Cheshire for Archives provides a highly functional database EAD encoded archival finding aids. It includes a number of sophisticated searching options, customizable display of records, as well as tools to manage the database via a web browser.

New & Improved:
  • 3.5.2 - Administrator statistics improvements.
  • 3.5.1 - More intuitive date searching.
  • 3.5.1 - EAD Editor refinements: consistent DAO ordering, new separated material field, save your record prompt (FF and IE).
  • Streamlined user journey to record displays (live browse preview and auto loading for single hits.)


Search : The Search tool is simple to use, yet allows advanced users to build complex queries with multiple terms in multiple indexes. Boolean search logic, phrase searching, and wildcards are all supported, as is highlighting of your search term in record displays wherever possible.

Browse : Indexes of titles, subject, names, reference numbers etc. can be browsed alphabetically from the Browse Indexes page .

Find subjects : The system also provides a way to discover relevant subjects within controlled vocabularies based on free text that you enter (known as an ELV). This tool is available on the Find Subjects page .

For full details on the search features and how to use them, please see the Help page.


The database of EAD finding aids can be administered via a web-browser in the authenticated administration interface. This provides a multi-user environment for previewing, adding and removing files. The database can be rebuilt to allow for bacth addition or deletion of files. You can also view a page summarizing a number of statistics relating to how your catalogue is being used, and which entries are most popular. The database of users authorized to access the administration section can also be managed within it.

Create and Edit

In version 3.4 we added a data creation and editing interface - our EAD Editor. Based loosely on the original Archives Hub data creation template, this enables the creation of new catalogue entries from scratch without worrying about schemas or DTDs. The biggest change from the old template is the ability to build up multiple levels of description without needing to copy and paste into a text editor. The system will even save your work as you go along, allowing you to create entries over a number of days or even weeks. You can preview your EAD file as it will appear when displayed to users, or check the raw XML markup, at any time. Once you're finished editing you can export your record to a file, and (optionally) submit them for immediate inclusion in the database.

It's also possible to load existing files into the interface for further editing. File can either be loaded from the current database, or uploaded from your local hard-disk. This makes minor corrections, for things such as spelling mistakes, missing, or incorrect controlled access terms a quick and simple task. Again, once your edits are complete you can export them to a file and (optionally) immediately replace an existing entry in the database.


As well as a human useable web-interface for searching, it also exposes records in the database via web service APIs.

Cheshire for Archives currently provides the following International Standards:
Webservices / Protocol Link to Standard's Homepage Location of service on this server
SRU Search/Retrieve via URL http:///services/ead
OAI-PMH The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting http:///OAI/2.0/ead
Z39.50 Z39.50 International Standard Maintenance Agency z3950://:210/ead

Cheshire for Archives is an application of the open source Cheshire3 Information Framework , both developed at the University of Liverpool. Cheshire for Archives was developed as part of the Archives Hub project. The support of the JISC is gratefully acknowledged.