[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Mrs. Husband's Name / updates in our ArchivesSpace database

Custer, Mark mark.custer at yale.edu
Mon May 18 17:00:11 EDT 2020


Is anyone else working on Agent-related cleanup projects in ArchivesSpace right now?  We’ve got a couple of those going on at Yale, and I wanted to mention one of them on this listserv since I said that I would last night on Twitter 😊.  My reasoning was that it would be better to share widely, even early on, in the likely event that others were working on similar projects, and in hopes that it might save time for anyone else looking to get started with such a project.

Anyhow, just for the sake of sharing, here’s a really hacky SQL database query that you can use in ArchivesSpace to get a list of agents that have any name forms that include “Mrs.” or “Miss”:  https://gist.github.com/fordmadox/d78656fceb04b62000b662a3f2464488

A few caveats:

  *   I do *not* know SQL very well, so I know that this could be improved dramatically, but it gets data out of ArchivesSpace.
  *   The query casts a rather wide net, since it looks for Mrs. or Miss in any of the name forms, but it could be altered to just look for those two terms in the “sort_name” only if desired.
  *   The result of the query has at least one Yale-specific field in there, since we store our local ILS bibliographic IDs in ASpace’s “user defined string 2” field.  You can ignore that, or add something else, etc., but the gist is that this query should work in any ASpace instance.  It should return one row per agent, with multiple name forms, and a bit more information like which Resources, Archival Objects, and/or Accessions the agent is linked to.
  *   And last, it just searches for variations of “Mrs.” and “Miss”, which works for our dataset, but you could modify the HAVING clause at the end of the query to search for other honorific terms, if needed.

Most importantly, though, getting a dataset to review and act on is just the first step.  The hard work comes next!  Jessica Tai, Alison Clemens, and Karen Spicher are spearheading this project at Yale. If anyone has specific questions about the project, I’d encourage you to reach out directly to them.

For now, though, here’s one interesting example from the project:   we’ve got an agent record now in ArchivesSpace for “Brady, John G., Mrs.”,  https://archives.yale.edu/agents/people/77599.  Originally this would just have been text in the finding aid, later a link in a catalog record, and now it’s full-blown, standalone record for a person in ArchivesSpace.  But nowhere in that agent record is her given name, Elizabeth, although her name is thankfully listed multiple times in the finding aid (check out the finding aid author! 😊), in the Wikipedia entry for John Green Brady, and elsewhere.  So, that agent record will eventually be one of a few hundred local records that we update in ArchivesSpace during the course of this project.  And, one of the things that I like about ArchivesSpace --which helps to make sure that this project is possible without too many workarounds--  is that even if an agent record has a corresponding authority record in, say, the Library of Congress name authority file (e.g. http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n2008076910), you can still choose to use a different name variant for that agent’s display name, rather than an authorized heading.

Anyhow, I hope all is doing well!


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