Some observations on AT for RAD finding aids

A few more general observations about the AT based on our migration project:

  • AT does not allow for multiple titles, extent notes, and other kinds of information. It would be really nice if we could, for example, add two extent notes to one file-level description.  We have find clever ways to deal with files that have 2 cm of textual records and 3 photographs.  The same goes for dates and titles.  Brigham Young University has created a couple plug-ins that provide this kind of functionality, but when I installed them, the new data entry fields covered over the existing extent and date information.  Apparently ArchivesSpace will be providing something to this effect.
  • AT is not suitable for RAD item-level description. It doesn’t have a space for statements of responsibility, edition statements, publisher/manufacturer information, and the publisher’s series area.   Some of this information could be merged into another data field, or provided in a general note, but it wouldn’t export proper EAD.
  • A lot of EAD fields don’t export to the proper MARCXML field. Many of the most important fields crosswalk correctly, but the GMD, parallel title, other title information, statement of responsibility, material specific details, and other key information export to an incorrect MARC field.  This may not matter – we’ve apparently been able to import an AT generated MARCXML file with no problem, but we’re only doing fonds-level MARC records so the more complicated data just isn’t there.

We’re working on expanding this RAD crosswalk to include AT data entry fields and the actual EAD and MARCXML exported from the program.  So far, it’s been a big help identifying places where the program is not suitable for RAD finding aids (e.g., statements of responsibility).  But we’re not worried about what we’ve found so far because most of the issues deal with file-level description or obscure data.  I’ll post the crosswalk when it’s finished.