A number of years ago, a group of archivists in New York formed a working group to explore the idea of a finding aid aggregation that could bring together New York’s vast and varied archival, special and historical collections and make them more discoverable.
Results of a survey they conducted showed strong interest in a state-wide aggregation among NY repositories of all types and sizes. The survey results also highlighted the barriers to creating the structured, machine-readable archival descriptions that would be needed to provide the best end-user experience in a large aggregation. This group of archivists approached the Empire State Library Network (ESLN) with their idea, their survey data and two guiding principles: data in the system should be structured/machine-readable and any type or size of repository should be able to participate.
ESLN has been working with the archival community ever since to achieve our shared vision of building a usable and sustainable platform and service for sharing archival descriptions that meets both contributor and user needs.
EmpireADC benefits researchers seeking resources held by repositories across the state. Small and medium-sized archives benefit from a collaborative project that allows them to create and provide access to standardized finding aids without the need for local technology solutions and support. Larger organizations can participate in a data aggregation project, which may facilitate contributions to larger national or global efforts.