Conference paper Open Access

Encoded Archival Description for Numismatic Collections

Ethan Gruber

Developed in the 1990's and revised in 2002, Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is an XML encoding standard commonly used in libraries and archives in the United States and Europe to describe collections of paper materials, for example, manuscripts and photographs. Numerous physical, organizational, and categorical facets of the collections can be described in EAD, including physical materials, genres, index terms, provenance, and essays of biographical or historical nature (complete with footnotes, bibliographies, figures, tables, etc.). These facets are not unique in their usefulness to the library and archival fields, and the descriptive standard's flexibility allows it to effectively describe collections of objects that are more commonly found within museums. Recently, the University of Virginia Library worked in conjunction with the University of Virginia Art Museum to digitize the museum's collection of nearly 600 coins of classical—predominantly Roman—origin. Coupled with Apache Solr for semantic search and faceted browsing, an interface was created as a research tool for students and scholars of numismatics. This paper details the process of the project and seeks to inform the reader of EAD's potential for encoding numismatic metadata.

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