creation Tool is that it is a Web-based application, available to any staff member (for whom you’ve created an account), at any computer with Internet access. Creating new user accounts is very simple. The other feature of the OhioLINK program is that finding aids created in the Tool become part of a statewide finding aid Repository, making possible cross-institutional searching and access. Some participants in the OhioLINK EAD project use Archivists’ Toolkit/Archon, but have chosen to use the OhioLINK Finding Aid Creation Tool for the creation of their EAD finding aids. The answer to this question depends on your institution's needs and preferences.

7. Can our finding aids include links to digital objects?

Contributors can easily include linkages between their archival finding aids and any digital archival objects they may have loaded in digital archival repositories such as their ContentDM or Fedora instances. The Help screens in the Finding Aid Creation Tool explain how to create links from finding aids to digital objects stored elsewhere.
8. If I create EAD finding aids using the Tool, can I also still create MARC records for our archival collections?

Yes. While the OhioLINK Repository will make finding aid discovery and retrieval easier for users, many institutions will also want to include collection-level MARC records in their local library catalog as well as in OCLC and other union catalogs. The EAD Tool includes some MARC “encoding analogs” (EAD tagging of information to equivalent MARC fields) in its coding of your finding aid data. There is also a feature that allows you to generate a text-based MARC record worksheet of these automatically-generated MARC fields. You can then use this worksheet as the basis of your local MARC records for archival collections, supplementing the data as needed. Additionally, a MARC binary file download that can be imported into your local library catalog system is also available.

9. Will the finding aids I create and submit to the OhioLINK Repository have a persistent url that I can use in references and links to my finding aids?

Yes. The OhioLINK Finding Aid repository will maintain a persistent url to your finding aid that will be structured as follows: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/archives/ead/LCCODE0001 Where “LCCODE” appears, your institution’s LC/MARC code will be inserted. The final portion of this url corresponds to the Finding Aid Identifier that is automatically generated for each finding aid you create in the Finding Aid Creation Tool.

10. Some Facts about the EAD FACTORy (as of September 2014)

Number of participating institutions: 63
Number of finding aids in the Repository: 6,484 (new finding aids added regularly)
Number of Finding Aid Creation Tool user accounts: 282
Types of institutions participating:
  • Academic libraries of all types and sizes
  • Historical societies
  • Public libraries
  • Special libraries and institutes
  • Museums
  • OhioLINK and non‐OhioLINK member institutions

List of Participating Institutions