Social Networks and Archival Context Project

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while…

Daniel Pitti of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities recently reposted an announcement on the EAD email list about a new collaborative project called the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Project.

Social Networks and Archival Context Project
SNAC Project

The project “will address the ongoing challenge of transforming description of and improving access to primary humanities resources through the use of advanced technologies. The project will test the feasibility of using existing archival descriptions in new ways, in order to enhance access and understanding of cultural resources in archives, libraries, and museums.”

A main objective of the project is to leverage the new standard Encoded Archival Context-Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF) to “unlock” descriptions of records creators from archival finding aids and link them together in new ways.


EAC-CPF is an XML schema for archival contextual information.  It was designed to link to Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids.  The schema was released in March, 2010, and there are still many questions about implementation, collaboration, and authority control.  The SNAC Project is a collaborative effort between the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, UC Berkeley School of Information Management, and the California Digital Library to find some solutions for EAC implementers.

According to the Project website, it will:

  • Create efficient open-source tools that allow archivists to separate the process of describing people from that of records.
  • Create a prototype integrated historical resource and access system that will link descriptions of people to one another and to descriptions of resources in archives, libraries and museums; online biographical and historical databases; and other diverse resources.

The prototype access system is supposed to be available in late 2010.  It would be really nice to see some functionality to migrate or harvest existing administrative or biographical information that’s currently in EAD finding aids into the new system.  Or even a cross-walk and recommended best practices for migrating EAD contextual information into EAC-CPF.

If you’re interested in EAC, keep an eye on the SNAC website, it will provide news and updates as the project unfolds.

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