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.