[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Agents with topical (or other) subdivisions in ASpace

Max Eckard eckardm at umich.edu
Tue Aug 11 15:44:42 EDT 2015

Hello ASpacers!

We've been working on importing agents into ArchivesSpace, but have run
into an issue. As an example, we have a number of <corpname> elements that
are subdivided with topical subjects, like so:

   - University of Michigan--Students--Political activity.
   - University of Michigan--Faculty.
   - American Brass Company--Strikes.

The issue we've encountered is that there is no space in ASpace for agents
that are subdivided in this way. Note: we are not talking about agents with
primary and subordinate names (with periods in between them)--ASpace
handles these just fine! We've been thinking about a number of ways to
handle this:

   1. We could divide up these terms so that the first term gets imported
   as an agent (in the examples above, corporate entity) and the rest of the
   term gets imported as a subject (or a subdivided subject). We've
   experimented a little with this here
   The problem with this approach is that subdividing names/agents is a
   longstanding practice here (and totally acceptable in MARC), and making a
   change like this would require making an even (arguably) bigger change to
   descriptive practices here and cause issues with exporting MARC records
   from ASpace.
   2. We could just leave the whole string, dash dashes and all, as the
   primary form of name. This could work, but it seems inelegant, since each
   variation would be imported as a new agent, even though we're only
   referring to one.
   3. We could change these to subjects, but that doesn't seem quite right
   either, since agents can have the role of subject.

We've been trying to consider all angles, including what affect a change
like this could have on researcher searching and browsing. Now we're
wondering what you all do. Do you have subdivided agents (<corpname>s,
<famname>s and <persname>s)? If so, how have you imported these into ASpace?

Thank you for your time!


*Max Eckard*
*Assistant Archivist for Digital Curation*

Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
734/763-7518 <734.763.7518>
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