Leveraging EAD for Low-Cost Access to Digitized Content at the University of Alabama Libraries

Jody L DeRidder



As funding shrinks and researcher demand for online access to primary source materials grows, many institutions seek the most cost-effective method of digitization, online delivery, and long-term access. One method of reducing costs is to leverage existing Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids for search and retrieval, rather than creating item-level descriptions for digitized content. This provides Web access to manuscript materials while still providing context to the user. This article describes the Septimus D. Cabaniss Papers project at the University of Alabama Libraries which seeks to recreate the patron experience in the reading room via the Web. This project tested a model for lowering the costs of Web delivery of large collections using folder level descriptions.


EAD; digital libraries; low cost; open source; manuscript materials; finding aids; Encoded Archival Description; metadata; digital file management.

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ISSN: 1947-525X