A while ago I wrote a post detailing how data in DIMES is imported into Aeon to populate requests. Since then, I’ve had conversations with several individuals asking about the technical details of this implementation. As a way of documenting that work, and also offering some direction for future Aeon implementers, I thought I’d pull together a post describing the interaction in technical terms, since there’s limited documentation on how to do external EAD requesting for Aeon. I pieced together this information by looking at existing implementations, particularly Princeton’s archival discovery system, with a lot of false steps along the way. I hope to help others avoid the same frustrations and pitfalls! Continue reading
Beginning in 2011, the Rockefeller Archive Center accepted the records of the Ford Foundation, and included among these papers were records pertaining to Unpublished Reports and Grants from the Foundation’s inception to the present. Along with the materials, the Ford Foundation provided us with two spreadsheets filled with metadata describing both the Unpublished Reports and Grants files. The Grants file alone includes 54,644 rows and 34 columns of information ranging from subjects terms to restriction information. However, much of this data was “dirty”; many subject terms did not match LCSH vocabulary, dates did not match formatting for import into Archivist’s Toolkit, and many more issues. Despite these issues, the metadata opened new avenues of access and description to the materials, and wrangling and refining them for import into Archivist’s Toolkit and DIMES would help researchers from all over the world discover the exact item he or she is looking for. In November of 2013, members of the Digital Projects team met with representatives from Processing and Reference with the express goal of transforming this metadata into a machine-readable format so that the RAC may provide it in a searchable format online.
If, like me, you missed out on yesterday’s webinar from OCLC Research titled “Achieving Thresholds for Discovery: Addressing Issues with EAD to Increase Discovery and Access,” you can now view a recording of the presentation. It’s worth your time to listen to Merrilee Proffitt (OCLC Research) talk about her recent article on EAD tag analysis in the Code4Lib Journal, and also to listen to Dan Santamaria (Princeton University) talk about the work of his institution’s Archival Description Working Group in improving their archival description as well as their discovery system for archival materials. A few months back, I wrote about a presentation that Dan and others from Princeton gave at SAA this past August, and found that this webinar nicely complemented that earlier presentation.
I wanted to let everyone know about a new effort underway in New York State to test the feasibility of a state-wide consortium for EAD finding aids. The RAC has been involved from the beginning of this project, which started with a 2011 survey of archives, special collections, historical societies and other institutions in New York State that hold unique materials to determine the level of EAD implementation at the state level. This survey found a very strong support for a finding aid consortium in the state. Continue reading
Our finding aids get from AT Reference to DIMES in what is basically a three-step process:
- Data is exported from ATReference as EAD files
- Those files are then indexed in DIMES
- And finally, transformation processes are run on those files to convert them and have them display in a web browser.
On the surface, this is a relatively simple process. However, each of these steps involves a number of different technologies and paradigms for information storage, retrieval, and display. Continue reading