I couldn't agree more with the observation about the inappropriateness of making distinctions and using terminology that are significant largely to professionals.
Elizabeth's situation seems parallel to ours here at the Minnesota Historical Society where our search interface allows an undifferentiated search across multiple data stores of highly structured metadata (in specific MARC and EAD elements), indexes to various primary sources (birth, death, veterans records) that are structured by not subject to any form of authority control or in a standardized format, and the completely unstructured text of other sources (journals, newspapers, finding aids).
The display of the results of a search across all these data stores under the broad heading of People provides a form of faceted presentation, that is by source of the materials: so many hits were found in the library catalog, so many in finding aids, so many in vital records, so many on the Society's web site generally, etc.
If I understand correctly, Elizabeth's question is how to categorize or describe each of those data sources to the user who may not understand the nature of the information contained therein simply by naming the genre of the source. Researchers generally understand what type of materials and what type of information about them is found in the library catalog; many will know what data is apt to be recorded in a birth record.
But what information is found in a finding aid or an EAC record? What the heck is EAC anyway? What labels can we put on these less well known information sources to help the user make a quick decision to check them out or not.
I wonder what the public might best make use of and understand- finding aid, guide, or inventory?
Are not EAC records really just another source of biographical or administrative data (ignoring the business of preferred and authorized forms of name, the subtleties of which are insider baseball to most users who will quickly perceive them to be just variant name forms)? Does it matter who created this information and how, at least as a primary point of access? Does the public care where the information in the library catalog entry came from?
Could some community consensus on this question generate a consistent application of terms to the overall benefit of our users? Or will a thousand variants continue to flourish in our archival tower of Babel?
From: Encoded Archival Description List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michele R Combs
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 8:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: EAC and labels
What is the nature of the distinction you want to make between the two types of information? If it is based on the origin of the information -- derived from collection material/archival records vs. created by archival staff -- then a statement of "Source: xxx" in the record should suffice. If it is based on the completeness of a record, then again, a note in the record "Information derived from collection materials and therefore incomplete."
What is the point at which you wish to make this distinction? If you have a list of names and you want to denote the two types BEFORE a user clicks on a name to perform a search, an asterisk could indicate "derived from collection material/archival records." If you are displaying the names within an EAD record and you want to visually indicate which names in the <controlaccess> section have a linked EAC record (or were pulled in from an EAC record) and which were simply inserted by archival staff, you could display them in two different colors.
But really, from the researcher's perspective, does it matter whether the name came from an index or from an EAC record? If not, then why confuse them by artificial divisions that may matter only to archival staff? What is the benefit?
From: Encoded Archival Description List [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Elizabeth Perkes [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 7:45 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: EAC and labels
My concern is that on our website, we have the ability to search names that have been indexed from records, such as death certificates, which is a different thing than an EAC record. I'm trying to distinguish between the two for people who are doing advanced faceted searching.
Electronic Records Archivist
Utah State Archives
346 South Rio Grande
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1106
[log in to unmask]
The State Archives' hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and closed on Friday. Please make a note of these hours.
>>> "Fox, Michael" <[log in to unmask]> 5/25/11 12:16 PM >>>
Why not just say "name"? The reader can tell at a glance what type of
name it is, should they care to make such a distinction.
Conveying the entity's role- agent, author, whatever is anithe
matter Names exist in the EAC context independantly of particular
roles which is a concept that only makes sense in the context of the
entity's relationship to a particular function or body of records Of
course in EAD, all the name elements have a ROLE attribute to specify
the relationship between the named entity and the records.
On May 24, 2011, at 11:49 PM, "BRIAN TINGLE" <[log in to unmask]
> In an EAC prototype I'm developing an interface for  as part of
> a research project I tried to keep the labels matching the EAC
> terminology, giving the benefit of the doubt to the work that was
> done to come up with those terms by the schema developers until it
> proves confusing for users.
> Using that logic, I would go with "identity" or maybe "name entry"
> after the eac element names -- but I din't actually use those words
> as labels for anything in the SNAC prototype design. I do have
> "authorized form of name" show when you hold the mouse over the name
> on the identity record page; and in the browse I call them "Names",
> "Person Names", "Corporate Body Names", and "Family Names" depending
> on the entityType limit.
>  http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/search
> On May 24, 2011, at 5:34 PM, Elizabeth Perkes wrote:
>> Is there a consensus yet about how to label a corporate, personal,
>> or family name in a way that makes sense to both archivists and
>> users? Since we are a government office collecting government
>> records, traditionally we just call these names "agencies." The EAC
>> standard uses the term "agent" and "entity." To me, "agent" sounds
>> like somebody from the CIA or FBI. We've relabeled fields in our
>> database to call them "entities" since if we add all the contextual
>> information possible, we very well could have people or even a
>> First Family recorded in this file. I don't know if a researcher
>> would know what an "entity" was if asked to do a keyword search on
>> such a field, although search results that display "creating
>> entity" might help. For them, the term "record creator" or "author"
>> might be best understood, but EAC allows for entry of people or
>> corporations that did not directly create the records, even though
>> they may provide some context into that creation. Using "Corporate,
>> Personal, or Family name" usually takes up too much space on screen
>> for archival data entry, and researchers might confuse that search
>> box with the name of the person they are researching, instead of
>> the entity that created the records. Using just "name" is even more
>> generic. What would you label these things?
>> Elizabeth Perkes
>> Electronic Records Archivist
>> Utah State Archives
>> 346 South Rio Grande
>> Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1106
>> [log in to unmask]
>> The State Archives' hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 7:00
>> a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and closed on Friday. Please make a note of these