Work on what was formerly known as the UC-EAD (Encoded Archival Description) Project, now known as the Online Archive of California (OAC) Project, began in October 1996.  The goal of the project is to convert to machine-readable form and make available in a union database the finding aids to the archival collections of UC and affiliate institutions. Current funding will underwrite project costs through September 1998, with additional funding being solicited for another year’s work thereafter.

Between October 1996 and January 1997, project participants developed a work flow plan, agreed upon “best practices,” ordered and installed equipment and software, and hired and trained six project staff, including a Finding Aid Conversion Specialist and five Electronic Publishing Assistants.  Finding aid conversion began in February 1997, with four UC campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, and San Diego) converting their own material and the other five campuses sending theirs to Berkeley for conversion.

Initially, the project concentrated exclusively on converting UC finding aid content.  Since October 1997, however, when LSTA funding for the project went into effect (and when the name of the initiative was changed from UC-EAD to OAC), the project has focused increased attention on conversion of finding aids from affiliate participants.  There are currently about a dozen such affiliates, including three CSU campuses (Chico, Dominguez Hills, and Humboldt), a variety of private universities and libraries (e.g., Stanford and Huntington), the State Library and Historical Society, and others.

Through the end of April 1998, 1,800 finding aids have been converted to machine-readable form, representing over 40,000 pages of data from more than 20 project participants statewide.  The OAC web site, which is to be a prominently featured component of the first release of the CDL’s own web presence, can be accessed at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/findingaids/dynaweb.