Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thesaurusing Live Entertainment

Perhaps some of you spent Bonus Sunday over at Vintage Disneyland Tickets. I did my "processing" of the Summer 1967 Vacationland for the thesaurus and will give you a behind-the-scenes look at my processing work. (Yawn!) If you have the magazine, take a look at the article entitled "Disneyland's Summer Extravaganza." Thesaurusing live entertainment terms can be time-consuming because of all the relationships to enter, and in this case we also have additional Park events to deal with.

I like to begin at the broadest level. Almost all of the information in the article pertains to summer 1967, so the discussions will be about the information that is in this field and how everything links back to this. I have terms for other summers, like summer 2008, linked back to summer, and also have other seasons, like holiday season 2008 (which is linked to the generic holiday season). Although this article names the promotion as Summer '67, the Park hasn't regularly, consistently named its summer season like this (that I have yet found). I thus have summer 1967 as the preferred term for standardization. So, right off the bat we have:
UF [use for]: Summer '67
BT [broader term]: summer
We learn that summer 1967 began at the Park on June 24. The article mentions several pre-summer events, including Big Band Festival (1967), Grad Nite (1967), and Date Nite (6/3/1967), Date Nite (6/10/1967), and Date Nite (6/17/1967). I've put these in the thesaurus in their own right, but they applied outside of the Park's summer season, so they are not linked to this term. We now have two more bits of information in the term record:
DN [date note]: 6/24/1967 - ?
DEB [debut]: 1967-06-24
The DN field is a free text field. While I expect to eventually come across the summer end date (perhaps from a guidemap or in a newspaper article or advertisement), I don't have it now and didn't feel the need to search it out at this time. The DEB field is an actual relationship within the thesaurus, and is linked to the date term 1967-06-24. The date term has additional information like the day of the week (Saturday), Park hours (9 AM - 1 AM), and any other useful information about the Park.

The various entertainment promotions from the summer are linked to summer 1967 hierarchically:
NTP [narrow term, partitive]: Country Music Jubilee (1967)
NTP: Hootenanny (1967)
NTP: Humdinger (1967)
NTP: Vaudeville '67
Why am I going to the trouble of disambiguating the terms by putting years in parentheses? Because these events also happened in other years, besides, and I want to use the information from this article at the right level of specificity. That is, I could just use Country Music Jubilee, but as an event with that name happened many times into the 1970s, I feel I would muddy the waters by doing so. We'll just take a look at one of these terms, Humdinger (1967). Linked terms are in bold:
DFOT [definition, other]: Vacationland (Summer 1967): Each week's special entertainment line-up will include a Disneyland Humdinger each Monday night featuring top rock n' roll recording artists.
Stars already signed for the Monday night Humdinger include, The Young Rascals, Neil Diamond, Tammi Terrell, Joey Paige, Lesley Gore, the Mustangs and Humdinger Dancers.
Humdinger will be staged at a new 1,500 seat Tomorrowland show area.

SRC [source for the term]: Vacationland (Summer 1967)

UF [use for]: Disneyland Humdinger (1967)

BT [broader term]: events, promotions, and programs by names

BTI [broader term, instance]: Humdinger

BTP: summer 1967

PFMR [performer]: Diamond, Neil
PFMR: Gore, Lesley
PFMR: Humdinger Dancers
PFMR: Mustangs
PFMR: Paige, Joey
PFMR: Terrell, Tammi
PFMR: Young Rascals, The
events, promotions, and programs by names is something like an authority file. (I have a similarly named people and organizations by names term.) The Humdinger term will eventually relate to all instances of Humdinger through the years, such as that held in 1965. (More information on the summer 1965 entertainment can be found in my June 5 post.) As it stands now, I have all of the above performers linked to the Humdinger (1967) term, but depending on the information I have, may create separate terms for each Monday night Humdinger of the summer. For example, I know Lesley Gore performed at the Humdinger of July 31, 1967, so when I go through to refine the thesaurus, she may be linked to Humdinger (7/31/1967). These same sorts of relationships hold true for the other entertainment events of the summer.

Linked to the broader summer 1967 term are also the regular atmosphere talent and guest talent not specifically brought in for an event:
PFMR: Bill Elliott's Orchestra
PFMR: Dapper Dans, The
PFMR: Disneyland Band
PFMR: Dobie Gray and his Rock Band
PFMR: Establishment
PFMR: Mustangs
PFMR: Regents
PFMR: Royal Tahitians, The
PFMR: Seven Souls
PFMR: Spats
PFMR: Ward Singers, The
One problem I frequently run into with performing groups is the nomenclature. Rarely is there consistency between sources on terms for the guest talent! But Disneyland's own atmosphere talent is not exempt. What I have referred to above as Bill Elliott's Orchestra seemingly has a new name in each source. I don't know enough yet to say if the terms represent actual different entities, or if Disneyland's marketing people just used whatever popped into their heads. Other terms related to Bill Elliott's Orchestra collected through the years:
Bill Elliott and his Orchestra
Bill Elliott with his Disneyland Date Niters
Date Niters Orchestra
Elliott Bros.
Elliott Bros. & the Dixie Dandies, The
Elliott Brothers
Elliott Brothers and the Dixie Dandies, The
Elliott Brothers Band
Elliott Brothers Band, The
Elliott Brothers Orchestra
Elliott Brothers Orchestra, The
Elliott Brothers, The
Lloyd and Bill Elliott and the Disneyland Dateniters
I'm sure there are more I haven't yet discovered! Through hierarchical inheritance, it might be redundant to say that some of these groups performed in summer 1967. The Mustangs, after all, performed in the Humdinger (1967), so by definition they performed during the summer. But these relationships are on a more general level, meaning they performed at the Park all summer long--and not just at special events. But I have inconsistency here: The article also mentions special guest bands, like Seven Souls. They are linked to summer 1967 not because they performed all summer long, but because I don't have a specific date for their performance. (I don't have a specific date from this source, anyway.) That's something that will need to be cleaned up later.

Live entertainment can take a long time to get through, because I have to consider the season, event, performers, and at what level of specificity I want to store the information. Creating new terms for performing groups--and trying to figure out when two entities are actually the same thing--can certainly take a long time! But, the whole point of this thesaurus "exercise" is to document the details of Disneyland as specifically and accurately as possible, and live entertainment has been tremendously important to Disneyland through the years.


Will Robison said...

I find your work admirable and extremely interesting, but I wonder if you're starting to worry that perhaps you've bitten off more than you can chew. In addition to the 50+ years that DL has been around, every day you go forward, the park gets one day older (and creates yet more terms). Are you narrowing your focus to certain years?

I'm reminded that when I was a kid I set out a simple goal of seeing all the movies ever made. I'd try to watch as many old movies as I could. But at some point I realized that I couldn't even keep up with the new movies coming out, much less the old movies that I hadn't seen yet. The realization was that some goals, no matter how admirable, just can't be obtained.

Either way, I'm enjoying your attempt. Keep up the good and hard work.

Jason Schultz said...


I think we can all agree that the thesaurus would never be finished, because there's always more that could be added. With that said, the basic framework is pretty much done. That is, I have everything from Disney A-Z and Disneyland: The Nickel Tour, and from a lot of other sources, besides (already). I don't think it will be a quick process to get through all the Disneyland Lines, Vacationlands, The E Tickets, etc., but I don't see the new information as piling up quickly enough to hurt my efforts. How many things have happened in the past few weeks at the Resort that were at least moderately important? Miley's Sweet 16? The opening of the DCA preview center? The opening of the Fortuosity Shop? Now, of course every day there's a whole slew of entertainment, new Cast Members, minor operational changes, and so on. I'm under no illusion that I'll be able to enter all this information in the thesaurus (working by myself, anyway!). I have no plans to narrow my focus--but I will admit that my more readily available sources at this point in time are for the Park's first few decades.

My project previous to this was a complete gazetteer of the State of California. Before the thesaurus distracted me, I had amassed over 11,000 places. As only one place within the state, this more exhaustive look at Disneyland pales in comparison. :)

Major Pepperidge said...

It seems pretty obvious that a lot of the terminology used in the past was very informal, which is why it is so inconsistent. Back in those days, nobody would have dreamed that somebody would be paying close attention 40 or 50 years later!

walterworld said...

Library Science lives!!!

I enjoyed this class for two years in 1981-1983 and am happy for the experience.

Please keep cataloging the history of the #1 Theme Park ever...

Take care---