ArchivesSpace training on the historic campus of the University of Virginia

BY ANNE MARIE LYONS, TRAINING AND LIBRARY SOLUTIONS CONSULTANT

Last year, Atlas Systems became a Registered Service Provider of ArchivesSpace. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead in getting Atlas team members prepared and knowledgeable about ArchivesSpace.  As part of that effort, on October 31 through November 2nd, 2016, Chris Youngblood and I attended ArchivesSpace training workshops at the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia.

The workshops were conducted by the exceptionally skilled trainers, Mark Custer, Archivist and Metadata Coordinator at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and Noah Huffman, Archivist for Metadata and Encoding at Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

(Left to Right) Anne Marie Lyons, Atlas Systems; Noah Huffman, Duke University; Mark Custer, Yale University; Chris Youngblood, Atlas Systems

(Left to Right) Anne Marie Lyons, Atlas Systems; Noah Huffman, Duke University; Mark Custer, Yale University; Chris Youngblood, Atlas Systems

We would also like to thank Elizabeth Wilkinson, Archivist at the University of Virginia, as well as University of Virginia staff members, for hosting these workshops and providing such a welcoming atmosphere. There were a number of other ArchivesSpace users in attendance, which made for fantastic discussion about how different institutions make decisions about archival description. Chris and I left these workshops feeling confident and excited about helping libraries implement and use ArchivesSpace.

We covered ArchivesSpace in detail, but what we found particularly valuable about these workshops was the personal experience that Mark and Noah offered, as well other participating archivists. There were lively discussions about how detailed levels of description need to be, which data fields to use so that information displayed as desired on the public interface, and how data is mandated to be formatted if archives are participating in consortia. Mark also demonstrated the new top container and location plugins that are available in version 1.5.1, while Noah shared some scripts he developed using the ArchivesSpace APIs.

As an added bonus, we got to spend time on the beautiful University of Virginia campus, which is breathtaking during this time of year. Even on a cloudy day, the fall foliage is magnificent.

University of Virginia Academical Village

University of Virginia Academical Village

We learned that Edgar Allan Poe attended the University of Virginia for a period of time, and his room in the Academical Village has been preserved as a historical site.

Sign outside of Edgar Allan Poe’s room

Sign outside of Edgar Allan Poe’s room

Interior of Edgar Allan Poe’s room

Interior of Edgar Allan Poe’s room

We also found this statue of Icarus, which is situated between Alderman and Clemons Libraries.

Much thanks again to Noah, Mark, Elizabeth, and the University of Virginia for the wonderful ArchivesSpace workshops!

Visiting Shakespeare

By Katie Gillespie, Aeon Specialist

When I was notified that we had a new Aeon site, the Folger Shakespeare Library, I was thrilled. I’d seen photographs of their reading room and, as a former literature major and certified library nerd, was of course excited to be in the proximity of the world’s largest Shakespeare collection. Also, who doesn’t love an excuse to visit Washington, DC?

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My favorite part of every Aeon implementation is the initial visit. This is when I get to see behind the scenes; tour the stacks, vault, and staff spaces; and meet all of the wonderful librarians and staff who keep these places of scholarship running smoothly. I always leave inspired, eager to help streamline processes and, of course, save a few trees along the way as we help institutions move from paper-based systems to the electronic efficiency of Aeon. 

My host, Erin Blake, was gracious and patient with me as I fan-girled my way through the reading room tour. I learned about the myriad collections the Folger has and got to see some of the treasures in the vault. I enjoyed their current exhibit “Will and Jane”, which highlights the connections between William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and their fame many years after their deaths. The staff was warm and welcoming, especially when they welcomed me into their lunch and tea time conversations. Each person I interacted with was passionate about his/her work and interested in the benefits using Aeon could bring. 

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An interesting challenge with an independent library is finding a balance between circulation of library materials and management of rare and special materials. This trip gave me the opportunity to see all of the pieces we will be working to coordinate at the Folger. I am excited to be a part of putting together this puzzle and getting another Aeon site up and running.

Dwelling in Possibility

By Genie Powell, Atlas Systems Chief Customer Officer

While in New England for some other demos and meetings, we had the opportunity to visit with our friends at Harvard’s Houghton Library. I’ve been to Harvard Square enough times now to have opinions on where to park, where to eat, and which walkway to take to the library. The campus itself has become an old friend in addition to the people in the libraries.

We met with Susan Pyzynski, Tom Hyry, Ken Peterson, and several other key people to discuss the possible addition of more libraries to their Aeon implementation as well as the integration between Aeon and ArchivesSpace, which they are going live with in the coming weeks. Susan mentioned that they implemented in September of 2010 and I had one of those moments when I couldn’t believe how time has flown. They are experts at Aeon these days, and the addition of the archives and other libraries will be simple with their help.

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After our meeting in the Johnson library “green room” we were treated to a quick visit of the Emily Dickinson room. Her writing desk is tiny and unassuming but awe inspiring to see. I always learn at least one new term or phrase at each of these visits and this was no exception.

The majority of Dickinson’s collection is in forty hand-sewn manuscript books known as “fascicles”. While these books were disassembled by the original editors, you can view high resolution facsimiles of the pages in the Emily Dickinson Archive.

It was a pleasure to see our friends at Harvard and marvel at how successful they’ve been with Aeon. We share their excitement of adding new libraries to the family. As Dickinson wrote, “I dwell in Possibility”!