Follow-Up on Alphanumeric Serial

edited August 20 in Feedback

In an earlier comment I was wondering the following:

"Historically many of the items in our collection have codes that end with a field that is not just a number, but a number followed by a letter or a range of letters, like 78a or 287a-e. For now, I have set this field to serial and then just added the letter. Collectiveaccess is fine with that, although I do get an error message. Just wondering If there perhaps is a way to set a field to a number + one letter (78a) or a range of letters (287a-e) that does not create a warning/error?"

In the meantime I noticed that after using a range of entry codes 2023.1a etc, the next code that SERIAL gives is not the entry code 2023.2 as I would have expected. Instead it falls back to 2023.1, presumably because SERIAL cannot order the list anymore. The same happens if there is any letter in a series of entries. So, with 2023.1, 2023.1a, and 2023.2, SERIAL still gives 2023.1 as the next one up. Is there a way to fix this?

By way of one solution, is it possible to let SERIAL be alphanumeric such that the ordered list 2023.1, 2023.1a, 2023.1b, ... ,2023.1z, ..., 2023.1aa, 2023.1ab, ..., 2023.1zz, 2023.2 etc is a sequence of consecutive entries? This would work for my purposes. The only issue that I see is that if I have a set of three items with entries 2023.1a, 2023.1b and 2023.1c, then the next entry would be 2023.1d, even though I might want to have 2023.2. I could live with that, especially since with the next one up that I would expect, 2023.1a would be followed by 2023.2, so if I have a 2023.1b, I would have to change the numbering too.




  • As a follow-up to my follow-up, I partially solved my problem by using a hierarchy for "subordinate" entries (like lists of names attached to photos) and then using child_only in multipart_ID. Thus 2023.1a now is 2023.1.1 while 2023.1b is now 2023.1.2. This works well for new entries, but I still have the old catalog entries that I do not feel I can relabel.

    As for the new entries, is there a way to have the child records inherit the first SERIAL? Right now, when I create a new child record to 2023.1, It will have the code 2023.x.y, where x is the next number up in the first serial and y the next number up going with 2023.x. It is not a big deal, but it would be nice if x can be set to 1 (while keeping editable=1), i.e to the value of the first serial for the parent.

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