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ArchivesSpace at NYU

This guide provides information and assistance on the usage of ArchivesSpace at NYU.

Local ASpace Development

ArchivesSpace is open source and developed using a community membership model, of which NYU is a founding partner. Inherent in this development philosophy is the principle of the community as potential contributors in development, testing, and maintenance, with an eye toward local action that has a global impact. In this spirit, NYU contributes to the overall governance of ArchivesSpace, participates in features voting and prioritization, contributes to community discussion on various issues, shares locally created scripts and plugins, pursues development for functionality that can be useful to the broader professional community, and shares locally created policy documentation and training resources.

EAD Export Customization Plugin

This plugin modifies the ArchivesSpace export to more closely match the EAD that our finding aids publisher expects. This is an interim solution in anticipation of a large-scale re-imagining of our discovery portal and finding aids display that we will begin in the next academic year.

Digitization Work Order Plugin and Digital Object Creation Tool

Prior to implementing ArchivesSpace NYU developed and extensively used Archivist’s Toolkit’s Batch DO 2.1 plugin, which a) generated a spreadsheet of descriptive information for a given set of archival materials being reformatted b) and created digital object records with URIs to digitized material in AT and associated them with relevant archival metadata. ArchivesSpace lacks any similar functionality for both of these operations. As part of our local implementation, we developed a new solution that replicates this functionality with some modest improvements: a plugin developed by Hudson Molonglo that generates a work order for a given set of materials and a locally developed script that posts information about new digital objects to the ArchivesSpace API that prompts the creation of DO records. The work order will be used in parts of some in-house preservation and digitization processes, but a pared down version can also be used for other purposes, such as a packing manifest for sending materials to a vendor, a list of materials for a donor to indicate potentially restricted materials, or an inventory of materials in an exhibition.

Location Management (Now Part of ArchivesSpace Core Code)

Prior to ArchivesSpace, each of NYU’s repositories managed the locations of their archival collections using different tools and systems, with different levels of granularity, and with different protocols for overall stacks maintenance. Part of our larger systems project was deciding upon and implementing a single system for managing the locations of archival materials across our repositories. We sought to determine whether ArchivesSpace met our needs for these purposes and if further development was required in order to use it for overall locations management. Following an analysis of our requirements and a thorough testing protocol, we decided to contract with Hudson Molonglo to develop enhanced location functionality within ASpace in order to better manage our holdings and storage spaces. Key features developed include:

  • Location profiles that describe locations and their capacity

  • Empty space calculator that identifies available space for basic stacks maintenance, shelving new materials, shifting projects, or large-scale planning and prioritization

  • Holdings reports to aid in retrieval and re-shelving of materials, as well as shelf read projects.

After consultation with the ArchivesSpace community and program, it became clear these enhancements would be valuable contributions to the ArchivesSpace core code and they have been merged into release v.1.5.0 in July 2016.

MARC Record Export Customization Plugin

This plugin modifies the ArchivesSpace MARC export to address gaps in the current export functionality, reduce the need for post-export record cleanup, and facilitate portions of our ILS and offsite workflows.