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EAD  March 2012

EAD March 2012

Subject:

Re: dates wrapped in title field in box list

From:

Jane Stevenson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 07:25:47 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (289 lines)

HI Mark,

I think a title should always be supplied. There are rules...and then there is what is sensible on the Web. If there is no title, then searches outside of the context of the collection might just throw up dates. We shouldn't only think about our context, but other possible contexts for the data. 

I've found that when we've tried to really think about what can be inherited at lower levels, its less than we thought. I just think that rules still seem to be based on the old paper-based perspective, where the description of components is always within the context of the collection. 

cheers,
Jane.



On 28 Mar 2012, at 01:44, Mark Carlson wrote:

> I don't think anyone would argue that encoding dates in a separate <unitdate> element is not a good idea.  My point was that in this one instance, within the description of subordinate components, when you have a redundant title that you don't wish to repeat, how should one handle or account for the lack of a <unitittle> at the component level?  If the <unitittle> is lacking, does that automatically mean that we are to assume that it is to be inferred from its parent? (Nothing/lack of something means something). Or did someone just make a mistake?  Can a sole <unitdate> within a component lend enough context?  What if we choose to digitize a portion of this component?  The only contextual data we have is a date.  What if we want to re-purpose the data?  How do we map the title?  (Of course, we would have to grab the parent title by assuming the lack of a <unittitle> means to do so).  And, as Michael pointed out in his example, we are to assume the title "Correspondence" is there but just not repeated.  The only reason I bring this up is because we made the mistake, early on, of assuming a lack of something had some sort of "default" meaning.      That caused problems down the road.  This is why we always require <unittitle> at the component level and if one does not wish to repeat it, we place <unitdate> inside an empty <unittitle>, NOT to mean that the dates are to be treated as titles, but that the title is to be inferred from its parent (i.e. An empty <unittitle> with <unitdate> inside has a meaning because of what IS encoded not what is left out) and to avoid an empty <untititle> on its own (which my scripts would strip out).  
> 
> In other words:
> 
> <unittitle>Correspondence</unittitle>
> <unitdate>1945-1949</unitdate>
> 
> can also be encoded as:
> 
> <unittitle>[Correspondence inferred]<unitdate>1945-1949</unitdate></unittitle>
> 
> <unittitle>[Correspondence inferred]</unittitle> <-- Empty element
> <unitdate>1945-1949</unitdate>
> 
> I guess my ultimate point is that nothing should be inferred from the lack of something which could just be the result of poor encoding or a mistake.  It's best to state (or encode) exactly what something means.  But, I'm in the minority, I know.
> 
> Mark
> 
> On 3/27/2012 12:17 AM, Jane Stevenson wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> 
>> 
>>> 4.  Encoding dates as parts of titles in EAD is not desirable. 
>>> 
>> I agree with Michael on this. At the Archives Hub we don't do the cataloguing ourselves, but we do provide tools for cataloguing, and training in how to catalogue.  As far as I'm concerned the data is a separate entity from the title. This is not about display, as it is possible to display the title and date how you wish, but it is about what is semantically correct. 
>> 
>> If we did think of the date as part of the title, we would have some confusing titles, as some contributors just use a creator name as the title, e.g. 
>> http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb0096ms.243
>>  - the title given is just 'Rastrick, Henry', which isn't ideal, but we can't control the way people create titles. Adding the dates as an integral part of this would be confusing because it would not be clear what the dates refer to. 
>> 
>> Unfortunately, we do have some descriptions where the life dates have been given in the title, which is not ideal, eg. 
>> http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb50dhl
>>  is 'PAPERS OF J HENRY LLOYD (1883 - ?1966)' This points to one good reason to keep all dates separate and then apply styling to display them appropriately. 
>> 
>> It seems to me that keeping parts of the finding aid as discreet entities is more likely to be appropriate for potential future developments, and following consistent practice will help us with data exchange.
>> 
>> cheers,
>> Jane.
>> 
>> Jane Stevenson
>> The Archives Hub
>> Mimas, The University of Manchester
>> Devonshire House, Oxford Road
>> Manchester M13 9QH
>> 
>> 
>> email:[log in to unmask]
>> 
>> tel: 0161 275 6055
>> website: archiveshub.ac.uk
>> blog: archiveshub.ac.uk/blog
>> twitter: twitter.com/archiveshub
>> 
>> 
>> On 26 Mar 2012, at 22:11, Michael Fox wrote:
>> 
>> 
>>> Several interesting points have been raised in this discussion that bear a more extended consideration.
>>> 
>>> 1.  In descriptive practice, we are guided by two types of standards.
>>> 
>>> 	 Descriptive rules that define the elements to be recorded and the accompanying thesauri and authority files that specify how we populate certain elements.  In a US context these are ISAD(G) and DACS.
>>> 	 Electronic communication standards for data interchange.   Again, in a US context these are MARC and EAD.
>>> The answer to the question as to whether the dates of archival materials are part of the title of those records or completely separate is the business of the descriptive rules, not our communication standards.   MARC and EAD are not normative in this case.  EAD was written to enable a wide range of international practice, created according to different conventions including national standards and local ad hoc practices that exist either because of institutional preference or a lack of national standards.   It is not the place one ought to go for direction on this question.
>>> 
>>> 2.   Our practices confuse the issue at stake.
>>> 
>>> One encounters many finding aids that look like this.
>>> 
>>> Example A:
>>> 
>>> Correspondence
>>>      1919-1925
>>>      1926-1950
>>>      1951-1965
>>> 
>>> What is really meant here is 
>>> 
>>> Example B:
>>> 
>>> Correspondence
>>>           Correspondence, 1919-1925
>>>           Correspondence, 1926-1950
>>>           Correspondence, 1951-1965
>>> 
>>> In example A, the dates given for the contents of these three files are the dates and not the title proper of the material being described, even if one considers the date to be a segment of the title.
>>> 
>>> DACS countenances this through the long-standing principle of non-repetition in multi-level description that is expressed in Principle 7.3.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Non-repetition can be a useful concept.  After all, who would wish to repeat the name of the repository at  every level of description?   However, it can also be confusing and is troubling for the future. 
>>> 
>>> The non-repetition of the title proper in Example A is really a holdover from the days when we considered a finding aid to be a narrative description of the collection to be read serially on typed pages rather than as data the describes units of archival materials.  
>>> 
>>> An early question in this thread was whether or nor the nesting of unitdate within unittitle would be confusing to databases.  I don't think that relational databases are the cause of the problem but rather that they expose  the priority that we have given to presentation on the printed page, rather than taking a more data-centric view of the  information we record.   Is this where we want to be?
>>> 
>>> 3.   Is the date then, looking at descriptive rules, a segment of the title element or something completely separate and independent?
>>> 
>>> a.    As has been pointed out, this appears to be strictly a US problem.  Or more properly, a problem for some US institutions.  No other cataloging practice with which I am familiar treats unit dates as anything but a separate element.
>>> 
>>> b.  ISAD(G) treats it as separate.
>>> 
>>> c.  DACS treats it as separate element.  It identifies three possible segments that might be included in a title.    Date is not one of them.  In discussions at the time DACS was being drafted, the authors were very clear that dates were not a part of the title element.
>>> 
>>> This is reenforced in the Introduction to Describing Archival Materials (p. 3) by the statement that data elements are mutually exclusive.   They can go in one place or the other.
>>> 
>>> d.  The practice of including dates as a segment of the title in MARC comes from APPM which in turn reflected in some examples an older manuscript cataloging practice for constructing title.  Consider this example of a title from the first edition.
>>> 
>>> ALS, [ca. 1898 Jan. 1], Worcester Park Surrey to George Gissing, Rome.
>>> 
>>> But even then in 1983, this practice was clearly antique and inconsistent with newer formats for constructing titles
>>> 
>>> 4.  Encoding dates as parts of titles in EAD is not desirable.   For a standard created to facilitate the international exchange of data,  having most archivists worldwide following one practice and some in the US another only confounds interchange and complicates training and implementation.
>>> 
>>> 5.   An archival description that treats unitdates as part of the unittitle is simply not DACS compliant.
>>> 
>>> Michael Fox
>>> 
>>> On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM, Prom, Christopher John 
>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>  wrote:
>>> Cory,
>>> 
>>> Thanks for laying this out in such detail.  I just wanted to point out that although Archon currently wraps unitdate w/in unittitle, I actually think it best if in were NOT wrapped, in compliance w/ ISAD(G) and DACS.  I didn't give much thought to it at the time we programmed the first EAD export in Archon, and we haven't reviewed this coding since the original development of the application. Moving it outside would be a trivial matter, and I'll take care of that in one of our next maintenance updates.
>>> 
>>> Thanks,
>>> 
>>> Chris
>>> 
>>> --
>>> 
>>> Christopher J. Prom, PhD
>>> Assistant University Archivist and Associate Professor
>>> University of Illinois Archives
>>> 19 Library
>>> 1408 W. Gregory Dr.
>>> Urbana, IL 61801
>>> 
>>> 
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> 
>>> +1 217 333 0798
>>> 
>>> 
>>> http://www.library.illinois.edu/archives/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Blog: 
>>> http://e-records.chrisprom.com
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Mar 24, 2012, at 10:12 AM, Cory Nimer wrote:
>>> 
>>> While there is what you might call a growing consensus that <unitdate> should not be encoded within the <unittitle>, there is still disagreement within the community. This can be seen in comparing some of the different best practices documents, management tools, and content standards available. In the best practice guidelines listed on the EAD Help Pages:
>>> 
>>> Northwest Digital Archives -- Outside of <unittitle>
>>> "To insure compliance with ISAD(G), do not nest <unitdate> inside <unittitle>." -- Online table
>>> 
>>> Online Archive of California -- Outside of <unittitle>
>>> "The <unitdate> should be encoded outside of <unittitle>." -- p. 12
>>> 
>>> Library of Congress -- Either inside or outside of <unittitle>
>>> "Following/within <unittitle> and before <unitid> in Collection Summary." -- Online table
>>> 
>>> RLG Best Practice Guidelines -- Either inside or outside of <unittitle>
>>> "US repositories following APPM practice normally include <unitdate> as part of <unittitle>, whereas British and Canadian practice, following ISAD(G)v2 use <unitdate> at the same level as <unittitle>. Given the likelihood of further international standardization, separate title and date is preferred but both practices are permitted. Repeat <unitdate> if both inclusive and bulk dates are given. This element is considered an essential element for data exchange by ISAD(G)v2." -- p. 12
>>> 
>>> NCEAD Best Practice Guidelines -- Inside of <unittitle>
>>> "Always place the date within a <unittitle>, as the date is part of the title of the unit as well as a date." -- p. 40
>>> 
>>> There is also some variety in date handling between the different community-developed archival management systems:
>>> 
>>> Archivists' Toolkit -- Outside of <unittitle>
>>> ICA-AtoM -- Outside of <unittitle>
>>> Archon -- Inside <unittitle>
>>> 
>>> In terms of content standards, because of DACS's foundations in ISAD(G) date is clearly a separate element from the title. While this might be an argument for not wrapping the <unitdate> in <unittitle>, the examples provided in the text include instances of both including <unitdate> in <unittitle> and keeping it separate. The understanding that <unitdate> should be wrapped in <unittitle> is reinforced, I think, by the long-term practice of including dates as part of the title in MARC, as established in APPM. All but one of the MARC examples in DACS are marked up in this fashion. However, it is worth noting that the MARC mapping provided in RDA no longer places dates of production of archival materials in the 245$f, but in the 260$c. In order to make this clearer in MARC, the 264 field was also recently approved to make the role of the date entry clearer.
>>> 
>>> Ultimately, this might be considered to be a legacy practice, but one that is still widely implemented. Perhaps this is something that the current EAD and DACS revisions will clarify for the community. In the meantime, I personally believe that the RLG Guidelines are correct that it is preferable to keep <unitdate> outside of <unittitle>.
>>> 
>>> Cory Nimer
>>> Manuscripts Cataloger/Metadata Specialist
>>> Brigham Young University
>>> 801-422-6091
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: Encoded Archival Description List [
>>> [log in to unmask]] on behalf of Elizabeth H Dow [[log in to unmask]
>>> ]
>>> Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:07 AM
>>> To: 
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> 
>>> Subject: Re: dates wrapped in title field in box list
>>> 
>>> Where to place <unitdate> raises the question of whether a date a is an integral part of a name/title, as it is in MARC, or if it's a separate data element on its own. About 12-15 years ago, the question was a point of disagreement between the US and UK EAD communities. Both are legal in EAD; has a general consensus appeared about which is the better way to look at dates?
>>> 
>>>  Wiz
>>> 
>>> Elizabeth H. Dow, PhD.
>>> Professor
>>> School of Library and Information Science
>>> Louisiana State University
>>> 
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: Encoded Archival Description List [
>>> [log in to unmask]] on behalf of MicheleR [[log in to unmask]
>>> ]
>>> Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 7:29 PM
>>> To: 
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> 
>>> Subject: Re: dates wrapped in title field in box list
>>> 
>>> We do this all the time.  Instead of <date> though you'd want to use <unitdate>.
>>>  The <date> element is just for any old date info, including embedded in
>>> narrative text, whereas <unitdate> is specifically for the date(s) of the
>>> archival unit being described -- see
>>> 
>>> http://www.loc.gov/ead/tglib/elements/unitdate.html
>>>  .
>>> 
>>> So like this:
>>> 
>>> <unittitle><unitdate normal="1980/1985">1980-1985</unitdate></unittitle>
>>> 
>>> I have no idea whether it would cause problems, or what sort, in a database
>>> (depends on how the database is set up, I guess?) but in terms of EAD it's
>>> perfectly legal and logical.  It doesn't affect searching for us because we
>>> index and search the EAD directly.
>>> 
>>> Michele
>>> 
>>> On 3/23/2012 5:42 PM, Ashley Knox wrote:
>>> 
>>>> What is the consensus on date fields being wrapped inside of title fields,
>>>> especially when the title of a folder IS a date? (specifically in a container list)
>>>> 
>>>> <unittitle> Bills and Receipts,
>>>> <date normal="1850/1859" type="inclusive">1850-1859</date>
>>>> </unittitle>
>>>> 
>>>> or
>>>> 
>>>> <unittitle>
>>>> <date calendar="gregorian" normal="1980/1985" era="ce">1980-1985</date>
>>>> </unittitle>
>>>> 
>>>> All of this being related to the effect on searching in a database (built in a
>>>> mysql database). I've been told that this will hinder searching and that it
>>>> needs to change, that title and date need to separate into their own respective
>>>> fields. I'm working in AT. Would I just not have folder titles, but dates instead?
>>>> 
>>>> I would love to hear opinions on the pros and cons of mysql databases vs. xslt
>>>> styling as well, if anyone would like to comment.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks for any and all comments!
>>>> 
>>>> Ashley Knox
>>>> Project Manager
>>>> USC Digital Collections
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> ***************************
>>> America may be unique in being a country
>>>  which has leapt from barbarism to decadence
>>> without touching civilization.
>>> -- John O'Hara
>>> ***************************
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -- 
>>> Michael Fox
>>> 

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