Finding Guides in SobekCM

SobekCM – the system powering the UF Digital Collections, the Digital Library of the Caribbean, and many other rich collections – will soon have advanced support for finding guides in EAD. This has been in process as a complete solution for the full workflow and it’s nearing completion. Check out the EADs we’re testing with here.
The benefits from fully supporting EAD within the same digital library system supporting digital objects is enormous:

  • Finding guides can be displayed, searched, and used within the same system as the digital objects they reference (increases usability from consistent navigation, ease of searching a single system, additional benefits from any applicable system enhancements)
  • Finding guides benefit from existing automation. For SobekCM this includes the automatic creation of MARC records from the EADs and the automatic record feed of MARC records into the library catalog.

SobekCM’s support for EADs has been enabled through programming by Mark Sullivan. The programming created an EAD reader for importing the data into the standard SobekCM digital resource object and then reading the description and container list and importing as much information as possible into the digital resource object. Sections in the EAD are autodetected to create the table of contents.
With the support for importing, SobekCM supports the EADs as digital resources that can be searched for within the digital collections. When a user selects any digital resource to view in SobekCM, the METS file is read.  This provides some basic information like wordmarks and the type of digital resource it is. If the digital resource is a finding guide (defined by being Archival/collection and having an EAD listed as one of the downloads ) the EAD is then read into the SobekCM digital resource object.  While the container list will be read identically, the top portion of the EAD is pulled into the display and stored as one large block of text/xml with the XSL transform applied to display the description.
The auto-created table of contents is a bit different from any of the existing table of contents because it floats to the left constantly (scrolling down, it floats down to stay onscreen at all times), and this is needed for reading longer HTML-style documents that have a lot of scrolling, as opposed to our normal page-turner model.
When EAD results show after a search, the search terms are highlighted. This is still being refined, but it’s active in test already and will soon be fully active. After that, the final steps are for handling the container list.
To see it in test (which will only be active for awhile, since this will soon be live):