Here is a little background on EAD <controlaccess>. I hope it helps in
understanding EAD a bit better, and prompts people to offer suggestions and
ideas about the role of authority control and archival description.
We intentionally kept the various name and term elements in EAD
structurally minimal because we felt that 1) research was needed to
determine the best approach in the machine environment to controlled and
uncontrolled names and terms (including studies of costs) in finding aids;
and 2) various emerging authority control initiatives in the international
library and archival communities needed to develop further, including
ISAAR. EAD Version 1.0 will not add any more structure to name and term
elements, as we still feel that we need to know more and understand better.
I can say, without giving details, that there is very likely to be a major
international project initiated in the coming year to study EAD, authority
control, and ISAAR, and to build a prototype system.
<controlaccess> was intended to be a container to put <persname>,
<corpname>, etc. in a controlled "catalog entry" form. As you well know,
"catalog entry" form supports building alphabetized, browsable lists. And
thus the inversion of certain (Western) personal names and the dropping of
initial articles in corporate names. It was assumed that the use of
<persname>, etc. in running text would be in direct "free" form, and that
the NORMAL attribute could be used for providing a full "catalog entry" form.
Thus the following:
<p>Ms. <persname normal"Dow, Elizabeth">Dow, after initiating a major
revolution in archival authority control, successfully ... </p>
A better way of doing it would be for all of us to build or participate in
an international authority control database, wherein we would establish
names for persons, corporate bodies, and families, and provide links
(perhaps with relevancy weighting) to finding aids describing materials
related to the named entities. And in the finding aids themselves, the
<controlaccess> element would only contain name elements pointing to the
authoritative entries in the database, that is, they would not contain the
text of the name in the finding aid itself. (The text would be retrieved at
the time of processing for display, indexing, and perhaps other
processing). Such a database, rich in biographical and historical
information, would be a primary point of access to archival materials. If I
may understate it just a bit, there are a few political, technical, and
intellectual obstacles to realizing this modest dream. To make it better
and more impossible, we could do all of this with the librarians and museum
Subject access is a different problem.
I hope this helps a little.
At 10:19 AM 11/11/1997 -0500, you wrote:
>Although I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps these questions might better
>go to a catalogers' list, or better still, an archives catalogers' list,
>until I find one (that's a hint for suggestions), I'm afraid I'm bound to
>pound on your heads.
>As I crank up to start wrapping names with <persname> and <corpname> tags,
>I'm wondering if it's truly necessary to take the time to reverse the
>order of personal names that contain all the words the LCNAF entry
>requires: Dorothy Canfield Fisher vs. Fisher, Dorothy Canfield.
>I speculate that the "surname first" rule came from having to alphabetize
>a physical medium and I question whether it's necessary in an electronic
>Thoughts? Opinions? Knowledge?
>Elizabeth H. Dow, Ph.D. [log in to unmask]
>Special Collections -- Bailey/Howe Library
>University of Vermont
Daniel V. Pitti Project Director
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
Alderman Library University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Phone: 804 924-6594 Fax: 804 982-2363 Email: [log in to unmask]