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

Visiting Shared Storage Facility for the Emory and Georgia Institute of Technology Libraries' Collections

by: Angela Mott, Team Leader

November 13th, right before the Access Services Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I was able to tour the Library Service Center(LSC) that houses the shared collections of Emory University and Georgia Tech University libraries. 

It was an unassuming, lovely one story facility from the outside, but once inside you realize that, like the Tardis, it is bigger on the inside!

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We toured the processing areas and then went on to see the stacks of high density shelving. The shelves were 32 feet high, and Chris Britt-Rogers showed us how long each aisle is by walking to the end for this photo. It's well over a 150 feet long! We spent time at the LSC talking about how implementing the Electronic Delivery Utility would save staff time and improve efficiency in ILL Lending. We also talked about getting ILLiad working with their Storage Management software. I was even able to talk with their vendor at the conference that week about it, and they are already working with our developers!

During my Atlanta visit I was also able to meet with ILL and Reserves staff at Emory and Georgia Tech to talk about ILLiad and Ares as well. Lots of ideas for enhancements, as well as being able to help answer questions they'd had about their ILLiad and Ares software. All in all, I'd say all our brains were very full by the end of our visits, and then we were able to spend the next two days at the conference learning even more. This is one of my favorite conferences, and I love having the opportunity to visit two of our valued ILLiad and Ares sites at the same time!

Fourth Annual ArchivesSpace Members Forum

By: Anne Marie Lyons, Training and Library Solutions Consultant


The fourth ArchivesSpace Members Forum was held on August 14, 2018, during the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, in Washington, D.C., at the historic Josephine Butler Parks Center, otherwise known as the ‘Embassy of the Earth.’

Josephine Butler Parks Center – historical mansion.      Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Josephine Butler Parks Center – historical mansion. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Josephine Butler Parks Center – historical mansion.     Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Josephine Butler Parks Center – historical mansion. Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

The first morning session was a varied round of lightning talks. I particularly enjoyed Rachel Maderik’s (Virginia Military Institute) presentation on the benefits (improved cataloging speed and patron understanding) and disadvantages (possible loss of context, particularly in browsing) of using FAST subject terms in ArchivesSpace for a small archive.

Other highlights included Seth Shaw from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who discussed the university’s present ArchivesSpace integration with Drupal, as well as their work with linking ArchivesSpace description records to digital objects in CONTENTdm. Valerie Addonizio from Johns Hopkins University and Dave Mayo from Harvard showcased scripting options that could be used to take advantage of the API functionality.

Later in the morning, there were in-depth presentations on integrating ArchivesSpace with different discovery platforms, including Primo (Benn Joseph at Northwestern), WorldCat and EBSCO (Sarah Ponichtera from Seton Hall University), and Alma (Kevin Clair at the University of Denver). The speakers discussed their goals, methods, and lessons learned from the integrations, as well as future directions.

Participants at the Fourth Annual ArchivesSpace Members Forum - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Participants at the Fourth Annual ArchivesSpace Members Forum - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

After lunch, attendees had a number of sessions to choose from. I signed up for the” Introduction to the API using ArchivesSnake” workshop. ArchiveSnake is a library of Python scripts that can be used to perform bulk tasks in ArchivesSpace, such as record editing. You can learn more about the library here: https://github.com/archivesspace-labs/ArchivesSnake. The API portion of the workshop was presented by Valerie Addonizio of Johns Hopkins University and Lora Woodford of LYRASIS: https://github.com/archivesspace/api-training. Dave Mayo from Harvard discussed the ArchivesSnake library.

Dave Mayo, Harvard University, presenting on ArchivesSnake - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Dave Mayo, Harvard University, presenting on ArchivesSnake - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

The forum wrapped up with a group discussion about the future of ArchivesSpace. First, attendees discussed what they found valuable in ArchivesSpace as it exists now. Highlights include its ability to manage data for archival collections, its scalability from large to small institutions, and its ability to make data reusable and repurpose-able. Then they discussed whether ArchivesSpace should be doing more than it is already doing. Some attendees recommended that the digital objects and appraisal components should be improved. Regarding the future of ArchiveSpace, most participants agreed that integrations with other systems, including Alma and digital asset management systems, should be built and packaged in a way that makes it easier for institutions to implement. 

The program and presentation slides can be found here: https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ADC/pages/634650626/ArchivesSpace+Member+Forum+2018. Atlas Systems also had the honor of recording the sessions, which can be viewed in the video training library: https://training.atlas-sys.com/Course/Details/4323.

Cassandra Norman, Content Manager and Videographer, Atlas Systems - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

Cassandra Norman, Content Manager and Videographer, Atlas Systems - Photo by Anne Marie Lyons

ArchivesSpace is an open-source initiative that survives and thrives on active user membership and participation. Please visit this link: http://archivesspace.org/community/types-of-membership to learn more about membership.