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Working with Calames

Cataloguing using the EAD format

The Encoded Archival Description Document Type Definition (EAD DTD ) is the cataloguing format used in Calames. This format is based on XML syntax but the Calames cataloguing interface is structured so that users don’t need to be XML experts.

To work with Calames, previous training in EAD is essential. ABES runs annual training courses in using the cataloguing tool but not in EAD.

Knowledge of the techniques used to archive holdings and of the EAD format are necessary for those wishing to work on Calames but mastery of the XML language is not required thanks for the graphic interface. ABES provides an annual training course in using the cataloguing tool to prepare users before they actually start work on the application.

The Calames working group has produced and updated a Cataloguing manual in compliance with the recommendations of the National Guide of best EAD practices in Libraries. Network members can obtain this manual from ABES

A shared tool

The member institutions of the Calames network produce and publish their listings of manuscripts and archives in the central database using a shared online interface (via Internet Explorer) which enables all cataloguers to work on their institutions’ files and also view EAD entries created by other libraries (RCRs, library reference numbers).

The Calames cataloguing tool is based on a web plug-in from the XML XMetal web editor which ABES has enhanced to correspond to the network’s requirements. Extra features have been developed to ensure the coherency of the catalogue (closed lists of attribute-values), standardise index entries using Sudoc authority files (IdRef application), export data in varied formats, check EAD files and so forth.

The workload required for an institution to include its catalogue on Calames depends mainly on the types and volume of documents in the collection, as well as the depth of document description the user requires. A user taking part in the Calames network is not required to provide a given quantity of data. However users are recommended to work on Calames on a regular basis to retain the knowledge acquired through training sessions. Producing data for Calames takes time and users should also note that increased internet visibility for their collections may also increase the amount of requests for information or copies and so forth and the corresponding workload.

XMetal Licences

Each member institution will receive an Calames RCR library reference number, corresponding to one or more login(s) to enable its user(s) to access the online application and activate the license.

Licenses are not linked to particular workstations. The number of workstations depends on how many simultaneous accesses the institution requires and should be declared in the Calamesconvention between the institution and ABES.

Users will be billed for the supply of the cataloguing interface. The prices are calculated according to the amortization of the prices of XMetal licences. There are three pricing categories –  see price list

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