But… what if I have lots of Fred Jones letters?

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Or… what if I have Fred Jones Letters in different collections?

Or… what if I have Fred Jones photographs, letters, audio tapes and more?

The way we deal with this is to identify the item within a collection by an incremental number.  After all — the letter could be from Fred or to Fred;  it could have been sent on this date or that;  it could be categorized as a legal document, a love letter, a receipt — there’s all kinds of ways to categorize things.

So, we decided to put in the file name only the information we need in order to manage the files.  We depend on the metadata (descriptive information) to let the user decide (via search/browse/retrieval ) what’s important to him or her.

We do the same with collections:  we’ve found that even our collection names get corrected or modified from time to time, and we even have a couple of collections ( u3_298 and u3_1328) with the same name!  Now tell me that’s not confusing!  So, our collections all have numbers.  When possible, they reflect the collection number assigned by the archivists to the physical (analog) content… so Manuscript collection # 212 becomes digital collection #212 within the manuscript type of content.

One of the cool things about Acumen is that if the collection number is in the file name, it will automatically group content for the collection together.

And if the type of material is in the file name, Acumen will group types of content together.

Acumen is pretty cool about making sense of your archive by inferring relationships based on file names.  It makes life a lot easier.

If you look at our entry page, you’ll see tabs across the top for audio, books, finding aids, images, manuscript materials, sheet music, and more.  That’s what I mean by types.

  • In a file name, the first segment before an underscore indicates the type of material (you decide what!);
  • the second segment indicates the collection number (your metadata tells Acumen what collection it is);
  • the third segment is the item number;
  • and if there’s multiple pages, then page numbers are the 4th segment.
  • We even have a 5th segment for subpages, such as fold-outs, inserts, close-ups of images in scrapbooks and such.

An example:  u4_2_19_3.jpg  could be interpreted as:

  • belonging to type “sheet music”  (u4, where the u indicates it’s university property or whatever),
  • a member of collection # 2 (the description of which will be found in the XML metadata named with the number u4_2),
  • and this is part of the 19th item (19)
  • and it is the image (JPG) of the 3rd page of the item (3).

So what Acumen does is parse the segments of a file name to figure out the order of pages and items for delivery, what composes an intellectual item (like a letter or photo or book), what collection something belongs to, and what type of material the item is.

All from the file name.  Now isn’t that cool?

You can read more about all this in an online chapter in Digitization in the Real World, called “From Confusion and Chaos to Clarity and Hope:  Reorganization of Work Flows, Processes, and Delivery for Digital Libraries”.

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