We use the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names for coding place names in our museum and archival cataloguing systems. We're currently struggling with the best way to display and make these terms searchable in our online database.
Currently we're just displaying the term itself, which is flawed, because just seeing "Springfield" or "Florence" doesn't give the user enough information to figure out where something was really made.
But we're finding that the number of variant place types in TGN makes it hard to figure out a concise way of indiciating a more detailed place name that will work consistently across all entries in the thesaurus.
For example, the full hierarchy for Florence (the one in Italy) is
Florence (inhabited place), Firenze (province), Tuscany (region), Italy (nation), Europe (continent), World (facet)
Neigborhoods and other local subdivisions can be even more of a mouthfull:
Notting Hill (neighborhood), Kensington and Chelsea (borough), London (inhabited place), Greater London (metropolitan area), England (country), United Kindom (nation), Europe (continent), World (facet)
Ideally I'd probably like to show the above as "Florence, Italy" and "Notting Hill, London, England"
But I'm having trouble coming up with an algorithm that can consistently spit these out in the form we'd want to display given the data available in TGN.
Would welcome any ideas or feedback on this.
Systems Librarian/Archivist, Historic New England
141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114
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