Last Friday the Encoded Archival Context (EAC) standard for archival authorities was released to the international community for review. Warning: an EAC record is not your grandmother’s MARC authority record. EAC is a companion standard to Encoded Archival Description (EAD), yet now seems to be useful well beyond the world of archives.
Managing collections archivally requires archivists to create comprehensive descriptions of corporate bodies, persons and families. Who would know better the context of records and creators than the archivists with the stuff in their hands? And who knew that this contextual information would be exactly what folks want to share when Networking Names [pdf]? With EAC we can link the creators, the context and the stuff. EAC goes one step further, facilitating the exchange of authoritative contextual information across many domains.
It turns out EAC is useful infrastructure for metasearch. At our RLG Annual Meeting, Warwick Cathrow demonstrated The National Library of Australia’s prototype “one-search” service. Here one can discover everything – pictures, books, archives, newspaper articles, music, etc. – by and about a creator. The Australians have used EAC to collate dispersed, silo-ed information. (Just search the Christian name “Nellie” and watch it go! Hats off to Basil Dewhurst and his team.) Read the rest of this entry »