PHILADELPHIA, September 18, 2001 – The American Philosophical Society Library has recently completed the encoding of 35 manuscript collection finding aids, using Encoded Archival Description (EAD), and made them available on the Society’s web site at: www.amphilsoc.org/library/eadfiles.htm. EAD is an emerging standard for the delivery of finding aids in an electronic environment.
These finding aids include some of the Library’s most prominent collections in the areas of history of science, genetics, anthropology, and American history. Among the finding aids currently posted are the American Eugenics Society Records, the Joseph Priestley Papers, the Caspar Wistar Papers, and the papers of two Nobel laureates, geneticist Barbara McClintock and molecular biologist Salvador Luria. The finding aids are also linked through the Library’s new Mole: The Manuscripts On-line Guide, which compliments the printed manuscript guides and the Library’s On-line Public Access Catalog (OPAC) that became available in 1999 (opac.amphilsoc.org). It is the goal of the Library to make all of its finding aids publicly available in electronic form.
Encoding was made possible by a grant from the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL). The American Philosophical Society Library was one of 16 PACSCL institutions that participated in the EAD encoding project, which allowed each institution to encode up to 1,500 finding aid pages. Robert Cox, Manuscript Librarian of the American Philosophical Society, chaired the project steering committee and served as technical consultant.
To encode the finding aids, the PACSCL project adopted XML-compliant EAD and used extensible style sheet language (XSL) in conjunction with cascading style sheets (CSS). The result is static HTML files that complement the native XML files. Users can view either form of finding aid depending on the capabilities of their browser. The most recently released browser versions, such as Internet Explorer 5.x, are XML-compliant.
The American Philosophical Society Library, located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia, is a leading international center for research in the history of American science and technology and its European roots, as well as early American history and culture. The Library houses over 7 million manuscripts, 250,000 volumes and bound periodicals, and thousands of maps and prints. Outstanding historical collections and subject areas include the papers of Benjamin Franklin; the American Revolution; 18th and 19th-century natural history; western scientific expeditions and travel including the journals of Lewis and Clark; polar exploration; the papers of Charles Willson Peale, including family and descendants; American Indian languages; anthropology including the papers of Franz Boas; the papers of Charles Darwin and his forerunners, colleagues, critics, and successors; history of genetics, eugenics, and evolution; history of biochemistry, physiology, and biophysics; 20th-century medical research; and history of physics.
The Library is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information on the American Philosophical Society Library, visit our web site: www.amphilsoc.org.
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