[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Agent and subject records losing links to resource records and changing sort order of terms and subdivisions

Angela Kroeger akroeger at unomaha.edu
Thu Sep 18 13:14:12 EDT 2014

I have two related issues with subject and agent records.

Background: Subject records presently have all terms and subdivisions strung together in a single field. Likewise, agent records presently have the primary part of name and all subordinate units strung together in a single field. We would like to break these out into separate subfields (e.g.: subjects into terms with subdivisions, agents into primary part of name with subordinate names). However, we've run into two problems.

Issue #1. This happens every time I edit an agent record or a subject record:

If I change even a single character in the primary part of name field (for agents) or first term field (for subjects), that record loses track of all of the resource records that it had been linked to. That is, before editing the record, it shows a list of all linked records. After editing the record, it shows "No records found" under linked records. The only way I've been able to fix this is to manually edit each resource record containing that agent/subject by deleting that agent/subject from the resource record and then adding it back in and re-linking it. Is this a bug? It seems to me that if you change form of a name/subject, all resource records linked to that name/subject should still be linked to that name/subject.

To be clear: we can see the agents/subjects in the resource records--we can even follow the link from the resource record to the agent/subject record, but we cannot see a list of linked resource records from the agent/subject record. Even if we arrived at the agent/subject record by following a link from a resource record, the agent/subject will show no linked records, not even the one we just came from. So maybe the links really are present, but are not displaying in the agent or subject records? Is there a fix for this? Waiting a few days for the system to re-index did not help.

Issue #2. This happens sometimes, but not all the time, and I can't figure out the pattern:

Sometimes when we edit a subject record to put each element into a separate term/subdivision, the record will not retain the correct order of those terms and subdivisions. For example, we had the subject Artist-in-residence programs -- Nebraska -- Omaha, which is a legitimate LCSH with geographic subdivisions. When I edit the record to put Artist-in-residence programs as a topical term followed by Nebraska and Omaha as separate geographic terms, as soon as I save the record, ArchiveSpace automatically re-sorts the terms into this incorrect order: Nebraska -- Omaha -- Artist-in-residence programs. When I edit the record to re-sort them into the proper order, they revert to the incorrect order the instant I save the record.

And it's not just that it wants to put the geographic terms first. I've had it go the opposite way. Another example is Omaha (Neb.) -- History. This is a legitimate LCSH in correct order. Yet when I separated it into Omaha (Neb.) as a geographic term followed by History as a topical term, the moment I save the record, ArchivesSpace incorrectly sorts History to the first term. As with the first example, when I manually correct the order, the moment I save, it reverts to the incorrect order.

Any ideas on how to enforce our manual sort order for terms and subdivisions? Is this a bug that will be fixed in an upcoming release?

I am reluctant to split our subjects into their component terms and subdivisions if we cannot rely on them staying in the correct order.

I have not yet had this happen when splitting a name into primary and subordinate parts in an agent record (but then, I've only tried it with one agent record). However, the experience with subject records has made me feel less confident that the pieces will reliably stay in order. (Also, because of issue #1 above, breaking a name into components requires re-linking it from all resource records, another reason I haven't tested this with a large sampling of records.)

Thank you. I appreciate any help anyone can offer.

Angela Kroeger
akroeger at unomaha.edu
Archives and Special Collections Associate
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
University of Nebraska at Omaha
(402) 554-4159

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