Society of American Archivists 

Technical Subcommittee on Descriptive Standards

Comments on ISAAR(CPF), 1996 version

Submitted July 30, 2001

 

I.                   Comments on the Standard

I.8.   There was some feeling that the wording of the point overemphasizes the gulf separating the viewpoints of archivists and bibliographic catalogers with respect to authority control.  Librarians, too, have an interest in adequate contextual information, and with archival and bibliographic resources intermingling in union catalogs and other information systems it might be a good time to start emphasizing shared concerns and perspectives, if only by de-emphasizing differences.

 

I.16.   We tend to think that ICA/CDS should revisit this point, which permits disregard of the Information Area (Area 2) by agencies wishing only to control the creation and use of access points.  In our experience, we have found that in order for access points to be fully distinguishable and meaningful, it is necessary to include at least some of the contextual information provided in Area 2. Those of us who routinely use LCNAF are often frustrated by authority records that do not include such information, which can be very valuable in understanding why a particular form of the heading is being used.

 

O. Glossary.  We find unclear language used in two of the definitions. The appearance of the word “responsible” at the very end of the definition for authority entry leaves the meaning of the sentence unclear.  With regard to corporate body, might it be better to say “or may act” instead of “and may act”? Or, is the intention of the sentence to convey that the corporate body both acts and has a right to act as an entity?

 

 

II.                 Examples of Archival Authority Records Expressed in a Narrative Format

A prominent outcome of our review was the suggestion that we offer more examples of archival authority records expressed in the form of free-text narratives, rather than as more structured or finely parsed data.  The reason for this is a belief that the data elements comprising Area 2 tend to overlap each other a great deal and therefore defy strict normalization.  For example, especially with regard to corporate entities, organizational structure (especially changes thereto) tends to get mixed up with events and dates, as well as with places and with names.  These elements tend to intermix to the extent that a narrative administrative history or a relatively more structured chronology may be the only way to adequately and clearly express all of that information, at least in a way that minimizes redundancy.  This is especially the case given the way the 2.X rules emphasize avoiding duplication of information within these descriptive sub-areas.

 

We hope that the three examples that follow will illustrate this natural intermixing of the Area 2 data elements, and might serve as useful models for an authority record expressed in a more narrative form.

 

 

Example 1.  Corporate Body: Government Agency

 

Corporate body

1.2  Type of archival authority record

Minnesota Surveyor General of Logs and Lumber

1.3  Authority entry

An act to provide for the survey of logs and lumber was approved by the Minnesota territorial government in 1854 (Laws 1854 c16). The state was divided into three districts with offices in Stillwater, Minneapolis, and Duluth. Each district had a surveyor who was required to scale and record logs cut in his district, and to record liens, mortgages, and bills of sale filed against any of the registered logs. By 1885, the number of districts had grown to seven (Laws 1885 c13). The offices were located in Stillwater, Minneapolis, Red Wing, Wabasha, Duluth, Winona, and Crookston.

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.4  Business location

2.1.5  Legal status

2.1.6  Mandate, functions and sphere of activity

2.1.7  Administrative structure

In 1919 the legislature abolished the seven districts and established a State Surveyor General (Laws 1919 c440). He was charged with scaling all state timber cut on any state lands (estimating the amount of sound lumber in timber stands and cut logs), surveying such timber before the Division of Forestry closed the sale, and scaling privately owned timber for fees when requested by the owner. The Surveyor General also acted as an arbitrator in scaling matters between private parties when requested to do so.

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.5  Legal status

2.1.6  Mandate, functions and sphere of activity

The Surveyor General was appointed by the governor for two years. The office was abolished in 1967 and all the duties were transferred to the commissioner of conservation (Laws 1967 c568).

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.5  Legal status

List of surveyors general: no statewide surveyor general (appointed to districts), 1854-1920; William T. Cox, 1920-1922; M. J. Thornton, 1922-1941; none listed, 1942-1945; Galen L. Finnegan, 1945-1954; John F. Morrissey, 1955-1963; Russell K. Willis, 1963; Dean Parmeter, 1963-1967.

2.1.8  Relationships

2.1.9  Other significant information

List of deputy surveyors general: none listed, 1854-1920; M. J. Thornton, 1921-1923; John Carrall, 1921-1922; A. D. Cook, 1923-1925; none listed, 1925-1930; A. D. Cook, 1931-1936; J. F. Morrissey, 1937-1946.

2.1.8  Relationships

2.1.9  Other significant information

List of assistant surveyors general: John F. Morrissey, 1947-1955; Paul J. Perrault, 1956-1962; John F. Morrissey, 1963-1967.

2.1.8  Relationships

2.1.9  Other significant information

This authority record was prepared by the Minnesota Historical Society, based on information in the Laws of Minnesota and in the records of the Surveyor of Logs and Lumber.

3.1  Archivist’s note

APPM

3.2  Rules or convention

March 1990

3.3  Date

 

 

 

 

 

 Example 2.  Corporate Body:  Business Firm

 

Corporate body

1.2  Type of archival authority record

Northwest Airlines, inc.

1.3  Authority entry

Northwest Airlines was incorporated in 1926 as Northwest Airways. The company began service on October 1, 1926, as an air mail carrier between the Twin Cities and Chicago. Passenger service was inaugurated in July 1927. Northwest expanded its service through the Dakotas and Montana to Spokane and Seattle in 1928-1933. The company was reincorporated as Northwest Airlines, Inc. in 1934.

2.1.2  Names

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.4  Business location

2.1.5  Legal status

During World War II the company set up and operated a military cargo route to Canada, Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands.  In 1946 Northwest Airlines was awarded a route to Alaska, and the "Great Circle" route to the Far East. Scheduled service to the Far East began July 15, 1947, with stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Manila. The company reached the East Coast in the late 1940s, and began the first transcontinental air coach service in 1949.  Northwest participated in the Korean Airlift from 1950 to 1953 during the Korean War.

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.6  Mandate, functions and sphere of activity

In 1979 transatlantic service to Europe was begun. A holding company, NWA Inc., was created in 1984, with Northwest Airlines as its principal operating subsidiary. That same year Northwest entered into a marketing agreement with Mesaba Aviation Inc., a Minnesota-based regional carrier, under which Mesaba operated as Northwest Orient Airlink. NWA Inc. was taken private in 1989 after a leveraged buyout by Alfred A. Checchi, Gary Wilson, and other investors.

2.1.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.1.6  Mandate, functions and sphere of activity

2.1.7  Administrative structure

2.1.8  Relationships

For many years the company used the name Northwest Orient Airlines for advertising and marketing purposes.

2.1.2  Names

 

APPM

3.2  Rules or convention

October 1993

3.3  Date

 


Example 3.  Personal Name

 

Personal name

1.2  Type of archival authority record

Wandrei, Donald, 1908-

1.3  Authority entry

Donald Wandrei was born on April 20, 1908 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Albert C. (1872-1942) and Jeannette Adelaide (1878-1972) Wandrei. He had three siblings, David G. ([1907?]-1959), Howard (1909-1956), and Jeannette Alberta (1913-1972).

2.2.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.2.8  Relationships

Donald received his B.A. degree with a major in English prose from the University of Minnesota in 1928. While in school he was a contributor to the Minnesota Quarterly and a member of the editorial board of the Minnesota Daily. He sold his first story, "The Red Brain," to the magazine Weird Tales in 1927, became a regular contributor to several national magazines, and during his senior year published his first book of poetry entitled Ecstasy and Other Poems (1928).

2.2.6  Occupation, sphere of activity

2.2.8  Relationships

After graduating, Donald moved to New York City and worked as advertising manager for the publishing firm E.P. Dutton & Co. He returned to St. Paul in 1929; completed three years of course work towards a Ph.D. in English; and, together with his brother Howard, published a second volume of verse entitled Dark Odyssey (1931). After returning to New York (1932) Donald worked as a public relations executive and continued to write fantastic fiction.

2.2.4  Places and/or geographical areas of residence

2.2.6  Occupation, sphere of activity

In 1939 Donald and August Derleth founded the publishing firm Arkham House with the express purpose of publishing the works of H. P. Lovecraft. The firm's first book, a Lovecraft collection edited by both Wandrei and Derleth, was entitled The Outsider and Others. Arkham House became the first publishing house devoted solely to fantasy and survived to become a leading publisher of the weird and science fiction genre.

2.2.6  Occupation, sphere of activity

2.2.8  Relationships

2.2.9  Other significant information

Donald returned to St. Paul after serving in the army during World War II (1942-1945). He moved back to New York in 1947 and moved to Hollywood in 1950. He returned to St. Paul in 1952, where he remained until his death in 1987.

2.2.3  Date(s) and place(s) of existence

2.2.4  Places and/or geographical areas of residence

Prepared by Frank Hennessy, Minnesota Historical Society, from information in the Donald Wandrei Papers

3.1  Archivist’s note

APPM

3.2  Rules or convention

March 1990

3.3  Date