Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finding Aid Handling

This post will examine issues we've encountered with the AT concerning finding aids.

  1. EAD Import

    We've run into 5 issues importing EAD into the AT. First, as I mentioned in a previous post, we've had problems importing both large EAD files (6+ MB) and large numbers of files. Even with increasing the memory assigned to the AT (see Memory Allocation) and installing the client on the same machine as the database, importing these files has crashed import, causing us to import in small batches or one file at a time as needed. Second, we've encountered issues with handling for those finding aids with a parallel extent or container summary. Here we've found that although encoded correctly, the AT is inconsistent, sometimes assigning a blank extentNumber, other times combining extentNumber and containerSummary in extentType, or, most often, assigning a blank extentNumber, extentType and throwing everything into a general physical description note. This calls for a lot of manual clean-up depending upon how you encode . Third, although encoded correctly, we and other Yale repositories have found inconsistent languageCode assignment, most often resulting in blank values. Fourth, as perhaps many others of you have experienced, we’ve had problems with Names and Subjects, both in the creation of duplicates vales and in names getting imported as subjects (and vice versa). This is likely due to how the AT treats names as subjects—a complicated concept which may or may not be able to be revised for 2.0. Fifth, we’ve found inconsistent handling of internal references/pointers, sometimes getting assigned new target values, sometimes not. Whether or not new target values are created following merging of components is another issue on the table for future investigation.

  2. DAO handling

    Unfortunately one of the EAD elements currently not handled by the AT is , which our Yale EAD Best Practices Guidelines and common EAD authoring tool (XMetal) have set up to handle all Digital Archival Objects. As a result, all our DAOs are unable to be imported into the AT. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed in the 2.0 DAO module revision.

  3. EAD Export/Styleshseet

    Although it is possible to modify or replace the stylesheet the AT uses to export EAD or PDF (see Loading Stylesheet) it’s not currently possible to select or utilize multiple stylesheets, which may be important for multiple repository installations and/or developing flexible export possibilities.

  4. Batch editing

    I’ve mentioned previously in another post that one of the key weaknesses of the AT is the inability to batch edit. Given the lack of batch editing functionality, a repository will either have to commit to greater planning and development prior to integration, or use a database administration tool such as Navicat for MySQL to clean up data once in the AT.

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