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2009 MARCH–APRIL No. 367
April 17, 2009 [posted]

NLM® History of Medicine Division (HMD) Releases New Finding Aids Search Platform

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T he Archives and Modern Manuscripts Program at HMD, National Library of Medicine® (NLM) announced the release of a new finding aids search and delivery platform based on the University of Michigan's DLXS (Digital Library Extension Service) software in November 2008.

For the first time, users can search and browse the content of over 190 existing EAD (Encoded Archival Description) encoded collection guides. HMD will soon be adding over 300 EADs describing all of its manuscript holdings have been added, many of which were never described before beyond their catalog records.

The EAD Web site provides this definition for EAD: "Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is a data structure standard for preserving the hierarchy and designating the content of descriptive guides to archival holdings. It enables Internet delivery of these guides and also ensures their permanence by providing a stable, non-proprietary data storage environment from which data can be transferred to other software environments as necessary. In technical terms, EAD comprises a Document Type Definition (DTD) for encoding archival finding aids that is written following the syntactic rules of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML)."1

Users can perform basic and advanced Boolean searches limited by:

These search features are available both across the entire set of finding aids and within each individual guide. Additional features include a save to Bookbag option with an E-mail function. Finding Aids Help is also available online. Users should note that some of these features are dependent on your session cache, which by Federal Government privacy rules are emptied once you exit the application. Look for more DLXS content beyond EAD in the near future!

For more information, please contact John P. Rees, Curator, Archives and Modern Manuscripts Program, at

1 EAD Working Group. Guidelines for Version 1.0. Encoded archival description (EAD) document type definition (DTD). Version 1.0. Chicago (IL): Society of American Archivists; c1999. (Technical document; no. 3). Available from:

NLM® History of Medicine Division (HMD) Releases New Finding Aids Search Platform. NLM Tech Bull. 2009 Mar-Apr;(367):e15.

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