After reviewing the new edition of the RLG EAD guidelines, I've been
reconsidering a decision I made when planning how our <controlaccess> fields
should be encoded. The RLG guidelines, like many I looked at when coming up
with our template, recommend encoding 651 MARC fields as <geogname> elements
in the high-level <controlaccess>, but I feel that in most situations
<subject> is more appropriate.
I may be splitting hairs, but I have reservations about encoding 651 fields
in <geogname>. As the tag library states, <geogname> encodes "the proper
noun designation for a place..." If the value of a 651 field was simply
"United States," I would encode it in <geogname>, but it is very rare that
our MARC records would have such a general 651 field. In the case of
"United States |x History |y Civil War, 1861-1865 |x Personal narrative."
isn't that more accurately called a subject?
Does anyone consider it bad EAD form to encode 651 fields as
<subject encodinganalog="651">United States--History--Civil War,
1861-1865--Personal narratives.</subject>, rather than as
<geogname encodinganalog="651">United States--History--Civil War,
1861-1865--Personal narratives.</geogname> ?
Thanks for the feedback,
Michael Rush - Manuscript Processor
Massachusetts Historical Society
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