We’re just debating issues around very long titles for the Archives Hub, but I think it is an interesting question so I thought I’d throw it open to the list. These lengthy titles are most often at lower levels of description.
We have a number of descriptions where the title is well over 1,000 characters and sometimes over 4,000 characters - so it may be nearing 1,000 words.
We have to decide on our approach to this, and the options appear to be
(1) to cut down the title to a maximum number of characters and put the full title into something like ‘abstract’.
This would mean the title would be cut off randomly after, say, 500 words, and the full title would be visible in the ‘Abstract’ field (which we could label accordingly)
(2) to keep the titles, however, long they are, but only display a set number of words in the hit list, and have a ‘more’ link for people to click on to see the full title.
It raises the more general question of whether there is good practice to be followed around the length of titles. Archival standards are not very clear on this.
Provide either a formal title or a concise supplied title in accordance with the rules of
multilevel description and national conventions.
If appropriate, abridge a long formal title, but only if this can be done without loss of
I would be interested to hear views. If you do create these kind of ‘page long’ titles, can you give a rationale for it. If the title is a legal document like a mortgage or settlement, should it just be as long as it needs to be?
We can work round the length of titles by making changes to the interface to accommodate them, but should we be mandating titles that are not excessively long?
Archives Hub Service Manager
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