EAD stands for "Encoded Archival Description."

EAD is a standardized scheme used for encoding finding aids and catalogs of manuscript or book collections. Initially based on Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), it is also compliant with Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The EAD's official standard DTD defines the different elements that can be used for encoding information describing the different items in a given collection.

The Whitman Archive uses EAD for the encoding of the online finding aids to all the repositories currently known to hold poetry manuscripts by Whitman. The main difference between the EAD standard and the XML standard the Archive normally uses for the encoding of Whitman's works is in the way that information is tagged and in the kinds of tags used.

Here is a sample from the finding aid to the Charles E. Feinberg collection at the Library of Congress:

    <c03 level="item">
    <container type="box">20</container>
        <container type="folder">Democratic Vistas. Manuscript Draft. Original Draft.</container>
        <unitid type="WWA">loc.00144</unitid>
        <unitid type="work">xxx.00524</unitid>
        <title render="doublequote">[To What You Said]</title>
        <unitdate normal="1855/1865">about 1860</unitdate>
	    <extent unit="leaves">1 leaf</extent>
	    <extptr linktype="simple" href="http://www.whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/figures/loc.00144.001.jpg"/>
	    <extptr linktype="simple" href="http://www.whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/figures/loc.00144.002.jpg"/>
         <p>Cancelled draft written in pencil on the verso of page 30 (Whitman's numbering) of a sixty-three page rough draft of <title render="italic">Democratic Vistas</title>. <title render="doublequote">[To What You Said]</title> bears a strong relationship to the <title render="doublequote">Calamus</title> poems that were composed between <date normal="1857/1860">1857-1860</date>.</p>