<ead> Encoded Archival Description

<ead> is the outermost wrapper element for an EAD-encoded finding aid. As a wrapper element, it doesn’t contain any text of its own. A second Document Type Definition (DTD) called EAD Group can be used to bundle <ead> finding aids for different parts of a collection which require separate finding aids. The <eadgrp> element description will explain further.


  • ALTRENDER – not required. Use if the content of the element should be displayed or printed differently than the rendering established in a style sheet for other occurrences of the element.
  • AUDIENCE – not required. Use to set whether the element’s contents will be visible to external users or to internal ones. Possible values are: “internal” and “external.”
  • ID – not required. Creates an ID for element. Can be used for linking.
  • RELATEDENCODING – not required. This attribute can be used to denote the descriptive encoding system to which certain EAD elements can be mapped using the ENCODINGANALOG attribute. It can be set in <ead>, <eadheader>, and <archdesc>. Setting it at a lower level than <ead> allows one to map different sections to different encoding systems.


<ead> must contain <eadheader> (required), <frontmatter> (optional), and <archdesc> (required) in that specific order.


The basic layout, if one chooses to use the <frontmatter> element is:


EAD tag library entry for <ead>.