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