Creator Description: Encoded Archival Context

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Fondren Library, Rice University ]On: 19 November 2014, At: 13:42Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Cataloging &amp; Classification QuarterlyPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Creator Description: Encoded Archival ContextDaniel V. Pitti aa Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of VirginiaPublished online: 23 Oct 2009.</p><p>To cite this article: Daniel V. Pitti (2004) Creator Description: Encoded Archival Context, Cataloging &amp; ClassificationQuarterly, 38:3-4, 201-226, DOI: 10.1300/J104v38n03_16</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>Creator Description:Encoded Archival Context</p><p>Daniel V. Pitti</p><p>SUMMARY. Encoded Archival Context (EAC) is an ongoing initiativewithin the international archival community to design and implement aprototype standard based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) for en-coding descriptions of record creators: individuals, families, and organi-zations that create records. EAC is intended to represent the descriptivedata prescribed in the International Council for Archives InternationalStandard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, andFamilies (ISAAR(CPF)). Description of record creators is an essentialcomponent of the preservation of the documentary evidence of humanactivity. A standard for creator description has many professional aswell as economic benefits. EAC promises to enhance access and under-standing of records as well as provide an important resource independ-ent of record description. EAC also promises to enable repositories toshare creator description. Given the costs of authority control and descrip-tion, such sharing potentially will be an important economic benefit. As anXML-based standard, EAC specifies the semantic and structural featuresof creator description. The developers of EAC hope that the archival</p><p>Daniel V. Pitti is affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Hu-manities, University of Virginia.</p><p>[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: Creator Description: Encoded Archival Context. Pitti, Daniel V.Co-published simultaneously in Cataloging &amp; Classification Quarterly (The Haworth Information Press, animprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 38, No. 3/4, 2004, pp. 201-226; and: Authority Control in Organiz-ing and Accessing Information: Definition and International Experience (ed: Arlene G. Taylor, and BarbaraB. Tillett) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2004, pp. 201-226. Singleor multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service[1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address:].</p><p> 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.</p><p>Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J104v38n03_16 201</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Fond</p><p>ren </p><p>Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>, Ric</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> ] a</p><p>t 13:</p><p>42 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>community will be able to collaborate with similar efforts in other cul-tural heritage communities. [Article copies available for a fee from TheHaworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: 2004 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]</p><p>KEYWORDS. Encoded Archival Context, EAC, authority control, bi-ography, administrative history, archival description, descriptive stan-dards, International Standard Archival Authority Record for CorporateBodies, Persons, and Families, ISAAR(CPF)</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>Encoded Archival Context (EAC) is an ongoing initiative within the inter-national archival community to design and implement a prototype standardbased on Extensible Markup Language (XML) for encoding descriptions ofrecord creators. The primary developers of this prototype standard are mem-bers of the international archival community. The description of individuals,families, and organizations that create records is an essential component of thepreservation of the documentary evidence of human activity. Identifying rec-ord creating entities; recording the names or designations used by and forthem; and describing their essential functions, activities, and characteristics,and the dates and places they were active is an essential component of themanagement of archival records. Creator description facilitates both access toand interpretation of records.</p><p>Description of creators is also essential in bibliographic systems, and inmuseum documentation, and thus EAC may be of interest to other cultural her-itage communities as well. As custodians of the records upon which biogra-phies and organizational histories are based, and with an ongoing need tocreate biographies and histories as an essential component of record descrip-tion, archivists are well-placed to develop a standard that will assist in the ful-fillment of their professional responsibilities, and at the same time lay thefoundation for building international biographical and organizational historyreference resources.</p><p>RECORDS</p><p>Archival records are the evidence of people acting individually, in families,or in formally organized and named groups. From a strictly archival perspec-tive, records are the byproducts of people living their lives, or carrying out of-</p><p>202 Authority Control in Organizing and Accessing Information</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Fond</p><p>ren </p><p>Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>, Ric</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> ] a</p><p>t 13:</p><p>42 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>ficial duties or responsibilities. Archival records are the results of humanfunctions and activities. Records document the conduct of business and as evi-dence of activities and official functions, they frequently have legal and histor-ical value. Records, broadly speaking, encompass both the narrower archivaldefinition, but also all artifacts, whether created as byproducts, or as inten-tional products. Anything made by human art and workmanship1 is thus arecord: books, articles, movies, sound recordings, paintings, sculptures, col-lections of natural objects, and so on.</p><p>CREATOR AND RECORD DESCRIPTION</p><p>Most standards development work to date has focused on the description ofrecords or resources. While there are notable exceptions, this is true of the ar-chival community, such as in the development of Encoded Archival Descrip-tion (EAD), as well as standards development efforts in other communities.The best-known example is the Dublin Core initiative, which has concentratedon basic description of resources to facilitate their discovery. The Dublin Corecommunity recognized the value of creator description as a complement to re-source description, but the effort to develop a standard for describing creators(or agents) is still in its infancy.2 The library community has long had stan-dards for both the description of bibliographic entities as well as for uniquelyidentifying the individuals, corporate bodies, and conferences responsible fortheir creation and dissemination. The library community, though, traditionallyhas concentrated on controlling names, and not on detailed description of thepeople and organizations bearing the names. In other words, library authoritycontrol standards serve bibliographic or resource description by controllingthe headings or entries used therein. Archival control differs from library con-trol in the need for not only authority or heading control, but also detailed bio-graphical and historical description of named entities.</p><p>Archival records function as both legal and historical evidence, so docu-mentation of the context of record creation is essential. In order to evaluate,understand, and interpret records, users need to know the circumstances thatsurrounded their creation and use. Recording information about individuals,families, and organizations responsible for the creation of records is essentialin the documentation of context. In particular, such creator description needsto document the name or names used, biographical or historical informationabout the creator, and information concerning activities and responsibilities.</p><p>Archivists are in a unique position for developing a standard for describingcreators. While libraries, museums, and archives are all responsible for thepreservation of records generated by and through human activities, archives in</p><p>Authority Control for Names and Works 203</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Fond</p><p>ren </p><p>Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>, Ric</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> ] a</p><p>t 13:</p><p>42 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>particular are responsible for the official records and personal papers that areconsidered the primary evidence on which biographical and historical descrip-tion is based. As the custodians of the unique documentary evidence on whichbiographies and histories are based and with a professional obligation to de-scribe creators, archivists are uniquely placed to play a major role in develop-ing a standard for creator description.</p><p>BACKGROUND</p><p>The effort to develop a standard for creator description is taking placewithin the context of related initiatives within the international archival com-munity. In 1996, the International Council on Archives (ICA) published Inter-national Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Personsand Families (ISAAR(CPF)).3 Under the auspices of ICAs Ad Hoc Commis-sion on Descriptive Standards, work on this structural standard was initiated in1993. While ISAAR has served as the point of departure for the EAC efforts,the initial design of EAC has not been constrained by it. ISAAR is currentlyundergoing revision. Draft of a second edition was released for comment inFebruary 2003, and comments were considered at a meeting in Canberra, Aus-tralia in October 2003.4 Several members of the ICA committee reviewingISAAR are represented in the EAC initiative. Through them, the EAC initia-tive is informing the review of ISAAR.</p><p>At the same time that ICA was developing ISAAR, there was an Americaneffort to develop an SGML-based prototype standard for archival records de-scription (or finding aids). This initiative eventually developed into an inter-national effort, and resulted in the release of version 1.0 of Encoded ArchivalDescription (EAD) in 1998.5 EAC is intended to extend and complementEAD. EAC will support the descriptive needs of the archival community, spe-cifically in the creation, maintenance, and publication of creator description.</p><p>Wendy Duff (University of Toronto) and Richard Szary (Yale University)first proposed an effort to develop an encoding standard for creator or contextdescription in 1998. With the assistance of the author, and with funding fromthe Digital Library Federation in the United States, they organized a meetingheld at Yale University in 1999. The effort was slow until 2000, when, withthe encouragement and assistance of Anne Van Camp of the RLG, fundingwas secured from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Two meetings wereorganized and convened in 2001, at the University of Toronto in Marchand the University of Virginia in June. Following the meeting at the Uni-versity of Virginia, an alpha version of EAC was released for testing. InSeptember 2003, Dick Sargent (Public Records Office, UK), Per-Gunnar</p><p>204 Authority Control in Organizing and Accessing Information</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Fond</p><p>ren </p><p>Lib</p><p>rary</p><p>, Ric</p><p>e U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p> ] a</p><p>t 13:</p><p>42 1</p><p>9 N</p><p>ovem</p><p>ber </p><p>2014</p></li><li><p>Ottosson (Riksarkivet, Sweden), and the author met in Stockholm to reviseEAC based on input and suggestions from those experimenting with the alphaversion. With the completion of a tag library, EAC beta is scheduled for re-lease in early 2004.</p><p>The organizers of the initial meetings attempted to identify and select inter-nationally recognized archival description experts and supporting technolo-gists as participants. In addition to selecting recognized experts, the organizersalso sought participants with experience in working collaboratively and coop-eratively in the development of standards and best practices. When the work-ing group met in Toronto, its initial efforts were devoted to developing ageneral methodological framework as well as a detailed list of principles andobjectives to guide the design.6</p><p>The working group explicitly acknowledged that standards are intellectualand technical products as well as inherently political products. Cooperationand consensus are absolutely essential, and thus participants would have to beable and willing to collectively create and shape ideas. A successful standardwould need to embody agreement sufficient to be useful in developing na-tional and institutional systems and exchanging data between systems. At thesame time, the standard would have to accommodate national, institutional,and cultural differences. A successful standard would have to identify and del-icately balance shared and individual interests. Such a process is necessarilyiterative. Each set of objectives needs to be provisionally implemented and theprototype standard evaluated with respect to both shared and individual objec-tives. In general, institutions and individuals are willing to develop and adoptstandards if the benefits of using them outweigh the sacrifices required to usethem.</p><p>ECONOMIC AND PROFESSIONAL BENEFITS</p><p>Standardization of creator description offers economic benefits. Anyonefamiliar with authority control and creator description knows that it is an ex-pensive undertaking. Description of individuals, families, and orga...</p></li></ul>