Music Discovery Requirements

V.D Metadata Schemas: EAD

EAD (Encoded Archival Description) [1] is “a non-proprietary de facto standard for the encoding of finding aids for use in a networked (online) environment.”[2] As an encoding schema it does not prescribe descriptive practices. The official United States standard for description of archival collections is found in Describing Archives: A Content Standard.[3]

The focus of archival description tends to be at the level of collections and file series, not items, making it essentially different from other schemas represented in MDR. Even when applied to items, archival description is presented in such a wide variety of methods that general guidelines for harvesting metadata at the item level are not useful. Therefore, EAD has been excluded from this edition of MDR.

[1] Thank you to John Bewley and Matthew Snyder of the Music Library Association’s Archives and Special Collections Committee for their extended, thoughtful consultation regarding EAD and the Music Discovery Requirements, and for writing the text in this section.

[2] The official EAD site includes cross walks for MARC21 to EAD 2002: and MARC21 to EAD3: These are mostly applicable to collection-level description. Accessed August 25, 2017.

[3] Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) is now in its 2nd edition. See especially the Preface, Statement of Principles, and Overview of Archival Description (pages xv- xxiv). It is available at