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So what do you have here?

Oct 31, 2008 11:57 AM | 0 comments

Brooklyn Public Library - Central construction

"Here" being the Brooklyn Collection, this frequently asked question could take hours to answer.  The Brooklyn Collection has an extensive and varied collection of books, photographs, maps, manuscripts, ephemera, objects, and much more about Brooklyn history from its earliest days to the present. Providing access to these collections is one of our main goals, along with preserving the materials for future researchers. 

Our finding aids, lists, and card catalog are the key to discovering the secrets within the Brooklyn Collection. While a few of our finding aids are already online (for example, the Playbills and Programs Collection), many more are not. A visit to the Brooklyn Public Library puts these finding aids into the hands of researchers. But what if you don’t live in Brooklyn? Or can’t easily get to the library?

Online finding aids to the rescue! We are working diligently on creating a standard finding aid format for our myriad special collections using Encoded Archival Description (EAD), a method for encoding archival materials in XML. Once they are coded and online, these finding aids will make it easier for researchers to explore our collections.

The Library of Congress maintains the EAD Version 2002 Official Site at This site has the EAD tag library, an essential resource for anyone working with EAD. There is also a history of the development of EAD over the past 10 years and an active listserv. Another useful collection of links is maintained by the Society of American Archivists at Their EAD Help Pages are a fantastic resource with general information for beginners, lists of institutions using EAD, tools and DTD (Document Type Definition) files, and much more, including my personal favorite, the EAD Cookbook.

Check the Brooklyn Public Library’s web page for updates, coming soon!