Funding provided by:
United States Department of Education
Higher Education Act Title IIA Research and Demonstration Grant
October 1993-September 1995
Software Grants provided by:
Electronic Book Technologies, Providence, Rhode Island
ArborText, Ann Arbor, Michigan
For a more detailed description of the Berkeley Finding Aid Project, see:
The Berkeley Finding Aid Project:
Standards in Navigation
Access to Digital Representations of Archival Materials: The Berkeley Finding Aid Project
The Berkeley Finding Aid Project is a collaborative endeavor to test the feasibility and desirability of developing an encoding standard for archive, museum, and library finding aids. Finding aids are documents used to describe, control, and provide access to collections of related materials. In the hierarchical structure of collection-level information access and navigation, finding aids reside between bibliographic records and the primary source materials. Bibliographic records lead to finding aids, and finding aids lead to primary source materials. A standard for encoding finding aids will ensure not only broad based access to our cultural heritage and natural history collections, but that the findings aids themselves will survive hardware and software platform changes, and thereby remain available for future generations.
The Project involves two interrelated activities. The first task entails the design and creation of a prototype encoding standard for finding aids. The prototype standard is in the form of a Standard Generalized Markup Language (ISO 8879) Document Type Definition (SGML DTD). Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are developing the encoding standard in collaboration with leading experts in collection cataloging and processing, text encoding, system design, network communication, authority control, and text retrieval and navigation. The design and development team is analyzing the structure and function of representative finding aids. The basic elements that occur in finding aids are being isolated and their logical interrelationships defined. The DTD is based on the results of this analysis. The project team is using ArborText's Document Architecture to facilitate DTD development. The first iteration of the DTD was completed in Fall 1994.
Building a prototype database of finding aids is the second objective of the Project. Toward this end, available SGML based software has been evaluated. For authoring and validating finding aids compliant with the DTD, project staff are using ArborText's Adept Editor . Conversion of finding aids that already exist in various word processing and database formats is accomplished through a combination of Adept Editor, WordPerfect macros, Microsoft Access, and perl. Scanning and OCR of finding aids that only exist in paper form will follow conversion of those finding aids already in machine-readable form. Currently the database has approximately 200 finding aids from Berkeley, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Australia, the Getty Center, Duke University, University of California, San Diego, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and others.
Electronic Book Technologies' DynaText is being used for electronic network publishing of the finding aids. At this time the only version of DynaText available for use on the Internet is X- Windows. Stand-alone versions of DynaText are available for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows . DynaText supports inline display of a variety of graphic formats (GIF, TIFF, etc.) and launching of external display software for image viewing and manipulation. DynaText also supports a variety of search types within and across finding aids: boolean keyword, word adjacency and proximity, as well as element or field qualified searches. The text viewing and navigation component of DynaText provides dynamic generation of an expandable table of contents adjacent to the document text to supply context clues for reading comprehension and random, informed access to the text.
The finding aid database is serving two primary purposes. First, it provides the encoding standard developers with computer application experience with which to refine and inform the development process. Second, it provides a means for end users to evaluate the utility and desirability of encoded finding aids, which, in turn, enables them to provide new ideas and suggestions to the encoding standard developers.
The Berkeley Finding Aid Project envisions an information future in which serious scholars and the casually curious alike can easily isolate the cultural treasures they seek. In this information future, information seekers follow clearly marked paths through library catalogs to finding aids and from finding aids to treasures in a multitude of computer and traditional formats ... and back.
Selected Digital Images of the Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection and Frederick Schiller Faust Papers have been put up as examples of HTML versions of finding aids. (Note that you must be using a browser capable of viewing tables for the Faust Finding Aid.)
1996. All rights reserved.
Document maintained at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/FindingAids/ by the SunSITE Manager.
Last update 1/8/95. SunSITE Manager: email@example.com