TARO April 2024 News and Notes

TARO Repository Contacts

You may have recently received an email from one of your friendly neighborhood TARO Steering Committee members confirming your repository contact information and asking about your current level of engagement with TARO. If you’ve replied—thanks, it was great to hear from you! If you haven’t, please take a moment to search your inbox, dig out that TARO message, and shoot us a quick response.

Most TARO communications are shared here on TARO Today (sites.utexas.edu/taro/) and the TARO listserv (taro-lib@utlists.utexas.edu). Anyone working at a member repository is encouraged to join the listserv (not just the primary repository representative). Occasionally, however, TARO may need to communicate directly with repository representatives, so it is important to keep this list up to date.

On that note, we also encourage members to keep their repository page on the TARO Administrative website up to date so that users have access to the most current information. If you have any questions on how to do this, email matt.richardson@library.tmc.edu and I’ll walk you through.

View of the TARO Administrative Interface showing Repository Contact Information for the McGovern Historical Center, TMC Library

TARO Brown Bag at the Society of Southwest Archivists Annual Meeting, May 3

TARO will be hosting its annual Brown Bag session during the Society of Southwest Archivists Annual Meeting. The meeting is virtual and the Brown Bag takes place during the lunch hour Friday 12-1:15pm. TARO members, prospective members, and all finding aid afficionados are encouraged to come to learn about TARO happenings and how to get involved.

TARO In-Person Workshops

TARO recently hosted two in-person “Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids” workshops: at Lamar University in Beaumont on February 26 and at UT Tyler on March 4. These trainings were funded by the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board. Thanks to THRAB, our trainers, and attendees!

There aren’t currently any more in-person workshops planned for 2024, but plans are being made for future training opportunities. If you have ideas, see a need, or are interested in hosting a training for your region, please let us know!

TARO Today revisions

We continue adding to, updating, and re-organizing pages on TARO Today. Recent additions include a “Why TARO?” page to support member advocacy and a page for our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, TARO Today | TARO Tomorrow. Another highlight is a dedicated page to feature the TARO Best Practices Guidelines and XML Template more prominently.

2024 Committee Charges

At the beginning of 2024, the Steering Committee reviewed the Strategic Plan to create charges for each of the committees to pursue this year. These charges are being communicated to committees, so stay tuned as work gets underway.

Call for Committee Participation

As the TARO Steering Committee rolls out the 2024 committee charges, we’re looking for folks to help move things forward. New members are welcome on all committees, even if you don’t have much experience with TARO or encoding finding aids. With the website redesign behind us and new projects about to get underway, now’s a great time to get involved!

In addition to volunteers for committee roles, TARO is seeking new Co-Chairs for the Standards Committee and the Website & Technology (Web/Tech) Committee, as well as an additional Co-Chair for the Outreach and Education Committee. Please email matt.richardson@library.tmc.edu if you have questions or are ready to sign up!

EAD4 Draft and Call for Feedback

Our final update comes to us from the Society of American Archivists’ Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS). A draft revision of EAD has been released for public comment. Changes to the EAD standard would (eventually, likely) impact TARO as well as individual member repositories, so members are strongly encouraged to share their feedback with TS-EAS (email: ts-eas@archivists.org).

The first draft of EAD 4.0 has been published as of last week and will be kept open for community feedback until the end of July. To make sure that the updated version of EAD fits our community’s requirements and that the benefits of a new version of EAD outweigh the challenges of transitioning from one version to another, the members of the EAD sub-team want to hear your comments, questions, suggestions, and concerns about EAD 4.0. You can provide feedback via GitHub or the TS-EAS email, ts-eas@archivists.org. We will also offer several informal drop-in sessions online between April and June to discuss and ask questions, starting with an introductory session on how to contribute to the call for comments this week Wednesday, April 24, 4pm UTC (open for registration). We are not doing this work alone!

For more, see their recent blog post on the SAA Description Section blog: https://saadescription.wordpress.com/2024/04/22/shape-the-future-of-ead-a-call-to-action-part-ii/

Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids Workshops funded by THRAB

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) has announced free spring training opportunities on encoding finding aids to enhance the collection access efforts of historical and genealogical societies, archives, museums, libraries, colleges, local governments and other institutions who hold Texas’ archival collections.

Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids is a workshop designed to serve anyone learning how to encode archival finding aids using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard in XML, but focuses on the local guidelines and participation logistics for the state consortium for finding aids, Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO).

Through these workshops, archivists will learn the hands-on basic skills needed to participate in the TARO finding aid platform, www.txarchives.org. Trainers will offer day-long workshops in Beaumont and Tyler. Registration is free but limited to 15 participants at each site.

Locations and dates:

  • February 26, 2024 | Lamar University, Beaumont | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • March 4, 2024  | UT Tyler, Tyler | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For contact information and to register visit: bit.ly/TAROworkshops24.

Morning sessions will provide basic information on EAD and the standards used with it, as well as background on TARO. Afternoon sessions will include hands-on time using an XML editor (or alternatively, using ArchivesSpace) to build a valid EAD XML finding aid file and uploading it to TARO.

In 2020-2021, TARO underwent significant changes and upgrades, which this workshop will address, so it will be useful even to those who are familiar with the previous version of TARO. This includes required tags and attributes, suggested subject browsing terms and a new way of uploading and managing files. Participants will learn how XML tags work, what the EAD tags are, how to validate an XML file, how to use the TARO Best Practices Guidelines and how to upload files to TARO. Detailed handouts and sample files will allow participants to continue their practice after the workshop. Trainers Robert Weaver, Amy Bowman and Amanda Focke will lead these hands-on workshops.

THRAB programming is made possible by funds from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC).

EAD 2002 encoding with an eye to the future

Greetings from the TARO Standards subcommittee! A self-assigned task that we took on for our work in 2019 was to develop a list of tips to offer to TARO member repositories for how to encode in EAD 2002 with an eye toward making future migration to EAD3 easier. While migrating to EAD3 will be in our future, TARO doesn’t have current plans to do so. No other EAD consortium in the U.S. has migrated to EAD3 yet, and Standards recommends that TARO wait until at least one consortium does and has shared its documentation about the migration with the archival community.

One of the tasks that the Website & Technology subcommittee will be undertaking during TARO’s NEH implementation grant project (running through April 2022) is pilot testing of EAD3 migration for TARO files and submitting a report on its findings. This appears to be the best opportunity for recognizing in what ways EAD 2002 encoding in TARO files does or does not successfully migrate to EAD3. Afterward, Standards will compile encoding tips and share them with the TARO community. We plan to share those at the end of the grant project, in late spring 2022.

An EAD3 Study Group formed by SAA’s Encoded Archival Standards Section released a report in 2017 (Implementing EAD3: Conversion and Migration) outlining how well EAD 2002 elements and attributes migrate to EAD3. Both Standards and Website & Technology have studied this report and will adapt those findings and recommendations to TARO’s needs when the time comes for us to migrate to EAD3.

How might a TARO repository improve its encoding now, before these tips become available? Be sure to follow TARO’s EAD Best Practice Guidelines and refer to the EAD Tag Library Version 2002 to use elements and attributes as they’re intended. Another very helpful resource is EADiva.com, which provides a list of elements continuing from EAD 2002 into EAD3 and a list of those that are not (deprecated elements), along with a list of brand new elements in EAD3. An explanation of how date encoding occurs in EAD3 is also included in this very approachable website.

Questions? Please contact the Standards co-chairs directly at our email addresses below.

— Molly Hults (molly.hults@austintexas.gov) and Rebecca Romanchuk (rromnchk@tsl.texas.gov), Standards co-chairs