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OASIS: The 1,000th Finding Aid

OASIS—or the Online Archival Search Information System—is Harvard's catalog of finding aids for archival and manuscript collections. On January 24, OASIS reached a milestone with the launch of its 1,000th finding aid, which is a guide to the papers of Quaker abolitionist Edward Morris Davis at Houghton Library (

The number of finding aids accessible through OASIS has increased dramatically in the past year, thanks in large part to retrospective conversion projects at Houghton and Schlesinger libraries that were funded by Harvard's Library Digital Initiative. OASIS began its life in 1995 with the Digital Finding Aids Project. A group of archivists, assisted by the University Library's Office for Information Systems (OIS), participated in the development and testing of what has now become an international standard, the Encoded Archival Description (EAD). EAD uses Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) or Extensible Markup Language (XML) to index and display finding aids.

Any Harvard archive or library can contribute to OASIS. For more information about OASIS, including information on how to join, see the OASIS help site at or contact Leslie Morris, chair of the OASIS Steering Committee, at 5-2449 or

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 19, 2003.