Why Integrate with ArchivesSpace

As the central repository of archival information for many institutions, ArchivesSpace plays a critical role supporting the daily activities performed by special collections and archives institutions. However, it is only one piece of a larger software ecosystem employed by these institutions, and many institutions maintain several other applications that perform other tasks, such as digital asset management, patron fulfillment workflow management, etc. While the employment of so many systems can have a negative impact on staff efficiency due to increased training needs, disparate workflows, and duplication of work between systems, it doesn’t have to. Integrating these disparate systems together allows institutions to couple various systems together to create efficient workflows that minimize the duplication of work while maximizing the overall benefit of the entire set of applications.

Importance of supporting the open-source software community

Open source software requires the support of its community to keep operating and moving forwards. ArchivesSpace, like all open-source software, depends to some extent on supporting institutions for ongoing sustainability as well as active development.

If your institution is an ArchivesSpace member, then they are already committed to supporting open-source software. However, there are ways to increase that support that benefit both your institution as well as the broader ASpace community such as developing new integrations which can be shared with other community members. The projects work best when they reinforce your institution’s mission and values while helping to meet your institution’s business needs. Additionally, collaborating with another institution on an integration can help you fulfill your needs while giving back to the open source community at the same time.

Integration Scenarios

The following is a list of various in-progress and planned integration scenarios.

Digital Preservation Systems

Some ArchivesSpace institutions make use of digital preservation systems like Archivematica or Preservica for ingest. The descriptive information in ArchivesSpace should be able to aid in appraisal and arrangement, and can replicate this data in digital preservation systems. Furthermore, institutions can write “location” information for digital objects back to ArchivesSpace. In fact, a number of digital preservation integrations already exist.

Content Publication Systems

For ArchivesSpace users that do not use the ArchivesSpace public UI, integration helps them to publish finding aids or other descriptive data to external systems, like Drupal, Hydra, CollectionsSpace or Jekyll. In fact, a number of content publication integrations already exist.

Digital Asset Management and Repository Systems

Metadata for digital objects can exist in both ArchivesSpace and a digital asset management or repository system. This leads to a duplication of metadata between these systems. System integration offers an opportunity to record metadata in one system, relying on the integration to automatically duplicate it in the other.

Furthermore, the staff and public interfaces for ArchivesSpace should be able to show previews of the digital objects, or at least link over to the digital object in the digital asset management systems.

Integrated Library Systems

Many ArchivesSpace institutions have very detailed archival data in ArchivesSpace but also maintain collection level records in their ILS. Additionally, some institutions store their holdings information for rare books and manuscripts in their ILS rather than ArchivesSpace. If one system could synchronize data to the other, there would be less opportunity for inconsistencies and less duplication of work.

Aggregated Discovery Layers

Many ArchivesSpace institutions have implemented multiple ways of searching across the variety of resources that they maintain, such as the ArchivesSpace public UI and published finding aids. Some would like to consolidate their data into a single search interface/discovery layer so that their patrons can search all of their collections in a single place. Stanford is currently working on ArcLight, which is a Hydra/Blacklight product that will be compatible with ArchivesSpace and will support discovery of physical and digital objects described with EAD.

Fulfillment Systems

Some ArchivesSpace institutions use external systems, such as Aeon, for managing the workflows related to fulfilling photoduplication or reading room requests for items in their collections. To better serve their researchers, they need to be able to request these items directly from the ArchivesSpace public UI. For fulfillment requests coming from other systems, such as a digital asset management system, it is possible to augment those requests with the data stored within ArchivesSpace to facilitate more efficient processing and workflows. Conversely, one could augment ArchivesSpace with statistics and other information collected by these fulfillment systems.

Next Steps

We understand that the integrations scenarios we described above do not encompass the entire universe of possible ArchivesSpace integrations. For example, the Integrations sub-team has identified rights management systems and reporting systems as scenarios for possible growth. If you have more integrations, we’d love to hear about them.

A number of integrations with ArchivesSpace already exist or are in their planning stages. The ArchivesSpace Integrations sub-team maintains a list of known integrations on the ArchivesSpace site.

Ready to get started? Check out How to Integrate with ArchivesSpace.