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OhioLINK EAD FACTORy (Finding Aid Creation Tool and Online Repository)

Contributors: Frequently Asked Questions

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 register in order to use the EAD Encoding Tool or upload finding aids into the Repository?

The registration process provides many advantages to the OhioLINK EAD project.

3) Why does my institution need to have an LC MARC institution code?

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 identfier, which in turn serves as the basis for the ID for each finding aid the institution creates. This enables the sorting of large number of finding aids in an electronic environment.

The use of these institution codes allows for the search, retrieval, and sorting of finding aids by institution in cooperative catalogs and databases, including the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repostiory. Also, the institution code is used in the generation of a unique finding aid identifier that allows for the identification of each finding aid in the Repository and within the Finding Aid Creation Tool environment.

4) Is the Repository and use of the Finding Aid Creation Tool limited to OhioLINK institutions only?

No. OhioLINK has opened the EAD Repository and use of the Finding Aid Creation Tool to any insitution in Ohio, provided the registration process has been completed. This policy allows for the inclusion of finding aids from a multitude of cultural heritage institutions in Ohio, such as historical societies, special and public libraries, and museums, in addition to academic libraries.

5) What are the advantages of creating finding aids using EAD?

Please see the OhioLINK EAD Starter Packet, "Why EAD?" (Section 2) for information on this topic.

6) What is the purpose of the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository?

The OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository allows students, faculty, and other researchers to search finding aids from a multitude of institutions in the state of Ohio. This will eventually allow for "one stop shopping" when searching for archival materials and primary sources in the state. For example, a student interested in Civil War diaries of Ohio soldiers would be able to conduct a keyword or subject search in the Repository to locate relevant materials from several institutions.

The Repository also allows more specialized searching by genre or format, the ability to limit searching to just one institution's holdings, and the ability to browse collections by subject headings.

7) If my institution submits finding aids to the OhioLINK Repository, can they also be accessed through our local website?

Yes. One of the features of the EAD Encoding Tool is that it allows for the downloading of the EAD xml file to you local computer or network. You may then display that file on your institution's local website, or simply save the file as a local backup. If you need information on how to display EAD xml files on your website, please contact the EAD Task Force (Cara Gilgenbach; (330) 672-1677;

8) 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:

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.

9) If I create EAD finding aids using the Tool, can I also still create MARC records for my 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 and editing the data as needed. Additionally, a MARC binary file dowload that can be imported into your local library catalog system is also available. You will need to add data and tweak this output MARC file in order to conform to your local institution's cataloging standards.

10) I've heard that EAD is moving toward a schema structure in the future, instead of xml. What does this mean for the OhioLINK EAD project?

The OhioLINK EAD Task Force is aware of this movement in EAD to a schema structure and is monitoring developments in the national and international archival community. At present, the transition to the schema structure is on hold, pending further development and "finalization" of that version of EAD. Information about this future change will be shared with contributing institutions before any changes are made to the Encoding Tool or functionality within the Repository.

11) My institution has existing EAD (xml) finding aids. May I 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.

12) 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.

13) When I access the Finding Aid Creation Tool, I notice that the url changes to a "" location. I thought this was an OhioLINK service. Please explain.

The EAD Finding Aid Creation Tool was developed jointly by members of the OhioLINK EAD Task Force and Kent State University Libraries, Systems Unit staff. Programming was completed by David Gaj, Applications Developer, Kent State University Libraries. Specifications and content standards for the Tool were developed by members of the EAD Task Force. The encoding tool resides on the Kent State University Libraries server.

14) How do I find out more about the technical architecture of the EAD FACTORy?

Please read our Technical Overview document for detailed information about the OhioLINK EAD FACTORy.

15) I need help. Do you offer training opportunities for learning how to use the OhioLINK Finding Aid Creation Tool?

The EAD Task Force has offered a number of regional workshops since 2008. In person workshops are offered on a periodic basis and, when offered, are posted on relevant email lists and other venues. Online training modules are available on the Finding Aid Creation Tool site. You must login as a "guest" in order to access the modules. Click on "Help" and then "Tutorials" to access these modules.