EAC-CPF 2.0 background

The process for a major revision for EAC-CPF 2010 started in 2017, following the 2015 merger of the Technical Subcommittees on EAD and EAC-CPF and the Schema Development Team into the Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS) and was finalized in early 2022. This major revision modernizes the schema in terms of:

  • simplifying where possible,
  • aligning with EAD where useful,
  • implementing features and solutions upon users’ request,
  • clearing up unused components.

Revision notes

History & methodology

Participants of the revision process

Webinars, presentations and material

Revision notes

For details on the new and updated encoding see the Revision notes, incl.

  • removed, renamed or replaced and added elements and attributes,
  • schema alignment with EAD,
  • modified encoding,
  • updated content models

For details on how to use elements and attributes see the Tag Library and the Best Practices Guide.

History & methodology

EAC-CPF schema revision started two years after the release of EAD3 in 2015 and one year after the publication of the first draft of Records in Contexts – Conceptual Model (RiC-CM) in 2016. During the revision work not only the existing EAD3 schema but also the community’s feedback on EAD3 and the proposed new concepts for archival description in RiC-CM were taken into account.

Nonetheless, the current revision to EAC-CPF standard is based on the requirements of the SAA standards maintenance schedule and policies. For this reason, the submitted standards version will continue to be based on ISAAR(CPF) rather than the draft version of RiC-CM.

In 2010 when the first version of EAC-CPF was released, the revision process for EAD began. After the release of EAD3 in 2015 three cooperating technical subcommittees Technical Subcommittees on EAD (TS-EAD) and EAC-CPF (TS-EAC) and the Schema Development Team were consolidated into a single SAA Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Standards (TS-EAS). As TS-EAD and TS-EAC before, TS-EAS is internationally constituted. In this light a new technical subcommittee having around 20 members covering several time zones, different tongues and cultures of collaboration and backgrounds was established.

The conception and development of EAC-CPF began in 1998. A Beta distribution was achieved in 2004 and in 2010 the first full version of EAC-CPF schema was released (at this time without version numbering).

During their annual meeting 2017 in Portland, Oregon, the TS-EAS agreed to revise the standard. The revision process started with a call for proposals on this revision. Additionally, archives, aggregators and projects started to implement EAC-CPF and addressed feedback since 2010. All these comments were considered by the EAC-CPF subteam of TS-EAS.

After the call for proposal was closed in December 2017, the TS-EAS decided to follow a two-tier strategy by publishing a minor, technical update of the standard in 2018 first. This would be followed by a major overhaul of the standard and a reconciliation with EAD3.

A call for comments for the updated schema and Tag Library was published in September 2018. In December this year, the updated EAC-CPF was finalized and released. This update is called EAC-CPF 2010 revised 2018 and comprised minor enhancements and a clean-up, e.g.,

  • it relaxed selected element contents and attribute values defined by regular expressions,
  • it added optional elements and attributes, and
  • it aligned elements and attributes definitions with EAD3 already, if feasible.

This update stage ensured that the new EAC-CPF schema was backwards compatible. The EAC-CPF Tag Library was updated accordingly.

The process of the major revision started immediately. The user feedback that the TS-EAC and TS-EAS received during eight years contained some comprehensive topics and touched on the basic content model like on encoding of dates, names, identifiers, entity types and relations. Also a new requirement to encode assertions within an EAC-CPF instance was addressed by the community.

The major revision method was simple but thorough and effective. Each of 91 elements and of 51 attributes of EAC-CPF 2010 schema was considered. This consideration included the comparison with shared elements and attributes in EAD3 1.1.0 and EAD3 1.1.1. This process compared not only elements and attributes with same or similar names but also the technical and the content definition of elements and attributes of both standards. With that some new elements and attributes were suggested and discussed. At the end, the revised EAC-CPF 2.0 schema contains a number of 91 elements (again) and 48 attributes.

During monthly virtual meetings or extra in-person meetings of the EAC-CPF subteams, issues, comments, and questions were discussed and decided.

As outlined above, EAC-CPF is compliant with ISAAR(CPF) and closely related to EAD3.

Whereas ISAAR(CPF) did not change at all during the standards revision, RiC-CM, designed to supersede ISAAR(CPF) at the end, was lively discussed and changed according to the first draft 0.1 of 2016. RiC-CM provides a new concept of advanced agent entities, compared with ISAAR(CPF), and this development was taken into account.

The detailed comparison of both schema definitions, EAC-CPF and EAD3, ensures a close alignment.

The revised schema definition EAC-CPF 2.0 takes the predecessor schema version EAC-CPF 2010 revised 2018 as a basis. The revised schema EAC-CPF 2.0 is not backwards compatible.

Participants of the revision process

The EAC-CPF revision was mainly developed by TS-EAS EAC-CPF subteam (alphabetical order):

Name Institution Term
Kerstin Arnold Archives Portal Europe Foundation (EU) 08/2019 – 08/2022
Erica Boudreau National Archives and Records Administration (US) 08/2017 – 08/2019
Karin Bredenberg Kommunalförbundet Sydarkivera (SE) (until 2019 at Riksarkivet (SE)) 08/2017 – 08/2022
Florence Clavaud Archives nationales (FR) 08/2016 – 08/2021
Mark Custer Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (US) 08/2017 – 08/2022
Marie Elia State University of New York at Buffalo, Archives (US) 08/2021 – 08/2022
Regine Heberlein Princeton University (US) 08/2017 – 08/2019
Silke Jagodzinski Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz (DE) (until 2020 Bundesarchiv (DE)) 08/2017 – 08/2022
Clint Johnson Contributor (US) 08/2019 – 01/2020
Iris Lee American Museum of Natural History Library (US) 08/2020 – 08/2022
Gerhard Müller Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz (DE) 08/2017 – 09/2021
Caitlin Rizzo Eberly Family Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University (US) 08/2019 – 08/2020
Aaron Rubinstein University of Massachusetts Amherst Library (US) 08/2017 – 08/2019
Sara Schliep Folger Shakespeare Library (US) 08/2020 – 08/2021
Ailie Smith The University of Melbourne (AU) 08/2018 – 08/2022
Anna-Maria Underhill Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz (DE) 10/2021 – 08/2022
Wim van Dongen PICTURAE (NL) 08/2017 – 04/2021
Katherine M. Wisser School of Library and Information Science, Simmons University (US) 08/2017 – 08/2019

A big thanks goes to all participants and also to their affiliated institutions who made it possible to attend virtual and in-person meetings. During the EAC-CPF revision two resp. three additional full-day in-person meetings were held, partly with other TS-EAS members:

  1. In context of the Joint Annual Meeting of CoSA and SAA, August 1, 2019 in Austin
  2. EAC-CPF revision meeting, March, 9 – 12, 2020 in Berlin with Cory Nimer, Brigham Young University (US), Joost von Koutrik, Het Utrechts Archief (NL), Regine Heberlein, Princeton University (US)
  3. In context of the Virtual Joint Annual Meeting of CoSA and SAA, 27 – 31 July 2020 (planned in Chicago) with Alexander Duree, New York Public Library (US) and Eric Sonnenberg, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University (US).

A general thank you goes to people who were not actively involved in the revision process but brought inspiration to this project.

Webinars, presentations and material

Webinar: Introducing revisions to the Encoded Archival Context – Corporate bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF) standard (April 2021) at SAA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXZF5b2jHV8