Research and Collections

Research and Collections

Field Definitions – Subject Fields

Field Definitions
Subject Fields

These fields identify key elements of advertisement content to aid cross-referenced retrieval on the basis of subject. There is a hierarchical structure ranging from general context (e.g. trade, foreign; military installation; community structures) and broad classifications of advertisements (e.g. commodity, land, business opening, runaways/slaves) to more specific references to person and place (country, province, state, county, municipality, street, landmark). The Subject fields are designed to isolate records that share common information. To group shared data in a specific field for retrieval means that information always must be described in exactly the same way within that field. Terms found in these fields are selected from standardized authority lists and therefore do not necessarily conform to the exact language of the advertisement. They are, however, representative of the content of the advertisement.

SUBJECT – GENERAL CONTEXT (SUB)

DEFINITION:

This field contains the broadest references to content of all the Subject fields. Key themes or points related to the subject matter of an advertisement or announcement are represented by words and phrases drawn from George P. Murdock’s Outline of Culture Materials. That list is found in Field Authority Lists. This classification system was chosen to avoid the idiosyncrasies of the index derived solely from the database by using one more familiar to the original targeted users in the museum community. The unavoidable limitations resulting from matching this prescribed indexing system to the historical newspaper information content requires a broad interpretation of the definitions of the indexing phrases in formulating search requests. This field is not used by New Brunswick.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
MARKETING, RETAIL; PROPERTY, MOVEABLE
FINANCE; ACCOUNTING; LAW; PROBATE; CONTRACTS

GROUP / ANNOUNCEMENT / TYPE (SGRP)

DEFINITION:
This field draws together the advertisements under general headings which refer to the most obvious aspects of their content. Headings include “COMMODITY”, “LAND”, and a number of other terms as indicated in the authority list for SGRP found in Field Authority Lists.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
BUSINESS ACCOUNTING; COMMODITY
PRIZE MONEY; ELECTIONS

PRODUCT CATEGORY CODE (SCAT)

DEFINITION:
An index to the occurrence of the nine commodity classification fields in each record. The commodity fields are identified by their mnemonics. This field can be used to isolate records containing specified categories. See the DESCRIPTION fields for a fuller identification and explanation of the commodity fields. See COMMODITY CATEGORIES AND RELATED SUB-CATEGORIES.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
DEFFBT; DECM; DEOET;
DEFFBT; DEPHG; DEMEP;

PRODUCT SUB-CATEGORY CODE (SSCAT)

DEFINITION:
A further index of commodity groupings in each record. The content of each of the nine broad commodity fields has been sub-divided into more specific sub-categories. See COMMODITY CATEGORIES AND RELATED SUB-CATEGORIES. The sub-categories are narrower groupings of similar commodities.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
TOOL; TEX; KITCH;
ARMORN; FOOT; WCR

PRODUCT TRANSACTION (SPROD)

DEFINITION:
A field used only for commodity advertisements to indicate the type of transaction or exchange involving goods. Because of the project’s original interest in imported goods, this field also distinguishes between imports and goods locally produced in the province in which the newspaper originated. “Auction” has been included on the list because of its prevalence as a medium of exchange. A limited authority list (See Field Authority Lists) indicates the possibilities. This field is not used by New Brunswick.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
FOR SALE; IMPORTED, ASSUMED
TO BUY; LOCAL, STATED

LAND TRANSACTION (SLTR)

DEFINITION:
In provincial databases containing local information in addition to commodities and services, land transactions represent a significant number of advertisements. Together with SLTY, SLFE and SLSZ, this field extracts key points of information from advertisements for real property (this includes land and/or buildings or portions of buildings). Similar to the SPROD field for commodity exchanges, SLTR indicates the type of transaction involving real estate. It distinguishes between requests to buy real property and advertisements for its sale or rental. As well, distinctions can be made between auction sales and those by individuals. This field is not used by New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
FOR SALE; AUCTION
FOR RENT; INDIVIDUAL

LAND TYPE (SLTY)

DEFINITION:
To facilitate more specific searches within real estate advertisements, SLTY indexes land types. Descriptive phrases referring to land have been standardized into an authority list (See Field Authority Lists). The original language of land references may be retained in the DESCRIPTION (DE) field. This field is not used by New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
ISLAND LOT; UPLAND; DYKELAND
IMPROVED LAND; FREEHOLD PROPERTY

LAND SIZE (SLSZ)

DEFINITION:

A further index to the land advertisements, this field records references to measurements, including acreage, lot areas/dimensions and building dimensions. For acreage references, the total of all lots for which acreage is given is recorded, rather than separate references to each lot size. The intention is to give a crude indicator of size as a means of identifying advertisements involving specific acreages, (such as 100,000 acres to indicate a township). Nova Scotia data consists of acreage references only; Prince Edward Island also includes lot and building dimensions in field. New Brunswick and Newfoundland do not use this field.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
2045 acres
120 FEET BY 40 FEET

LAND FEATURES (SLFE)

DEFINITION:
The content of this field includes anything found on land that enhances its value and is therefore mentioned in an advertisement. Usually this means some kind of building or structure. Buildings can be further described in terms of their interiors and reference to this detail is included in this field. Also, it is possible to have descriptions of land features without having any reference to land itself (e.g. rooms for rent). This field is not used in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. (See Field Authority Lists).

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
COTTAGE; HOUSE; BARN
WHARF; OFFICE; KILN

PLACE – COUNTRY / PROVINCE / STATE (SPCRY)

DEFINITION:
This field and the next three (PLACE – COUNTY (SPCTY); PLACE – MUNICIPALITY (SPMUN); PLACE – STREET / ADDRESS / LANDMARK (SPADL)) index place references at a number of levels. They provide an essential link between commodities, services, individuals and regions. All mentions of place are included, such as place of business, place specified by an advertiser, place where land is to be sold. It does not include, however, the provenance of individual commodities such as Irish linen, Philadelphia flour, or Cork butter. This broadest of the place fields includes references to countries, provinces and states.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
UNITED STATES; MASSACHUSETTS
ENGLAND; IRELAND; NEWFOUNDLAND

PLACE – COUNTY (SPCTY)

DEFINITION:
County references are not usually stated in advertisements, but county names are recorded by cataloguers to identify common data according to geography. County references are made only for places within the originating province. For example, survey projects originating in Prince Edward Island provide county references for places named within Prince Edward Island but not for places found outside Prince Edward Island. Twentieth-century names and boundaries are used. Newfoundland does not use this field.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
ST.JOHN COUNTY; HANTS COUNTY
KINGS COUNTY; QUEENS COUNTY

PLACE – MUNICIPALITY (SPMUN)

DEFINITION:
The most important of the place fields, SPMUN indicates all references to cities, towns, villages and smaller settlements either stated in an advertisement or implied by its content. An “implied” municipality is usually the community in which the newspaper is published. In this case, it is assumed that locality was not mentioned in the advertisement because it was understood. These “implied” references are included to make possible comprehensive retrieval on the basis of locality. All references to municipalities (including vessel provenance) are recorded. Twentieth-century place names are used where they exist. Obsolete place names are retained in the DESCRIPTION (DE). In Nova Scotia, township references are included in this field because they lack modern geographical equivalents.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
SAINT JOHN; HORTON TOWNSHIP
CORK; CHARLOTTETOWN; BAY FORTUNE

PLACE – STREET / ADDRESS / LANDMARK (SPADL)

DEFINITION:
The most specific of place references, SPADL consists of street and landmark locations for places named in SPMUN. Street references are most often given for the city or town in which the newspaper was published. “Landmarks” are points of reference used in advertisements to describe relational location when sites could not be pinpointed (e.g. by street number). In urban areas, they are usually prominent buildings, wharves, structures or meeting places and are usually prefaced with phrases such as “across from”, “next to” or “adjoining”. Descriptions of rural areas include specific farms or roads or geographical features such as rivers or beaches. Landmark information was included in this field to provide detailed spacial data as context for economic, political, religious and social activities, particularly in urban areas. Street, road, and wharf references have been inverted (e.g. STREET, WATER, 42).

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
GOLDEN FISH; STREET, WATER, 42
APOTHECARIES HALL; WHARF, FAIRBANKS

PERSON / BUSINESS (SPER)

DEFINITION:
All individuals named in an advertisement, regardless of how marginal their role, are recorded in this field. Names are recorded in the format surname comma (,) first name (e.g. CALDWELL, SARAH). References to persons named in company titles (e.g. “A. & L. SMITH LTD.”) are included in this field as individual names (SMITH, A.; SMITH, L.). Surnames mentioned as part of a company name but without a first name or initial (e.g. “Cook’s Fish Market”) are not included in SPER. Company names are recorded in the field for business name (see SBUSNM).

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
CAIRNS, THOMAS; HEARD, WILLIAM
O’DONNELL, JOHN F.; DICKSON, C.

OCCUPATION (SOCC)

DEFINITION:
Occupations stated in advertisements or assumed from their content are listed in this field. “Implied” occupations are recorded to index vocational activities described in advertisements. For examples, “Mr. Alpheus Jones has for sale at his store…” is a common format used in advertisements to describe the selling of goods. In such a description it is never stated that “Mr. Jones” is a “merchant”, but because of the activity described in the ad, “merchant” will be recorded in SOCC. An implied occupation is defined by an individual’s activity in a specific ad and therefore could change from ad to ad or in some instances not exist at all. SOCC can be manipulated to reveal the number of records containing a specific occupation, but it cannot tabulate the number of individuals having that occupation. An authority list (See Field Authority Lists) standardizes occupational references. To distinguish between stated and assumed occupations and to link occupations to individuals, DISPLAY the field DE for the records in question.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
MERCHANT; CARPENTER
SHIP CAPTAIN; WETNURSE

BUSINESS NAME (SBUSNM)

DEFINITION:
Company or business name is recorded here in exactly the same form as it occurs in an advertisement. That is to say that personal names that form part of a company name are not inverted in data entry to aid in alphabetical retrieval of surnames (See SPER).

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
A & J DUNCAN & CO.; BOSTON MERCANTILE ACADEMY
PIERS & HILL; CITY DRUGSTORE

TYPE OF BUSINESS (SBUSTY)

DEFINITION:
Individuals may have occupations; companies are likewise identified by their type of business. In the same way that SOCC is a list of occupations for individuals named in advertisements, SBUSTY provides a controlled index to the kind of activity or type of business advertised by companies named in SBUSNM.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
MERCANTILE; DRUGSTORE
AUCTIONEERING; INSURANCE AGENCY

VESSEL NAME (SVNAM)

DEFINITION:
This field and SVTY and SVPROV provide cross-referenced data on water transport. SVNAM contains the names of all vessels referred to in advertisements, whether they are carriers of goods or are listed as “port news” (18th-century Nova Scotia only). To facilitate alphabetical retrieval, only names are entered; descriptors such as “H.H.” or “Am”, “American” or “S.S.” are preserved in the DESCRIPTION (DE).

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
PACIFIC; GRAND LAKE
ANN; MINERVA

VESSEL TYPE (SVTY)

DEFINITION:
Vessel types are recorded here according to a standardized authority list (See Field Authority Lists). Sometimes vessel types can be matched to vessel names (SVNAM) and vessel provenance (SVPROV); other times only one or the other of these points of information accompany vessel type and in some instances a kind of vessel is named without any additional information.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
BRIGANTINE; SLOOP
SHIP; STEAMER

VESSEL PROVENANCE (SVPROV)

DEFINITION:
The immediate provenance (place of origin) of vessels listed in one or both of the fields SVNAM and SVTY. This is not necessarily the port of registry of a vessel. In commodity advertisements, it usually represents the origin of a shipment of goods. Provenance is recorded exactly how it occurs in the advertisement.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
LONDON; GREENOCK
JAMAICA; BOSTON

SUBJECT – RAILWAY (SRAL)

DEFINITION:
This field is used in the same way as the SVNAM field to indicate the name of the carrier transporting goods. In this case, the names of railways are recorded according to a limited authority list. This field is used only by New Brunswick.

DATA CLASS:
alpha-numeric, phrase

EXAMPLES:
INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY; GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY
SAINT JOHN & MAINE RAILWAY

 

ADMINISTRATIVE FIELDS | BIBLIOGRAPHICAL FIELDS
SUBJECT FIELDS | DESCRIPTIVE FIELDS

 

 

Menu | Introduction | What is the Atlantic Canada Newspaper Survey?
Links to the Canadian Heritage Information Network | The Partners
Field Definitions | Field Summary
Commodity Categories and Related Sub-Categories
ACNS Data Content By Contributor | Field Authority Lists

Research Strategy

Research Strategy
Search all Collections

Photo of the Week

Publications

Visit the Canadian Museum of History publications!View our Publications

Military History Research Centre

Visit the War Museum Military History Research Centre!Military History Research Centre