Adding Archival Finding
Aids to the Library Catalogue:
Simple Crosswalk or Data
Trafc Jam?
Geo Brown and Kathryn Harvey
Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections (DUASC) has been
producing Encoded Archival Description (EAD) nding aids to describe its
archival collections since 2003. e EAD descriptions started as a way to con-
vert the collection of print and electronic (Microsoft Word and WordPerfect)
nding aids into a stable, software neutral format. As the collection of nd-
ing aids grew, it became apparent that we needed a way to search these docu-
ments beyond what was possible via a basic browse on the DUASC website.
As a result, we embarked on a systematic crosswalk of the EAD nding aids
into MARC 21 format for inclusion in the Novanet library catalogue. is
has facilitated searching and discovery of the materials by a much broader
12 Cataloging and Indexing: Challenges and Solutions
audience of Dalhousie University Library users as well as users from all of the
other Novanet member libraries in Nova Scotia and the general public. is
article describes the primary motivation for the project and the technical as-
pects of converting the EAD nding aids into MARC 21 format for inclusion
in the Novanet catalogue.
A Reason to Innovate
Although libraries and archives have very dierent traditions for describing, hous-
ing and providing access to their collections, the ongoing physical cohabitation
of the DUASC within the Killam Library at Dalhousie University has clearly
inuenced the development of this project. Like many other university archives,
DUASC is located in the main library and falls within the administrative struc-
ture of the libraries. e physical location of the archives, combined with the fact
that there was no keyword searchable catalogue of its collections has resulted in a
relatively low prole for this world class collection of materials that, in fact, has as-
sumed the role of the primary cultural archives for the province of Nova Scotia.
In addition to outreach work undertaken by DUASC to improve the vis-
ibility of its holdings, DUASC recognized in 2005 that it needed to take a three-
pronged approach to make its holdings known. e rst of these involved making
its nding aids—in both HTML. and XML formats—available on its website.
ese could be identied by search engines and thus appear in Google, Yahoo!,
and Altavista searches. is strategy will bring in those people who might not
otherwise consider searching for information in archives. e second approach
involved including our fonds-level descriptions in ArchWay, Nova Scotias union
database of archival descriptions. ArchWay is regularly uploaded to Canadas na-
tionwide archival database, Archives Canada; thus, our holdings are visible to
those who use these databases specically searching for archival records—perhaps
a small target audience, but an important one nonetheless. e nal target group
we wanted to reach were those—mostly university-based researchers (faculty and
students)—whose primary method of locating information is in a library cata-
logue. us, we began exploring how the Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
les we were creating could be converted for inclusion in yet another searchable
database that would help us reach a third audience.
Over the last ve to ten years, a small number of archivists recognized the
value of, as Steven L. Hensen puts it, “integrating archival material with the rest
of the bibliographic universe” (78) and not summarily discounting library cata-
logues as an unacceptable method of enhancing resource discovery simply because

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