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These notes will help you get the most out of the 15,000,000 rows of data in the Music Sack.

The Main Menu

You can always reach the Main Menu by clicking on "Music" in the TheMusicSack logo in the header.


When data is displayed on the screen there are often links to enable you to get more information.

Most of these links show up as blue text. Place your mouse cursor over the text - if the cursor changes to a hand symbol then there is a link. Most of the links have tool tips that describe the action if you select that link.

In some cases, where the link text contains a number, the links have been applied conditionally. If the number of exceeds the maximunm the link is not available. This has been done for practical purposes and will be reviewed at a later date. In most instances this maximum is set at 500.

Text Boxes

All the text boxes in the Music Sack have a minimun number of characters that they will accept.

This minimum number of characters is given above the text box.

This minimum may be one, two or three characters. If you enter fewer than the minimum, you will be requested to enter the minimum.

The purpose of the this minimum is to reduce the number of matches that must be displayed. Scrolling through 10,000 rows is not a productive way to locate the data you want.

Finding Names in the Music Sack.

To search for people in the Music Sack, it is helpful to understand a number of points about people and the names they use.

The first point to note is that a person may have more than one Full Name. For example, people can have a birth name, a married name, a pseudonym, etc.

This may lead to a little confusion sometimes. For example the composer Philip Arnold Heseltine used the pseudonym Peter Warlock. If you search for Heseltine, the brief record displays Warlock, Peter (b. 1894 d. 1930). You will only see the name Heseltine, Philip Arnold when you display the full record. I have to give this some thought.

Although the Music Sack database has 1,000,000 Full Names, I am not sure how many people this represents. To see a selection of the Types of Name that people use click here.

A Full Name may consist of a single word or of many words. If a Full Name consists of more than one word, these words are separated by spaces and in some instances by hyphens.

In some cultures, Full Names include words known as particles such as:

da, de, de, deggli, degli, del, del', dell, della, delle, den, der, des, di, do, dos, du, l', la, las, le, les, lo, los, nella, nello, van, vom, von, zur.

When particles occure in a Full Name they are not indexed -- that is they are not placed in the name index table and thus cannot be searched for.

However, just to complicate matters, some of these strings of characters can also represent personal names:

For example:

These Names are indexed since they are not particles.

When you see "Enter Name to Search for" the term "Name" refers to one of those words that makes up a Full Name.

Examples of Full Names

The Music Sack name index contains all Names that make

Last Name & First Name

In the West, it is customary to divide a Full Name into two parts: a Last Name and a First Name. When Full Names appear in an inverted list, such as the phone book or an encyclopedia, they are always listed in the form : Last Name, First Name.

However some Full Names cannot be easily divided into Last Name & First Name

For Example:

Madonna -- This is neither a Last Name nor a First Name.

Sun Rah -- This is a nick name and cannot be split (although some encyclopedias do list him as "Rah, Sun")

Petrus Francisci Aspetati de Cento -- This name predates the custom of dividing Full Names.

Maria Margarita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Castilla Bolado y O'Donell -- With many compound Spanish and Portuguese Full Names, you would probably have to ask the person themself what their Last Name was.

Victoria de Los Angeles -- Is it Los Angeles, Victoria de?, or Angeles, Victoria de los?

The point to note is that Last Names and First Names are problomatic. In most searches it might be better to avoid making this distinction

How Names are stored in the MusicSack.

Names are stored in two columns LastName and FirstName. Which part of a Full Name goes in which column is determined by how thw name appeared in the printed source where the person was described. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart always appears in an ordered list as Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus thus the two columns are:

LastName: Mozart
FirstName: Wolfgang Amadeus.

However this division into LastName and FirstName is not very useful when it comes to searching for names. To make the search easier an index table has been created. This table has two columns Name and NameType. Thus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is stored as
Name NameType
Wolfgang 2
Amadeus 2
Mozart 1
NameType = 1 indicates that the name was listed in the printed source as a Last Name
NameType = 2 indicates that the name was listed in the printed source as a First Name

When a user initiates a search for a name, the search first goes to this index table.

A Good Search Strategy

Accept the default settings in the two groups of options at the bottom of the screen.

When requested to "Enter Name to Search for" enter the first three characters of the least common Name of the names that make up the Full Name of the person you are looking for.

For example:

If you are looking for Jabbo Smith -- enter jab in the text box. You can then select a name from the 29 returned.

If you had entered Smith in the text box (and checked Last Name only and Exact Matches) you would have to scroll through 1669 matches.

If the number of matches returned is too many, then go back and:

Searching for Dates

Text boxes used to search for data by year will only accept numeric characters and a maximum of four numeric characters.

The range of values must be within the range of years given on the first line of the instructions

For Example:

Search for Bibliographic Items by year of publication (1595-2001) -- 1595 is the earliest date of publication of any item in the Music Sack -- 2001 is the latest (more will be added later)

Within the range of years indicated, you can enter also enter two or three numbers

For Example:

Searching for Places

Place names -- what they are and how to refer to them -- is a very complex and confusing subject

A geographic area -- a country, a state or province, a city, a town -- may have been known by several names over the years it has been inhabited.

For Example:

Similarly, a geographic area may be known by different names in different languages

The capital of Austria is known as:

Another problem is that place names are not unique. Many duplicate place names exist - some in close proximity to each other.

Some duplicate place names in England:

When someone records the place of birth or death of a person, they may not even be aware that other places have the same name. This results in ambiguity, and in some cases, this may not be able to be resolved.

Where a single geographic area has been known by more than one name, I have tried to select a name that identifies the actual geographic location of the event. On the date the event took place that location may not have been known by the name I have chosen, and may not have been in the country that I have placed it in.

From a database design perspective, the varying names that a place has had would not be stored with the date of an actual event. The many names that a location has had, along with the dates that these names were applicable, and the country the location was part of, would be stored in a database of place names.

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names is the place to go for place names.

(c) 2023. Frank Greene. All rights reserved.