For our testing purposes , we have been using the numbered <c>'s. In doing
so, we have made some assumptions about how we use them that address a
number of issues recently raised on the list. (While all three Yale
repositories are using numbered levels, the following assumptions apply
primarily to the way in which Manuscripts and Archives is approaching the
- We are only using the level attribute available in the <c>'s for "series"
and "subseries." Below that, we rarely have or identify formal
sub-subseries, treating entries in the finding aid simply as a <unittitle>.
These <unittitle>s continue to form a hierarchy embedded within enumerated
<c>'s, but without a level attribute. This reflects an earlier discussion
on the list with Alvin Pollack and Janice Ruth. Each enumerated <c> level
represents an ordered set of <unittitle>'s arranged according to a common
principle. Thus all <c03>'s might be listed alphabetically (or
chronologically) by <unittitle>.
- Within each numbered <c> level that does not have a level attribute, we
make no assumptions about what level the entry represents, and I am not sure
that it matters. They are simply entries within an hierarchical list.
Logically, I am not sure that one could identify and name all of the various
levels consistently down to the item level and if one could, I am not sure
what one gains by it. I can see a potential need to extract/index/display
or otherwise manipulate series, subseries in a particular way to the
exclusion of other levels (not sure about files or items), but the levels in
between probably represent conveniences for grouping materials, rather than
true levels. To go back to Leslie Morris's earlier (3/26) metaphor, if the
species of animal is important, define it in an attribute. I should note
that there is not complete consensus on this point here and others from Yale
may post an alternative view.
- Steven Mandeville-Gamble's suggestion, seconded by Kim Brookes, that a
"container" attribute be added to the <c>'s mixes logical and physical
groupings. "Box" and "folder" are not hierarchically subordinate to
sub-series or to any other of the values for the (logical) level attribute
in <c>. The design of many of our finding aids, with the container numbers
on the left as though they were the organizing principle for the collection
or record unit, reinforces this confusion. Once you get beyond series and
subseries, the organizing principle (whether alpha, chron, or some other) is
really - except for unprocessed materials without any order other than how
they are boxed - the <unittitle>. The design choice was to treat the
intellectual/logical arrangement as primary rather than the
physical/container setup and I would encourage us to continue in this direction.
Manuscripts and Archives
Yale University Library