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Yesterday I was in Oxford with the Archives Hub’s Jane Stevenson, giving some training on EAD and the Hub’s new EAD Editor to Oxford University staff. This was only my second visit to Oxford, and I was really pleased that we had some time to wander around the city. I took quite a few photos that have mainly (due to me and my phone camera both being a bit shoddy) came out in sillhouette, but they’re quite nice silhouettes, so that’s all ok 🙂

Christ Church

One of the more successful photos, of Christ Church

The training itself was at the Osney One building, out at Osney Mead, and overlooking the (slighly swollen) Isis, and the spring sunshine encouraged us to take all our breaks on the balcony, where I spotted 2 moor-hens and 4 ducks. This pleased me greatly – as people no doubt noticed when I interrupted converstaions to shout ‘ooh! duck!’.

The day started with a minor setback, as we discovered that the pcs in the teaching room were equipped with IE6, which isn’t supported by our EAD Editor. There was some discussion while the Editor was being designed about whether or not to support IE6, as we knew that excluding it might cause issues for some users. As it transpired, however, IE6 simply couldn’t support the functionality we needed, so we designed for more recent browsers only.

This caused a temporary panic, until we were reassured with promises of an additional 2 laptops, with suitable browsers. This meant 4 laptops between 8 delegates for the hands-on Editor sessions, which actually worked out very well, delegates collaborating very effectively. Jane had given a brief introduction to xml and EAD, and we got delegates to use an xml editor to creat an EAD description in the morning, before allowing them to experience the luxury of the EAD Editor 😉 We do enjoy showing the Editor off, as we’re very proud of it, and the delegates seemed impressed. Basically, it allows you to create EAD descriptions without having to know anything about tags or attributes – you enter your data in the boxes, and the Editor does the rest.

As always, I enjoyed getting out and meeting people, and we had a really nice group who were very enthusiastic, and asked lots of interesting and intelligent questions (which I frequently had to refer to Jane). One of the things that working stands and doing training sessions has done for me is to completely conquer the fear of saying ‘I don’t know’ – quite possibly because no-one has ever answered that statement with ‘Why?’. I think that might break me… But I’d much rather that people got the right information, even if it damages my reputation as an omniscient and infallible 😉

One regret? I wish I’d confronted @laurajwilkinson while I had chance, and demanded to know if she was, indeed, herself – I thought I’d recognised her from Twitter, but by the time I found out that she was who I thought she was, the delegates were arriving and my chance had passed 😦 I can confirm, however, that she is a dab hand with vga leads 🙂

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