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, 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:

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).

TARO 2018 and beyond

Hello TARO!

We’ve come to the end of another productive year. I’ve enjoyed serving as your Steering Committee Chair throughout the year! The in-coming 2019 Steering Committee members are:

Chair: Carla Alvarez, UT Libraries, Benson Latin American Collection,

Vice-Chair: Rebecca Romanchuk, Texas State Library and Archives Commission,

Secretary: Irene Lule, University of Texas, Harry Ransom Center,

At-large member (2018-2019, 2 year term): Samantha Dodd, Southern Methodist University,

At-large member (2018-2019, 2 year term): Paul Fisher, Baylor University,

At-large member (2018-2020, 3 year term): Robert Weaver, Texas Tech University,

UT Libraries representative: Aaron Choate, UT Libraries,

Immediate Past Chair: Sandra Yates, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library,

Programmers are J.J. Bennett and Joanna Jackson, UT Libraries,

Thank You!
I’d like to thank the Steering Committee members that are rolling off the committee this year. Amanda Focke served as Immediate Past Chair, Chair of the Governance subcommittee, and Chair of the QA subcommittee for the Summerlee Project. Carol Mead served as Steering Committee Secretary for three years. I’m sure we’ll still see them around in TARO circles. Another huge thank you to Amy Bowman and her hard work as Chair of the Funding subcommittee pulling the NEH grant together and getting the award from the Summerlee Foundation. Finally to all the TARO members, thank you for your feedback throughout the year, your service on subcommittees, and, most importantly, submitting finding aids. TARO is growing, and we can’t do it without you!

2018 Major Accomplishments
University of Texas Libraries became TARO’s official institutional home

We received funding from the Summerlee
Foundation for our New Member Initiative Project, which is a 5-year project to encode finding aids and increase member participation in TARO. The QA subcommittee is already reviewing a small test batch of EAD XML files from the vendor, Digital Divide Data (DDD).

We submitted the implementation grant application to the NEH to improve TARO’s platform, technical infrastructure, and website.

New TARO URL Surveys
Thanks again for your feedback about possible TARO domain names! This will be in many cases the first impression of TARO in the years to come, and we want to make sure that it suits us.  During the Steering Committee meeting on December 17th, we had a lively discussion about the results–the whys, pros, and cons for each (see minutes, 2018-12-17.docx). None of them are a perfect fit, and I understand the feedback that I’ve received over the last few months. The Steering Committee decided to table the topic until next year, hoping for more perspectives from users, general public (potential users) as well as in terms of effective branding. So during the holidays and in the coming months, ask your researchers, family, and  your neighborhood marketing and graphic designers about what would be the best domain name for TARO. Feel free to send me any feedback,

Looking ahead to 2019
TARO Today blog will be moved to a UT sites page
The blog is where we share the latest news, How-To Tutorials, and details about TARO membership.

February 25: Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids
Amy Bowman and Amanda Focke will be teaching a workshop at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

Learn hands-on basic skills needed to participate in TARO, including basic XML familiarity and editing, EAD familiarity, how to upload files to TARO, and troubleshooting.

You can register through SSA. $85 (full day) or $50 (half day)

March: We will hear from NEH about the implementation grant awards.

May: Pending grant funds, the three-year implementation project to improve TARO’s platform and website will begin.

May 30: New TARO membership period deadline for July.

November 30: New TARO membership period deadline for January

Summerlee Project will upload new findings aids for participating repositories and welcome five more new members to TARO.

Stay in Touch
TARO working wiki:
TARO Best Practices Guidelines:

If you have anything to add about the accomplishments of TARO and its members, please share with us.

Thanks again and see you in 2019!

Sandra Yates
Chair, 2018 TARO Steering Committee

Summer 2018 TARO updates

TARO submitted an implementation grant to the NEH in July 2018

  • This grant funding would support major updates to our site.
  • Thanks to TARO members for their input, and to TARO committee members for all their excellent work to assemble this application!
  • NEH response is expected in Spring 2019, with funded projects beginning May 2019.

TARO submitted and was awarded a Summerlee Foundation grant!

  • This grant will fund the XML encoding of hundreds of Word finding aids.
  • Work will being in Fall 2018, with 5 new TARO members: Harris County Archives, Menil Collection, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum Research Center, Fort Worth Jewish Archives, and the Catholic Archives of Texas.

Stay tuned for annual TARO Steering Committee elections coming up this Fall 2018. We want you!