Next steps for EAC-CPF

EAC-CPF is in its sixth year as a standard! Several community members have identified issues or suggested revisions to update, emend or enhance the standard. A call for comments and input from the EAD revision process has solicited a number of questions and suggestions that will form the launching point for the revision work. TS-EAS has determined that the revision process will be conducted through a two-tier strategy.

Update plan

In order to satisfy the requirements of the users that have implemented the standard, we plan to publish a technical update of the EAC-CPF in 2018. This update will comprise minor enhancements and a clean-up, e.g., we are going to
relax selected element contents and attribute values defined by regular expressions, add optional elements and attributes, and align elements and attributes definitions with EAD 3, if feasible. This update stage will ensure that the new EAC-CPF schema is backwards compatible. The EAC-CPF Tag Library will be updated accordingly.

Revision plan

While the EAC-CPF update will answer some of the questions and solve some open issues, more significant questions have emerged about certain aspects of the standard and the approach how to use and define this standard has been questioned. Addressing these general issues and tackling a major overhaul of EAC-CPF starts in 2018. We will publish all announcements about this process as it moves forward on the EAC-CPF website.

Stay updated

The TS-EAS subteam for EAC-CPF is discussing all issues via EAC-CPF GitHub portal. Feel free to check this page to stay updated about the details. Throughout the process we will also be seeking community input at each stage of the process and hope everyone will be engaged. We will announce next steps via the homepage news and the update release will surely communicated via the EAD-Mailinglist.

Revision of Encoded Archival Context – Corporate Bodies, Persons, Families – Call for Comments

At the annual meeting in Portland, Oregon this year, the Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Description (TS-EAS) of the Society of American Archivists agreed to undertake a revision of the standard EAC-CPF.

The subcommittee is calling for proposed changes to the current version of EAC-CPF. To ensure the greatest possible input from users of EAC-CPF and other relevant standards, the deadline for change proposals is 11 December 2017. At that time, all proposals will be made publicly available through the EAC-CPF GitHub portal.

Please send feedback and comments by email to Silke Jagodzinski ( To ensure that the revision process is as open as possible, all comments must be attributable to named individuals and affiliated organisations where appropriate. Anonymous responses will not be considered. All change proposals will be made publicly available, with attribution, through the GitHub Portal as established during the EAD revision process. E-mail addresses are asked for so that we may contact respondents for clarification, but will not be shared.

Final Release of the Tag Library of the EAC-CPF Schema

The Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Context is pleased to announce the publication of the final release of the Tag Library of the EAC-CPF 2010 schema – the EAC-CPF Tag Library 2014.

The previous release was published in 2010 and had the status of draft. Over 2011 – 2013 the Draft Tag Library was translated in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Greek. The process of translation was also an excellent opportunity to review and comment on the content of the Draft Tag Library, by pointing out inconsistencies with the schema and other editorial issues. On the basis of these comments and other queries and suggestions from the international community the TS-EAC has undertaken a thorough revision of the Draft Tag Library text.

Note that this revision concerns only the Tag Library. The EAC-CPF 2010 schema itself has not changed.

In parallel, a new model for the TEI encoding of the Tag Library was designed. The objective of this model is to facilitate the maintenance, update and publication of the Tag Library as living documentation for the EAC-CPF schema. The new model is also intended to facilitate the encoding of the various linguistic versions of the Tag Library. The current release of the EAC-CPF Tag Library 2014 is encoded following the new TEI encoding model.

Scholarship Program for EAC-CPF

Starting in March 2012 SAA will offer the first of seven regional workshops to be scheduled through June 2013 to facilitate the dissemination of the new standard, Encoded Archival Context – Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families. To alleviate the pressures of decreasing professional development budgets, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is funding twenty scholarships for each of the seven workshops. The workshops will be hosted across the country and the first workshop is scheduled for March 23, 2012, in Austin, Texas. [more …]

The program is part of the project "Building a National Archival Authority Infrastructure".

New Funding for the Social Networks and Archival Context Project

Daniel Pitti, associate director of the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), in collaboration with Ray Larson at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and Adrian Turner and Brian Tingle at the California Digital Library, has received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to vastly expand Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC), a research and demonstration project (

The SNAC project is addressing a longstanding research challenge: discovering, locating, and using distributed historical records. Scholars use these records as primary evidence for the lives and work of historical persons and the events in which they participated. These records are held in archives and manuscript libraries, large and small, around the world, and scholars may need to search scores of different archives, following clues, hunches, and leads to find the records relevant to their topic (and it is likely that at least some records will remain undiscovered). SNAC aims to not only make the records more easily discovered and accessed but also, and at the same time, build an unprecedented resource that provides access to the socio-historical contexts (which includes people, families, and corporate bodies) in which the records were created.

The project uses a recently released Society of American Archivists communication standard for encoding information about persons, corporate bodies, and families, Encoded Archival Context-Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF). EAC-CPF standardizes descriptions of people and groups who are documented in archival records.

The pilot stage of the project was funded by a 2010 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which supported development of a prototype historical research and access system ( This next stage encompasses a range of tasks: the project team will vastly expand the source data employed in the project; develop new methods and tools for extracting and assembling archival authority descriptions; enhance methods for matching and combining records describing the same entity; develop methods for accommodating descriptive data in languages other than English; add geographic coordinates to place names; develop timeline-map rendering of chronological biographies or histories (lists of dates, places, and events); enable scholarly users of the prototype to query social-professional networks; develop graphical displays of complex, dense networks; and develop graphical displays of organizational charts, and sequential displays of organizations merging or dividing.

Thirteen consortia and over thirty-five leading research repositories in the U.S., U.K., and France are contributing source data, either finding aids or archival authority records. Among the contributing repositories are the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, British Library (BL), Archives nationales (France), and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). OCLC WorldCat is contributing over one million MARC archival descriptions. OCLC VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) and the Getty Vocabulary Program are contributing authority records to be used in match processing. By expanding the quantity and diversity of the data, the project will be able to further develop its processing, indexing, and display methods, public interface design, as well as address the challenge of scale.

For more information, please visit the SNAC web site (