IATH and Simmons College Receive IMLS Award for Building National Archival Authorities Infrastructure

October 20, 2011

Daniel Pitti, Co-Director of IATH, has been awarded a two-year $148,000 grant by IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) in support of Building a National Archival Authorities Infrastructure, beginning in October 2011. The project aims to promulgate community adoption and use of a recently released archival 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 work is a collaborative effort by IATH and Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Co-Project Director Kathy Wisser, Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Archives/History Dual Degree Program at Simmons, will administer a scholarship program that will award a total of 140 scholarships to seven regional Society of American Archivists workshops for archivists and librarians on the use and implementation of EAC-CPF, so as to encourage the growth of community-wide expertise.

In parallel with the workshops, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will host a meeting of leaders in the archive, library, museum, scholarly, and funding communities to explore the essential business, governance, and technological requirements for establishing a sustainable National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC). The professional community leaders and experts assembled at the meeting will address these complementary needs and take a major step towards accomplishing a long-held desire of the archival community, to develop a robust professional and technological infrastructure that can provide integrated access to and sociohistorical context for archival records. A team of twelve leading experts in administration and community-based governance of cooperative or consortial programs, and in the technological infrastructure for collaborative maintenance and publication of descriptive data, will then be appointed to develop a blueprint for NAAC, based on ideas generated in the meeting. Pitti, in collaboration with NARA, will organize the meetings.

Pitti's and Wisser's project aims to increase knowledge and use of EAC-CPF in the professional archival community, and to lay the groundwork for a national cooperative effort to provide integrated access to and context for understanding the American record. For more information, please see the more detailed description here.