Date of this Version
Documentary Editing, Volume 27, Number 4, Winter 2005. ISSN 0196-7134
In July 1995, I joined the faculty in the Special Collections Department of Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont (UVM). I was expected to put the descriptions of their holdings online. I knew the little collections were easy (MARC records in the university's online catalog would do), but what about the longer inventories-some as long as 300 pages? That problem had me flummoxed. However, at the Society of American Archivists meeting in August of 1995, I saw Daniel Pitti demonstrate Encoded Archival Description (EAD), an SGML (now XML) protocol for publishing archival inventories on the web. I knew I had found the answer.
Over the course of the next two years, Hope Greenberg, the Humanities Computing Specialist at the Academic Computing Center, and I brought the DynaText suite of SGML publication software to campus. A programmer I knew volunteered to develop some utilities to make the markup go reasonably quickly, and we developed an EAD shop. Among others, we put online the inventory to our collection of the papers of George Perkins Marsh.