EAD stands for Encoded Archival Description, and is a non-proprietary de facto standard for the encoding of finding aids for use in a networked (online) environment.
Finding aids are inventories, indexes, or guides that are created by archival and manuscript repositories to provide information about specific collections. While the finding aids may vary somewhat in style, their common purpose is to provide detailed description of the content and intellectual organization of collections of archival materials.
EAD allows the standardization of collection information in finidng aids within and across repositories.
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