OCLC Resource Sharing Conference

by Genie Powell, Director of Special Projects

We were delighted to spend several days with our community during the OCLC Resource Sharing Conference in Jacksonville, Florida! This year was particularly exciting as this was the first conference after OCLC's announcement that ILLiad support would continue.

We saw so many of our beloved licensees at the Ask Atlas table. It was great to catch up as well as do some ad hoc troubleshooting.

Atlas staff collaborated on several presentations. Dustin Stokes worked with Krista Higham from Millersville University to talk about their OpenAthens authentication. Matt Calsada and Stephanie Spires answered many questions about the ReprintsDesk project with Florida State University. There was a lot of excitement about all the new development work underway.

Matt Calsada and Stephanie Spires - Photo by Cassandra Norman

Matt Calsada and Stephanie Spires - Photo by Cassandra Norman

One of my favorite times was getting together with some of our Concierge Service customers over dinner on Wednesday night. It's so great to be able to slide between technical chatter and sharing about our families, hobbies, and favorite books. We feel like dear friends by the time dessert arrived. I laughed so hard I cried, and my sides hurt!

Concierge Dinner - Photo by Cassandra Norman

Concierge Dinner - Photo by Cassandra Norman

We finished up the conference with an Atlas Update for everyone. We congratulated everyone on 40 years of resource sharing as well as specifically recognized some of our oldest ILLiad customers like James Madison University and Cornell University.

Matt Calsada and Stephanie Spires - Atlas Update. Photo by Cassandra Norman

Matt Calsada and Stephanie Spires - Atlas Update. Photo by Cassandra Norman

We were pleased to share the ILLiad roadmap with everyone. It's a new level of transparency and collaboration, with details, timelines, and requests for feedback from users. After so much uncertainty about ILLiad's future previously, it was reassuring and exciting for users to see so many new features in the coming months.

I can't wait to see everyone at ALA Annual in the coming months and hope to see many more ILLiad users at the next OCLC Resource Sharing conference in 2020.

ALA Midwinter 2019

by John Brunswick, Business Development Representative

Well, another new year has barely started, and already another ALA Midwinter Meeting is behind us. Many Atlas staff made the trek across the country to Seattle, including yours truly.  As always, we were busy from the moment we touched down at Sea-Tac Airport, attending meetings, talking to customers, and keeping current with developments in the field of librarianship.  

Friday evening was for walking the exhibits and seeing old friends and colleagues.  Saturday morning got off to an early start with the RUSA STARS All Committee Meeting, followed closely by the RUSA STARS ILL discussion Group. Then it was off to our “Office Hours” at the Tap House Grill. 


For the past several Midwinter Meetings we escaped the booth and invited our customers and friends to visit with us offsite. At Midwinter, no booth equals more quality time with our customers, and we weren’t disappointed.  It didn’t hurt that there were great appetizers and 160 beers on tap! Lots of folks came and went from noon till five as we discussed ILLiad, Aeon, Ares and, in many cases, life in general. It was indeed an enjoyable time and we look forward to repeating it soon.


Sunday started somewhat slower, with various meetings and visits to the exhibits.  However, things picked up at 4:30 in the afternoon with the OCLC Resource Sharing Users Group.  Those attending were given an update on recent and upcoming changes to OCLC Delivery Services and related products, including an ILLiad update by Stephanie Spires, Chief Operations and Service Officer here at Atlas Systems.

Next up was the RUSA STARS Midwinter Meetup at the Mexican-themed restaurant Cactus.  Good conversation, food, and drink – who could ask for more?  But our time in Seattle was quickly winding down.

Up way before dawn (at least it was West Coast time) on Monday, out the door, and on the plane home. Another Midwinter Meeting, another satisfying and productive trip.  So, what’s up next?  ALA Annual in Washington of course.  Look for us there in the exhibit hall. Details will be forthcoming.  Until then we look forward to hearing from you and perhaps seeing you at one of the other events we will be attending throughout the Spring.

Kansas City Regional ArchivesSpace Forum

by Anne Marie Lyons, Training and Library Solutions Consultant

The ArchivesSpace members community continues its efforts with organizing regional user forums, most recently at the Midwest Genealogy Center, which is part of the Mid-Continent Public Library system, in Independence, Missouri.

Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Statue of Liberty replica in front of the Midwest Genealogy Center, originally donated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950; then restored in 2008 by the Mayor and City Council and the Beautification Commission of the City of Independence. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Statue of Liberty replica in front of the Midwest Genealogy Center, originally donated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950; then restored in 2008 by the Mayor and City Council and the Beautification Commission of the City of Independence. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Inside the Midwest Genealogy Center. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Inside the Midwest Genealogy Center. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Attendees could choose from two morning workshops – one on controlling data in ArchivesSpace via authority records and controlled vocabulary lists. This workshop was taught by Miloche Kottman, Head of Cataloging and Archival Processing at the University of Kansas. Miloche had great tips to offer about how to handle certain fields. It was the type of ‘boots on the ground’ advice not always included in formal written documentation. 

Some tips I picked up:

-       ArchivesSpace will only recognize Agent duplicates if the Source, Rules, and Name fields are exactly the same in another record. If any one of those fields is different, the records will not be considered duplicates.

-       If the LCNAF import plugin doesn’t seem to be working, and you’re not sure if it is ArchivesSpace or the Library of Congress service, copy and paste the LCNAF URL into a browser. If the page won’t open in a browser, then it’s on the Library of Congress side. The Library of Congress service is typically down between Christmas and New Year’s.

-       Merging records:

  •  If you want to merge two or more Agent records, first open the record that you want to keep.

  • If you want to merge Controlled Vocabulary values, first open the record that you want to delete.

-       If you use the default values template for resource records, your default values will not apply if you create resource records by spawning from an accession record.

-       Standard Note Order only applies on the staff interface; it will not change the order of the notes on the public user interface. (These can be changed by modifying the PUI, however.)

-       If you plan on using the space and extent calculators, the measurement units (i.e. inches, feet, etc.) in your container and location profiles should match the measurement units you typically use in the Extents sub-record

My colleague, Heather Black, attended the other workshop,Introduction to Git and Github: A hands-on workshop, instructed by Jamene Brooks-Kieffer, Associate Librarian at the University of Kansas. Heather writes: “The instructor reviewed the basics of the Git command structure and how it is integrated into GitHub. The uses for this technology can extend beyond software design for general version control. While I probably won't be using Git in my day-to-day work, it was helpful to get a better understanding of this tool, especially as it relates to ArchivesSpace.”

In the afternoon, everyone came together for what evolved into a lively interactive discussion on implementing ArchivesSpace. The conversation was started by Jenna Silver-Baustian, Processing Librarian at the University of Iowa. She spoke about her legacy data project, where they have three different formats of finding aids that they are working on getting into ArchivesSpace. They have found Harvard’s ArchivesSpace Excel Import plugin (https://github.com/harvard-library/aspace-import-excel) to be an invaluable tool, as it allows for the import of archival objects using a CSV file, instead of having to convert to EAD first. There was much discussion about how the plugin actually worked, and Christine Kim, the Community Engagement Coordinator at ArchivesSpace, demoed how to use set up a file and import it, using the plugin.

Next, Madeline Sheldon, Member Representative at LYRASIS, and myself presented on ideas for implementing ArchivesSpace, beginning with setting measurable goals, creating a project plan, options for importing legacy data, resources for training and learning, and community tools, including the ArchivesSpace Awesome List and the JIRA page for submitting bugs and product improvement requests.

Photo by Heather Black

Photo by Heather Black

We were scheduled for break-out discussions after that, but the group remained together and continued their interactive discussions with presenters as they talked about implementing ArchivesSpace at their institutions, where many attendees functioned as lone arrangers, and struggled with getting ArchivesSpace up and running while handling their daily job duties.

Photo by Heather Black

Photo by Heather Black

One of the most helpful ideas came from Todd Zitlow, at the Concordia Historical Institute. He discussed how they divided the ArchivesSpace implementation into phases. They started with describing their most requested materials at a collection level. Phase 2 was to go back and add series-level descriptions. Phase 3 was then to add folder, and occasionally, item-level descriptions. These phases helped them plan more effectively for budgeting and staff availability, as well as gain stakeholder buy-in as more resource descriptions became discoverable online.

All of the presentations are available here: https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ADC/pages/728662017/Kansas+City+Regional+Forum+-+November+2018

ArchivesSpace membership is an important way to support and maintain the viability of ArchivesSpace as an open source asset. You can learn more about membership tiers here: https://archivesspace.org/community/types-of-membership

Christine Kim of ArchivesSpace has organized these valuable and successful regional forums over the past two years. She will be leaving ArchivesSpace at the end of this year for a position with the Online Archive of California. ArchivesSpace is currently looking for a new Community Engagement Coordinator: https://archivesspace.org/archives/3274