Place Names and Titles

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This page has been created to clarify the relationship between place titles and names in the old and new place structures.

Old place structure

Places contain a title, main location, and optionally alternate locations. The place title is used to display the place in reports and views. The main location used for searching and to sort the flat place view. The fields within the main location are used to construct a partial hierarchy in the place tree view. Alternate locations are used for searching only.

Locations contain the following fields: street, locality, parish, city, county, state and country. This structure is fixed. It is not possible for the user to add extra fields. The higher level fields have to be entered many times which can lead to inconsistencies.

The main location tends to duplicate the information in the title. This is not good.

New place structure

Instead of containing a main location, place objects are now arranged into a hierarchy. Place names and types are created from the fields in the main location during a database upgrade or import.

The title can now be generated from the place hierarchy. The original title can still be used which ensures that report output is identical to the old structure, but this should be considered a legacy mode.

The new place structure should provide improved flexibility and better data consistency. By constructing multiple hierarchies, time-dependent place titles are now possible. The place tree view now contains a full hierarchy.

Upgrade path

During the upgrade between the old and new structures, main locations are used to link places into a hierarchy. Extra place objects are created where necessary.

For best results, the main location fields should be populated with all the information contained within the title. The Place Completion tool can be used to help with this process.

For databases with empty main locations, there is an experimental tool to create a place hierarchy from the original place titles. However, this approach is not recommended. See Bug #8323

Proposed changes for v4.2

  • Add extra display formats to the place displayer.
  • Change the default display format to automatic.
  • Hide the legacy place title field if automatic format selected.
  • Enhance alternative names to include a date range and language. See GEPS 036

Other possible enhancements

Write a "quick add" place dialog to create multiple place objects. An example dialog was included in the prototype, but was not popular.

Record a place name as written in the source. This is a valid request, but was beyond the scope of GEPS 006. As with the old structure, separate place objects must be created.