Share in our discoveries across three projects as we work to provide the first intellectual access to our hidden treasures relating to work and labor in early 20th Century New England, the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair and its period, and Boston local TV news.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Creating Finding Aids in CollectiveAccess

You will be hearing more from the project catalogers and interns about the process of creating finding aids in CollectiveAccess, the online database system we are using for our 50 collections of work life. But first, a preview from a non-cataloger. Katrina Dixon will correct my errors of fact. In the meantime, here's front line experience from a learner.

CollectiveAccess is Web enabled, which means that the entire Northeast Historic Film team and our student interns can sign in and do their work in the cataloging software online. Katrina is midway through her instruction of Tim and Betsy, our Simmons GSLIS interns, in how to move their catalog records from the GoogleDocs where they were created into the database.

Here we are editing the Leadbetter Collection, the screen for basic information, including Collection summary, Biographical and historical notes, and Primary extent of collection, in this case, 16mm film.

There is an associated database for "entities," these being personal names and organizations. By recording these names in their own related database we are able to build an authority file, including a number of entries from the LCSH name authority, with donors, creators, and people depicted.

Places are entered into a Georeference field, which draws on Google Maps. This utility is under discussion; CollectiveAccess was originally built with GeoNames, another utility, but Seth Kaufman tells us today that GeoNames has been down for a week. Reliability? Always a factor to weigh when building a complex set of catalog records.

Georeference for South Lincoln, Maine, location of the Leadbetter Collection spool mill.


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