Using the Archivists' Toolkit: Hands-on practice and related tools


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Workshop for the Southern California Technical Processes Group

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  • Archivists’ Toolkit is an open source software program that combines many aspects of archival collection management into a single database. It allows you to do the following…
  • You might hear me talking about AT and think – wait, what about this ArchivesSpace? Isn’t it going to replace all the work I’m doing? Here’s what we know about ArchivesSpace.The organizational home for ArchivesSpace will be LYRASIS, so there is more sustainability being built into the program and community. Migration of AT and Archon data has been part of the plan since the beginning, so I encourage all of you to use these tools until ArchivesSpace is released.
  • To run the client, it is necessary to have a database backend. There are instructions for installing a database for the program on the AT website. For those of you here who I expect do not have an IT department to provide server space or support for a database backend, I urge you to take a look at the CDL’s hosted service. They will help you get set up and provide the database for FREE. Everything looks the same from your staff workstations. We are actually going to be using the hosted version of AT today.
  • Open up Archivists’ Toolkit on your desktop. Use the temporary user name I gave you when you came in. The password is simply SCTPG, in all lowercase letters. Let me know if you have any problems. As I mentioned, this is a test hosted instance from the CDL that may include test items and errors!Now, you should all come to a screen that looks like this. Many of these buttons on the Menu/Command Zone will be the same, especially the New Record button (it looks like a little record!), Reports, Delete, and List All.
  • Live demo. Be sure to demo search editor. I’ve never used linked records search – you can do this in a record! Or by accession…if accessions have unique titles that don’t match resources, this might be helpful.
  • Review all buttons.
  • Repository records can be used to identify your institution/repository, and distinguish separate repositories within the same institution. You are required to have at least 1 repository. You can also add repository statistics, connected to the Archival Metrics project.
  • Basic Information tab
  • Accession Notes tabInventory can point to file location if transcription not necessary.External Documents: can point to a local file directory, although in the past this has had issues with bugs.
  • Handouts: DACS errata; 3 packets from Carole
  • Accessible through OAC Contributor Dashboard website – only for contributors!Required: Title, Filing Title, Date, Collection Number, Abstract, Language, Access Conditions, Scope and Content note. Yeah!
  • Most archivists deal with three types of accessions: accessions that make up new collections; accessions that are additions to unprocessed collections; and accessions that are additions to processed collections. I’m interested in examples of how unprocessed accessions are being represented within finding aids.
  • Christine Weideman’s 2006 article introduced the MPLP philosophy earlier in the archival life cycle. Weideman describes Yale’s goal to perform minimal processing during the accessioning process, including the creation of a finding aid.
  • First, exposing accessions that make up an entirely new collection. In Archivists’ Toolkit, we create accession records with a box inventory, abstract, date and extent info, and access note. We connect the accession to a Resource record and make it minimally compliant with DACS.
  • Here’s how an unprocessed accession becomes a collection-level finding aid. There’s no inventory, but the abstract provides a summary. Our access note asks researchers to contact us in advance to request access – we can review potential restrictions upon request.
  • What we are thinking about doing is incorporating box-level inventories into the container list, as shown in this example from Yale. There’s something liberating about exposing the box-level inventory from an accession record!
  • Next, accessions that are additions to unprocessed collections. We connect the accession to the existing resource record, update the extent and dates…
  • …and add supplemental information to the Scope and Content Summary, describing the newest addition to the collection. We have summarized both the description and inventory notes from the accession.
  • The collection remains unprocessed, and the new accession is described in the collection-level finding aid. Perhaps this is another opportunity to incorporate a box-level inventory in the container list…however, nearly all of our collection-level records are just that: a summary of the collection at the highest level, so there’s no inventory to begin with.
  • Here’s one of our RecordEXPRESS records. The supplemental documents appear under the “Additional collection guides” note.When we accession something into an unprocessed collection, I could add the box inventory here.
  • Finally, accessions that are additions to processed collections. After linking the accession to the resource, we update extent and dates at the collection level.We also create a series-level component for the new accession. We give it a title such as “Unprocessed correspondence” along with dates and extent. And then, at the component level, we add a scope and contents and access note based on the accession.
  • The unprocessed records appear in the list of collection contents as a series-level component. All notes appear along with the title, including the scope and contents note and access note.
  • Here is an example from Emory, which is very close to our experiments at UCI. They have a series specifically for unprocessed additions, which includes a scope and content note and a box number range.
  • This example from Duke lists an addition as a separate series and includes a box-level inventory.
  • Here’s an example from Yale of accessions as series-level components in a finding aid. The main difference is that they have minimally processed the accession, including folder ranges (we don’t tend to get that far at UCI).
  • We’re watching things like web statistics, comments on blog posts, and research requests to help us define clearer processing priorities. I try to remember that ACCESS is the point of accessioning, and ultimately the point of processing. Archivists are moving into the world of“patron-driven archival processing,” led by an effort to provide access to descriptions of ALL OF THEIR HOLDINGS.
  • Using the Archivists' Toolkit: Hands-on practice and related tools

    1. 1. Using the Archivists’ Toolkit Hands-on practice and related tools Southern California Technical Processes Group Workshop Audra Eagle Yun, MLIS, CA Archivist, Special Collections & Archives UC Irvine Libraries October 25, 2012
    2. 2. What is Archivists’ Toolkit? • Recording accessions • Describing archival materials and digital objects • Controlling basic authorities for names and subjects • Managing locations • Exporting EAD, MARCXML, METS/MODS/Dublin Core records • Tracking sources / donors • Describing archival resources and digital objects • Importing legacy data in standardized formats (MARCXML and EAD, including batch import for EAD files) and non-standard formats (accessions XML or tab-delimited data files) • Interface customizations • Support for MySQL, MS SQLServer, and Oracle backends
    3. 3. What’s all this about ArchivesSpace? • Collaborative project funded by Mellon Foundation between NYU, UCSD, and UIUC • Creating a “next generation archives management application” to replace Archon and Archivists’ Toolkit • Expected to integrate fully with Archon and AT legacy data • Technical requirements and functional specifications available on the website • Anticipated release: May 2013
    4. 4. Getting Started with AT Check out Click on… Input database connection information Or, go to and check out…
    5. 5. The AT Interface: Activity 1
    6. 6. Activity 1 • Open up each module by using or double-clicking • Sort lists by double-clicking column titles • Note: you can customize lists in Setup – Configure Application and choosing your module • Open a Resource record (1 record open at a time) • Review basic components of a record • Use “Filter search results” • Note: filtering searches only the list screen! • Click “Search” and test Search Editor • Note: searches can include components and linked records • Also, you can customize the list using Setup – Configure Application (“ResourcesComponentsSearchResults”)
    7. 7. Basic parts of a record
    8. 8. Activity 2: Repository Records • Required to have at least 1 repository • Archivists’ Toolkit has required fields that automatically fill in headers for EAD (DACS compliant!) • Setup – Repositories • Click “Add Record” • Add the following: • Repository Name* • Short Name* • Agency Code** • Descriptive Language** • Agency URL** • *: required by AT • **: required by OAC
    9. 9. User Records • Setup – Users • 5 access classes, where level 5 is “superuser” • Adding/editing user records is possible for level 5 and 4 • Levels and permissions are defined in Appendices of AT User Manual
    10. 10. Creating and Assigning Locations • Record shelf locations for accessions and resources • Classify by space in repository, barcode, or unique classification number • Space can zoom in to building, floor, room, and stacks coordinates
    11. 11. Activity 3: Adding Locations1. Go to Tools – Locations1. Click on “Add Record”1. Enter a Building name and Coordinate 1 Label (ie Range 12). You can also enter a Barcode, or enter a Classification Number1. Do a Batch Add for a range of coordinates – note: the ranges can be alpha or numeric. Be sure to choose your repository
    12. 12. Activity 4: Accession Records• Open Accessions module• Click on an Accessions record (each record open only 1 person at a time)•Only required elements: Accession number and Accession date• Accession numbers must be unique, and can have up to 4 elements• Hovering over fields reveals DACS references!• Can link to Resource records – many fields map to the Resource record, avoidingunnecessary duplication• Run a Report for an existing Accession
    13. 13. Other tabs in Accessions • User defined fields tab • Can be customized (see Chapter 15 of guide) • Names and Subjects tab • See Chapter 13 of guide (we will discuss this momentarily) • Acknowledgements, Restrictions, and Processing Tasks tab • Space to note restrictions and other administrative tasks • Can indicate processing and cataloging priorities
    14. 14. Adding Names and Subjects • Works the same way for Accessions and Resources • Click or in Names and Subjects tab • As you build your thesaurus, you can use Filter to search • For Names, Name Link Function is required; role is optional • You can create a new Name or Subject. Typical sources include LCSH, AAT, ULAN, TGN • To remove, simply click or
    15. 15. Activity 5: Creating a Resource Record • We’re going to create a Resource from a linked Accession, but you can always create a new Resource in the Resources module • Choose an Accession record (again, can only be opened by 1 user at a time) • In the Basic Information tab, go to • Click on “Link Resource” and then select “Create Resource” • A new Resource record should appear! • Let’s review the mapped elements…and what appeared from your record
    16. 16. Activity 5, continuedRequired elements of a Resource Record • Level •Unique Identifier (Create one based on your user number, ie SCTPG.01) • Title • Date Expression and/or Begin Date and End Date • Extent Number and Extent Measurement • Language • Once all of these are completed, AT will allow you to save the record.
    17. 17. Activity 5, continued:Resource component records • To describe components of a collection, such as series, sub-series, files, and items • Created using • Required: Level, Title, and Date Expression • In your Resource record, click on “Add Child” • Describe the following: • A series of correspondence from 1909-1925 • The series number is 3 • Create a sibling of the series you just created: • A file of photographs that are undated
    18. 18. Activity 5, continued:Instances • How to tell AT the physical representation of the intellectual content • Can create multiple instances for multiple derivatives of a component • Select your series example • Go to •Click on “Add Instance” • Select your Instance type • Designate a Box and Folder (you can customize these fields) • Click “OK”
    19. 19. Activity 5, continued:Adding Locations • After you’ve added Instances, you can click on • Select your Container • Select your Location (can filter by name) • You can create new Locations from this window by clicking on • For Accession records, the Locations are added at the record level (not based on Instances) • You can run reports on specific locations, showing where your collections are located on the shelves! Go to Tools – Locations
    20. 20. Notes, Etc. and Deaccessions tab • 29 notes can be added at resource or component level • Go to • All of the notes are DACS compliant. Refer to DACS and AT Manual for examples! •When you select a note, you can edit Note Label to change what is displayed in EAD • Note content can be formatted using “Wrap in tag” • Advanced settings and customizations detailed in AT Manual
    21. 21. Finding Aid Data tab • Used to manage outputs, particularly EAD • Administrative information about the resource
    22. 22. Stretch break / obligatory cuteness Also…
    23. 23. I’ve got my descriptions in what? • Export EAD and share your finding aids • Export MARC and share your catalog records • How to export EAD • Open a Resource record, or • Select multiple records in the Resources list • Then click on • Indicate component levels <c01>vs<c> (OAC requires numbered) • Indicate if you want to suppress “Internal” notes • Indicate if you want <dao> (digital objects; see AT Manual) • Save in your preferred location with EAD Identifier from Data tab • An Export Log will appear
    24. 24. Getting EAD into OAC • Visit • Become an OAC Contributor (it’s free!) • Export your EAD and edit it (very slightly) to be consistent with the OAC Best Practice Guidelines for EAD • Submit your EAD files (here’s a screencast!)
    25. 25. Exporting and managing MARCXML from AT 1. Click on for one or multiple records 2. Examine the 520 AND 545 fields in XML editor 3. Use MarcEdit to convert MARCXML into MARC 4. Import MARC record into OCLC Connexion Client Online Save File (can use Constant Data) 5. Delete all Fixed Fields except: Type; BLvl, Desc, Elvl, Srce, DtSt, Dates, Ctrl, Lang, and Ctry (all others should be blank) 6. Edit Variable Fields as needed 7. Note you must have finding aid URL to add 856 Questions? Contact Carole McEwan, Cataloger 949.824.4174
    26. 26. And now for a commercial break… Lack of staffing or other issues preventing use of AT? Got legacy finding aids you’d like to get online? Wish there were an easier way to create finding aids, like a web form? If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions, try…
    27. 27. RecordEXPRESS features Edit records directly and export EAD finding aids… …and add PDF inventories or preliminary finding aids.
    28. 28. So…how can we apply MPLP using AT?
    29. 29. “During the accessioning process, whenever possible, wearrange and describe the materials, including the creation ofthe finding aid, so that they are ready for research use andnever enter our backlog. In short, we apply processingstandards such as those recommended by Greene andMeissner during the accessioning process.”
    30. 30. Recommended Resources & Readings On Efficient Processing On use of Archivists’ Toolkit and EAD/MARC
    31. 31. THANK YOU! Audra Eagle Yun, MLIS, CA | 949.824.2263