Query regarding Name of Creator (AtoM 2.4.0)

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Vicky Phillips

Jul 11, 2018, 11:30:09 AM7/11/18
to AtoM Users
I just have a quick query regarding the options in the drop down box when adding an authorised creator name. I thought that this list would only include Authority records and not Archival Institution records. However I've found out that this isn't the case, as an archivist was able to link to an Archival Institution record for the National Library of Wales rather than the Authority record for the National Library of Wales Is this supposed to happen or is this a bug? This has a knock on effect on the EAD generated.  In the example below the first entry is the Archival Institution record and the second one is the Authority record one.

<origination encodinganalog="3.2.1">
<name id="atom_3469806_actor">National Library of Wales</name>
<corpname id="atom_3473743_actor">National Library of Wales</corpname>

As we extract this data for including in our digitisation workflow this has an impact on the conversion to MARC and MODS process. I'd configured our EAD to MARC xslt to look for either corpname,famname or persname within origination element in order to take this information through to the 1xx field in MARC

   <marc:datafield tag="110" ind1="2" ind2="0">
<marc:subfield code="a">National Library of Wales</marc:subfield>

and on to the name element in MODS
<name type="corporate">National Library of Wales</name>

I just wanted to check if the inclusion of Archival Institution records in the drop-down options for Name of Creator is expected behaviour? If so I need to rethink my EAD to MARC transform.

Dan Gillean

Jul 12, 2018, 4:32:21 AM7/12/18
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Vicky, 

As I understand it, in AtoM's data model, an Archival institution is simply a special type of actor, which is the internal data model name used for entities described by authority records. We can see this in the early (and incomplete) entity type diagram still found in the documentation

This comes from the very earliest days of AtoM's development, and has been carried forward since. I can't personally speak to the rationale for modeling the entities like this, rather than making an repository its own kind of entity. 

I do personally think that even if this is the case, it's a usability / user inteface bug that one can find and select archival institutions from the drop-down menus for linking authority records. This seems doubly so now that we have a separate field for linking an authority to a repository record, something that didn't exist prior to 2.4. 

I found an old ticket where it looks like this was raised, and was causing errors. Without having had a chance to ask for some more history internally (I'm traveling for work at the moment, with intermittent email access), it seems that removing repository records from the autocompletes may have been more complicated than originally predicted, so they settled on simply fixing the 404 error and verified the issue. See: 
Despite this, we do now have a more consistent way to link authority records to repository records, for those who wish to do so. I personally agree that this is confusing for end users, and ideally we should prevent repository records from showing up in authority record autocomplete fields. To that end, I've filed a bug ticket to track this fix request: 
As ever, I can't guarantee a fix for this will be included in an upcoming release without community sponsorship, but I have added it to our internal list of community-reported bugs for us to track and try to address for 2.5. Whether we are able to or not might depend on what other critical fixes come up, and how complex this turns out to be once we examine it more closely. There may also be further backstory about the rationale for this, of which I'm not currently aware. If I learn more that would be helpful to share, I will do so here. 


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.

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Vicky Phillips

Jul 12, 2018, 6:11:39 AM7/12/18
to AtoM Users
Thanks Dan.
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