Creator Lookup design proposal

The current creator lookup has a number of technical and usability challenges that I'd like to try and move beyond.  Technically, the autocomplete logic is overly complex and often doesn't actually provide useful results.  Non-techncially:

  1. Users seem to have confusion about what is actually being matched to an existing tDAR Person / Institution vs. when something is being created.
  2. "Create new" doesn't really do anything.
  3. Users have no way of editing the creator (if we decide to give them rights)
  4. It also takes up a lot of space and often does not look right on narrower monitors.


current interface

Logic (Client Side):

  1. the combination of the firstname, lastname, email, and institution are sent to the server and matched.  We then use whatever the user selects.

Logic (Server side):

  1. if the creator has an existing ID from the autocomplete, we used the existing creator from tDAR.
  2. Person:
    1. If the person has an email, we look that up, if it matches, we use that person.
    2. If not, we then lookup that person with firstname / lastname / institution.  We choose the first Person that's returned (if more than one).
  3. Institution:
    1. We find the first institution with that name.



  • a single field for creator searching that searches firstname/lastname/email.
  • "Create new person" displays a form that shows a creator record like our current autocomplete.  It either would tell tDAR to always create the creator, or something else.
  • an explicit Edit button for "editors" that links off to the full creator-edit form so they can modify creators
  • potentially show the tDAR ID for the creator somewhere in that section so it's clear what's being assigned.
  • Rethink the autocomplete to try and provide more context. We track the # of references to a creator, we could display that, we could also show a random record or two associated with that person. (a la Jim's IMDB example).