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Background


The NAHSTE project, funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP), was designed to open up a variety of outstanding collections of archives and manuscripts held by the three partner Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and to make them fully accessible on the World Wide Web, with an indication of relevant material held by the non-HEI partners.

Work has been undertaken by a dedicated team of professional archivists, and a conservator under the direction of the Project Management Group. This consists chiefly of representatives from the partner HEIs. Collaborators outside the Higher Education sector also provide valuable guidance and this has been supplemented by on-going advice and evaluation from the Academic Users Group (AUG).

The descriptions give information on a variety of aspects of the collections including the name and reference code of the collection, the creator, the contents of the collection and the availabilty of the collection for use by researchers. These are displayed in both a 'descriptive' and 'administrative' view.

Descriptions of the material conform to the internationally recognised standard, (ISAD(G)2), the General International Standard for Archival Description - 2nd Edition. The collections have been listed to various levels of description.

Along with descriptions of archival collections themselves, we have compiled information about key individuals within them. This has been created using the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR(CPF)) and records created using this standard are known to archivists as ISAAR Records.

NAHSTE tagged all catalogue directly into Encoded Archival Description (EAD). This is an Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) compliant Document Type Definition (DTD) developed by the Society of American Archivists and published in 1998.

This DTD has been widely adopted by the archival profession to facilitate data manipulation and inter-repository sharing. NAHSTE implemented the established cross-walk for ISAD(G) with some modifications to take account of ISAD(G)2. The project has closely specified detailed tagging guidelines to index subjects, dates and personal and corporate names. This facilitated the development of searching facilities by the project's ICT provider.

No DTD currently exists for contextual information held in International Standard Authority Records for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR(CPF)) records. A working group in the USA is currently developing a DTD. However, it was unlikely that it would be sufficiently developed within a time-scale that would allow implementation within the life of the project, so a local DTD for the ISAAR records was compiled by NAHSTE.


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