n. (abbr. EAD)a standard for encoding descriptions of archival resources in XML so that the descriptions can be exchanged, modified, and rendered by computersFeeney 1999, 207–208The resulting Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is intended to provide repositories with a means of establishing an effective, accessible, and stable presence for their holdings information. EAD accommodates variations in the length and content of finding aids within and among repositories, and preserves in electronic form the complex, hierarchically structured descriptive information found in archival repositories and registers, while also enabling the documents to be navigated and searched in ways that their printed counterparts cannot.Pitti 1999Encoded Archival Description is in the form of a Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) Document Type Definition (DTD).Prom 2002, 273–274In defense of EAD, other archivists tended to argue that its limitations have less to do with the standard itself than with external factors. For example, several respondents seemed to think that EAD is “not capable of delivering . . . content richness until XML-based browsers are commonly available.” Another pointed out that its strengths lie in “standardizing the structure of finding aids, simplifying data migration, facilitating user access . . . and making it possible to exchange data on a global scale.”Yaco 2008, 457To implement EAD fully requires completing a multistep path. The steps include establishing a workflow, establishing coding standards, encoding finding aids, developing Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) style sheets to translate EAD’s XML, setting up an EAD server, and finally publishing the encoded EAD finding aids to the Web.Schaefer and Bunde 2013, 24In 1997, Encoded Archival Description, or EAD, was released as the first data structure standard created by the archival community. It is now the most commonly used standard for encoding finding aids.Zhang and Mauney 2013, 178In their 2009 study, Lina Bountouri and Manolis Gergatsoulis pushed the inquiry further to investigate the semantic relationships between EAD and MODS, and proposed a crosswalk between the two.EAD 2020Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is an XML standard for encoding archival finding aids, maintained by the Technical Subcommittee for Encoded Archival Standards of the Society of American Archivists, in partnership with the Library of Congress.Tillman 2020Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is an XML-based standard for describing archival materials.
The Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard is maintained jointly by the Society of American Archivists and the Library of Congress.