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Handling point in time data in linked modules

Handling point in time data in linked modules

Hello,

The National Museum of Natural History will be embarking shortly on their migration from their existing Transaction Management application to EMu. One of the biggest dilemmas we need to address is the recording and maintaining of point in time type of data for the transactions. The transactor's (donor, lender, borrower, etc.) specifics must be maintained as it appeared at the time of the transaction. However, if this is done via linking to party module records, how is the best way to maintain that history, and allow it to be fairly easily reported on? For folks who have implemented their transaction module(s) in EMu can you speak to how you are addressing this issue, if you are? I'm wondering if others aren't that concerned with keeping the history information of their transactions intact.

There are a few ways I have thought about to deal with this. When actual updates are needed to party records (not just typo or minor aesthetic adjustments) a new record is created and the old record is retired. This is probably the easiest way to handle the problem but puts the burden on the user's to manage their parties module this way. Another way would be to use the party module as picklist at data entry but data would be copied into fields within the transaction module itself. A link would not be maintained. There are issues with both of these methods. I'm just curious if you have come up with other solutions or have other ideas you would like to share.

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Beth :-)
-- Beth L. Gamble - Senior Systems Analyst
Informatics Office,
Office of the Assistant Director for Information Technology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

Edited by: - 01-Jan-70 09:00:00

--- Beth L. Gamble ----------------------------------
Senior Systems Analyst
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

Beth Gamble
Senior Systems Analyst
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Re: Handling point in time data in linked modules

Hi Beth - Our transactions module is getting plenty of workout since we inaugurated it last month. That said, there are certainly naunces that we have not accounted for, as we tried to keep the design simple, and mostly focussed on the present. Just like label anomalies where we have created verbatim fields, for instance, party address and title changes might need to be accounted for also. I'd rather see it done in the parties record, in the 'other names' field, or in the notes, or synonyms if the data are too lexically different. I see our data for accessions, as you also noted, as being the most troublesome. For instance, we have three fields for names, the credit to, the received from, and the collector. Most times they are the same person or group, but the data usually have three different ways of referring to that name/group within the record. Is is important to preserve those 'customizations'? So far, we have not found the need.

Regards,
Joanna at FMNH

Joanna McCaffrey
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