E-Reserves Workshop in Ottawa

Carleton University, Ottawa

By: Genie Powell

This past Friday, Carleton University hosted an E-Reserves Workshop for area libraries to attend. Coming from Virginia, I expected it to be cold, but even by Canadian standards it was a bit harsh. The severity of the weather was outdone by the warmth of everyone I met, though.

Joanne Rumig is the Coordinator for Library Reserves Services at Carleton’s MacOdrum Library and was the mastermind behind this workshop. She graciously offered to pick me up from my hotel and navigate me around campus. When she pulled up to the hotel, her doors were still frozen shut. Welcome to Canada!

After meeting everyone and getting the best cup of Tim Horton’s coffee, it was time to buckle down. We started out with a review of what’s new in Ares. That gave me an opportunity not only to talk about Atlas’ development plans but to remind them how important their feedback is in UserVoice.

Faculty/Student Panel             Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Faculty/Student Panel             Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Heather Martin from University of Guelph gave a great overview of the survey they conducted on campus to find out if students were buying their textbooks and if so, why not. She pointed out several ways that the library could help those students by keeping a copy on reserves, communicating with instructors proactively, and extending usage time limits.

Instructor Provided Books           Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Instructor Provided Books           Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Kevin Bowrin and Marc Lewis presented on some tips and tricks they are implementing at Carleton to allow users to more easily submit items from citation trackers (like EndNote) and how to catch and clean up user data from their course and user loads.

I was able to sit with several Ares sites over lunch to talk about possibilities for better handling physical reserves. It was great to hear from users directly and brainstorm together.

Interestingly, the portion that was most beneficial to everyone was when Carleton staff gave a tour of their reserves area and talked about their processes. I learned that Carleton’s library has hundreds of board games on reserve! And they wrap all the instructor provided books in red covers to protect them and make it obvious. Staff took others to their personal workstations to show them the Ares client, their filing systems, and compare notes. It was very eye opening for everyone! 

Board Games on Reserve            Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Board Games on Reserve            Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Carleton invited faculty and students from campus to answer questions about how they use E-Reserves and get their unique perspectives. It was fantastic to hear from users directly and built a lot of community. 

Lastly, we heard from Lisa Di Valentino about the recent copyright judicial rulings this summer in Canada. She gave an excellent overview of how the tariff and Access Copyright have affected fair dealing in Canada over the last 10 years. We are all anxiously awaiting the appeal results from York University. In addition, Val Critchley from Carleton created an amazing set of copyright scenarios to discuss.

Copyright Scenarios                            Photo Credit: Genie Powell

Copyright Scenarios                            Photo Credit: Genie Powell

I admit that when I first read the scenarios, they all sounded impossible to determine the right path. But as we went through them, they became increasingly clear. It’s very reassuring to not only provide a material to instructors and students, but to know that you’re well within the guidelines doing so. The exercises were a real confidence booster for me.

As everyone packed up, there was already excited talk of “the next workshop” and who would host it. Everyone agreed that seeing each other face to face and comparing notes was incredibly valuable and worth braving the cold.

Atlas Staff Visit Virginia Beach's First Public Library

Virginia Beach, Virginia

By: Stephanie Spires

You just can’t keep Atlas staff out of the library, even on the weekend!  Recently, while attending a fundraising event, John and Anne Marie had the opportunity to visit Virginia Beach’s First Public Library.  As noted on the commemorative sign at the exhibit, the library was created in 1930 by the Women’s Municipal League when each member brought 2 books to a party to start the collection.  A one room building was purchased for $50 to house the books.  It was moved to five different locations before closing in 1946.  It was abandoned for some time and moved to the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum Grounds in 2001.


John and Anne Marie were kindly treated to a private tour while attending a fundraising event at Atlantic Wildfowl when the director learned that they serve libraries at Atlas Systems, Inc. 


The library contains first edition copies of ‘Dick and Jane’ and the ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It also has the original librarian’s desk. There is an effort underway to fully restore the building and open it for tours. The director hopes to have a volunteer docent dress up as a librarian in 1930s attire and provide programs for children.

Photo credits to John Brunswick and Anne Marie Lyons

Photo credits to John Brunswick and Anne Marie Lyons

ArchivesSpace Members Forum

SAA 2017, Portland Oregon

July 25, 2017

By: Anne Marie Lyons

The third ArchivesSpace Members Forum was held on July 25, 2017, during the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, in Portland, Oregon. Dustin Stokes, Atlas Chief Technology Officer, Katie Gillespie, Aeon Implementation Consultant, and I attended the forum at Portland State University.


The meeting began with an update from the ArchivesSpace Program Manager, Christine Di Bella, during which she reviewed the year’s accomplishments with ArchivesSpace development.


Christine also discussed how much ArchivesSpace membership has grown, which is integral to the long-term development and sustainability of an open source program.


Christine ended her presentation with a list of goals that the program is working towards.


Next, Mark Custer from Yale University, and Susan Pyzynski from Harvard University, presented an overview of the new public user interface (PUI). Mark spoke about the history of the PUI development, which began in late 2014, and which incorporated a number of team members from different organizations.


Susan demonstrated a variety of new features of the PUI, including buttons for sending requests to Aeon and creating citations; expandable finding aids; and a customizable navigation bar to aid in researchers’ browsing and searching experiences.

Next, there were a variety of focus group presentations on such topics as redesign of the agents module and ArchivesSpace integrations with other applications. I attended the Staff Interface Enhancement Effort focus group, which is a long-term project that is being led by Lydia Tang at Michigan State University. Fellow attendees kick-started the project by submitting enhancement ideas in several categories, among which were navigation, accessibility, data entry and editing, and visual experience.


In the afternoon, I attended a workshop with Mark and Susan about rolling out the PUI. We studied the new interface in detail. It is quite a different look from the old interface. There is also different terminology on the new interface. For instance, published accession records are called ‘unprocessed materials,’ and categories are referred to as ‘record groups.’ I recommend that you consult the PUI pre-launch checklist here if you have plans to start using the new PUI.

Mark explained more complex details, such as the options for inheriting description down subordinate resource component levels, as well as options for customizing the PUI. For instance, some types of changes can be made in .config and .yml files, while other types can only be accomplished with plugins. And if you want to make any large-scale changes, then it’s probably best to load a copy of ArchivesSpace onto a development sandbox, where you can modify the staff interface, the PUI, and the behavior of the indexer.

The afternoon was closed out with a ‘lighting round’ session of tips, tricks, and ideas for working in ArchivesSpace. Presentations included creating easy custom reports with an ODBC link in Excel, improving student processing workflows, integrating with other applications, importing inventories into ArchivesSpace, and using staff user stories to implement an accessions workflow in ArchivesSpace.

The forum schedule, along with some recorded sessions, can be accessed here.