Monday, April 14, 2014

Experimenting with ArchivesSpace

     ArchivesSpace, an open-source archives management software, can be tested by anyone at: There are two options, public and archival staff. The public view shows how users can search the ArchivesSpace software utilizing its search interface, while the archival staff link allows users to experiment with creating finding aids and explore the other options of Archives Space. The username and password of "admin" allows archivists to explore the archival staff version's functionalities, and the sign-in box is located in the top right corner of the page. However, one must thoroughly test out the software, as there is no on-board user guide for assistance.
     ArchivesSpace allows accession records, resources, and digital resources to be created, but only offers minimal guidance on how to fill out the fields, and no beginning guidance is offered. In order to enter information about a collection, a user must click "Create," and then "New Resource." From this point, there are only six required fields: Title, Identifier, Level of Description (a drop-down menu for selecting (class, collection, file, fond, item, etc.), Portion (whole or part), Number (numerical size of collection), and Type (cubic feet, linear feet, etc.).  There are several other fields on this Create stage, including processing notes, related accessions, rights statements, and general notes. Once this form is completed, at the bottom left of the page there is a blue "Save Resource" button. That must be clicked to continue.
     After the New Resource is saved, a button should appear called "Rapid Data Entry." This can be used to add series to a collection. There are several drop-downs about the hierarchical classification, containers, and types of dates (bulk, inclusive, etc.). After this data is input, an EAD-finding aid or MARC record can be exported.
     While ArchivesSpace appears usable, it is definitely clunky. The lack of a user guide is a hindrance. Additionally, sometimes error messages appear that make sense. I was entering the year "1950" as an end date, and received a message saying that the date was wrong. I had to go back, and I lost my entry completely.

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