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

Custer, Mark mark.custer at yale.edu
Tue May 19 16:08:37 EDT 2020


I love that approach!  Much cleaner to write those queries against the EAD/EAC exports than having to do all of the table joins directly on the database.  Of course, it does require having all of that data exported from ArchivesSpace, but that’s already a good goal to have to share your description with services like ArchiveGrid, etc. 😊

To partially answer your question Lara, the database query that I shared previously will export bioghist notes that are attached to agent records, but it keeps those notes in the format of the ArchivesSpace JSON records.  Good to have in the reports to eyeball, at least, but not something that you’d want to edit directly.  Here’s an example, which gets stuffed into a single cell in our report:

    "jsonmodel_type": "note_bioghist",
    "subnotes": [
            "jsonmodel_type": "note_text",
            "content": "English stage actor.",
            "publish": true,
            "subnote_guid": "7e7523151fa57827315ceb1772346741"
    "persistent_id": "497d3dd4284731aa1331eac06928d10a"

Of course, you could further process that output, or grab the contents of the note directly with an API query, etc.   But as Blake mentioned, I don’t think that any of the built-in reports include those notes right now since it does require extra processing to make the notes human readable.   But ASpace already includes a lot of code to do just that…  I just don’t know if any of the current reports tap into that.  The previous reporting system in ArchivesSpace, which used Jasper Reports, had an option to easily get those notes out and add them to the reports (e.g. that big blog above would become “English stage actor”), but even that wouldn’t take any EAD tags that might be present and convert those to something else.

Kevin, your sample reports also include searching across unit titles in a finding aid, which is another great use case.  I’m afraid to see how many we have of those, but we should definitely look.  I know we’ve got quite a few, like https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/11/archival_objects/526696, which I’ve been meaning to update for quite some time.  In that case, though, my thought was just to add a new agent heading for http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/no93005770, which I hope would make it clear what’s going on / not also require updating folder labels and the like…  that said, I’d be curious if folks are doing that, too.


From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org [mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org] On Behalf Of Kevin W. Schlottmann
Sent: Tuesday, 19 May, 2020 3:10 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Mrs. Husband's Name / updates in our ArchivesSpace database

Hi all,

As an alternative to direct database access to run these sorts of queries, one could download the data as EAD, load it into a local XML database such as BaseX, and run queries using xquery there.  (I wrote a couple of quick queries and posted them here: https://gist.github.com/kschlottmann/4c7a3125780c18cd175a29c9ba237928<https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgist.github.com%2Fkschlottmann%2F4c7a3125780c18cd175a29c9ba237928&data=02%7C01%7Cmark.custer%40yale.edu%7C6120af647a434381cb2008d7fc28576e%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C637255122515863098&sdata=JpSKZNE2irh%2BCVTVUumYbKIPDVT31iwobLxa2ZYF968%3D&reserved=0>) I put the results into a Google sheet for distributed review by our team.  If we have suggested updates to the free-text description (scope notes and unit titles), we'll note that in the Google sheet and then run those back in with the API.

This approach obviously technical preconditions as well, including an API or OAI script that will download the EADs en masse and a script that will write the updates back in, but it can be done in a hosted environment where one doesn't have database access.


On Tue, May 19, 2020 at 10:27 AM Karen Miller <k-miller3 at northwestern.edu<mailto:k-miller3 at northwestern.edu>> wrote:
Good morning.

At Northwestern University, our ArchivesSpace is hosted by Atlas, who has given us ODBC read-only access to the MySQL database. Just yesterday I ran a report that harvests BiogHist notes from Agents for a cleanup project. My SQL is pretty hacky too (although Mark’s is a good bit more neat looking than mine!), but I could post it on GitHub if it’s of interest.


Karen D. Miller
Monographic Cataloger/Metadata Specialist
Northwestern University Libraries
Northwestern University
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
k-miller3 at northwestern.edu<mailto:k-miller3 at northwestern.edu>

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org>> On Behalf Of Lara Friedman-Shedlov
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2020 4:07 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>>
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Mrs. Husband's Name / updates in our ArchivesSpace database

Thanks for sharing this Mark.  At the University of Minnesota, we are in the early stages of doing some agent record clean-up as well, so this information is very useful.

For one project we were looking at doing with our agents, we wanted to create a report of all of our agent records that would also include the biographical /historical notes from any linked resource records (or at least the URLs to any associated resource records, so we could easily find the relevant bio/hist notes).  Our instance of ArchivesSpace is hosted by Lyrasis so we contacted them to ask about it and were told this is "not possible."  I found that surprising and wonder if anyone else has done something like this and if so, how.

/ Lara Friedman-Shedlov

On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 4:00 PM Custer, Mark <mark.custer at yale.edu<mailto:mark.custer at yale.edu>> wrote:

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<https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fgist.github.com%2Ffordmadox%2Fd78656fceb04b62000b662a3f2464488&data=02%7C01%7Cmark.custer%40yale.edu%7C6120af647a434381cb2008d7fc28576e%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C637255122515873090&sdata=1i7cXoqm17lxdeoxNXI47PI2CMPMRiFjM%2B%2FoyUiTrLQ%3D&reserved=0>

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<https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fid.loc.gov%2Fauthorities%2Fnames%2Fn2008076910&data=02%7C01%7Cmark.custer%40yale.edu%7C6120af647a434381cb2008d7fc28576e%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C637255122515883085&sdata=eBODfgYJFfWjeHyFXuQxgaMs0WgpKC5koq2AFR%2F2DD8%3D&reserved=0>), 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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Lara D. Friedman-Shedlov    (she, her, hers)
Description and Access Archivist | Kautz Family YMCA Archives | www.lib.umn.edu/ymca<https://nam05.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lib.umn.edu%2Fymca&data=02%7C01%7Cmark.custer%40yale.edu%7C6120af647a434381cb2008d7fc28576e%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C637255122515883085&sdata=azg%2F64I7kGcH5EKCUBZeN6Q%2BOHwUbCH6w%2BjFPMxyG4w%3D&reserved=0>
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Kevin Schlottmann
Head of Archives Processing
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Butler Library, Room 801
Columbia University
535 W. 114th St., New York, NY  10027
(212) 854-8483
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