ESLN Workshop: Creating Finding Aids with Empire ADC – NYC

This event was organized by Empire State Library Network. Please register here.

Organizations seeking to create access to their historical materials have traditionally created finding aids or collection guides for potential researchers to use. The creation of these finding aids is governed by the archival descriptive standard known as DACS (or Describing Archives: a Content Standard). As more and more of these finding aids have moved online, providing faster and easier access to researchers, a structural standard using XML (eXtensible Markup Language) has emerged to promote a more uniform structure to the content. This structural standard is known as EAD (or Encoded Archival Description).

While EAD (informed by DACS) is the industry standard for creating and making finding aids available online, many small-to-medium-sized organizations face a number of resource barriers that block implementation of one or both standards, resulting in a number of hidden collections buried in the stacks. The Empire Archival Discovery Cooperative (or Empire ADC) seeks to change this.

By using the EADitor, an XForms-based tool for encoding and creating finding aids, organizations may create well-formed finding aids (or collection guides) without knowledge of EAD, and without a need for local technical support. Moreover, the Empire ADC platform allows these finding aids to be hosted and discovered in a stable environment, alongside finding aids submitted by institutions from across New York State.

This class will introduce participants to the EADitor as it is being used by Empire ADC, which will allow them to create and mount well-formed finding aids, thereby increasing and enhancing the discovery and use of their local historical materials. With the EADitor, participants can focus on creating well-described content, and not the technical aspects for encoding their materials.

Because this project is in beta mode, attendees will also have the opportunity to provide important feedback and suggestions for enhanced functionality to Empire ADC.

Upon finishing this workshop, attendees will:

  • understand the basic functionality for Empire ADC and how to add their organization’s finding aids to the site at
  • have the skills to use the EADitor to create standards-compliant finding aids for online discovery
  • have a basic understanding of archival description and minimum archival descriptive fields  of Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
  • will be instructed in best practices for assigning subject headings to archival collections

Register here.


About the instructor:

Laura Streett is the College Archivist at Vassar College, where she has worked since 2004. She has an M.A. in History from the University of Maine and an M.L.S. (Master’s of Library Science) from Simmons College. She previously held positions at Cornell University as well as Smith College. Her current responsibilities include oversight of arrangement and description, reference assistance, classroom instruction, exhibit planning, and work with the Library’s digitization team.


Thu, Jul. 7, 2016
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. America/New_York


METRO Training Center (4th floor)
57 E. 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States