2021-4-19 ArchivesSpace Trainers Corps “Office Hour”


Apr 19, 2021 – 2-3pm ET (11-12pm PT)

Topic: How to create a thumbnail image of a digital object in the ArchivesSpace Public User Interface

Over the next year, the Trainers Corps will offer regularly scheduled trainings and office hours covering a variety of topics on all things ArchivesSpace.  Registration for each training will be separate and registration will open closer to each training date. Information about this training program is available at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ADC/pages/2331148319

Trainers in attendance:

Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Montana State University

Mark Custer, Yale University

Nancy Enneking, The Getty

Noah Huffman, Duke University

Miloche Kottman, University of Kansas Libraries

Brittany Newberry, Atlanta University Center

This office hour will not be recorded. Notes from the office hour, including links to shared resources, will be provided below.

General digital objects help:

ArchivesSpace is not a digital asset management system and digital content cannot be ingested or stored in ArchivesSpace.

The ArchivesSpace trainers will be offering a digital objects module training on June 16, 2021. Information about this can be found at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ADC/pages/2331148319

ArchivesSpace Members can access the Help Center documentation on digital objects at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ArchivesSpaceUserManual/pages/890142831 and user tutorial videos at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ArchivesSpaceUserManual/pages/915341360

For all ArchivesSpace users, our Getting Started webpage is a great resource https://archivesspace.org/using-archivesspace/getting-started. You can use the sandbox linked here to try out creating a thumbnail there without worrying about impacting your own implementation.








Jessica Crouch


Demonstration of how to add a thumbnail to a digital object in ArchivesSpace

Noah Huffman, Duke University

To add a thumbnail of an image, you must add a file version subrecord to your digital object that includes a file URI that points to the thumbnail-sized version of the image. You must also set the Xlink Show Attribute to ‘embed.’

Your file version will look something like this:

Questions about this demo

All trainers

How can you make it clear that the thumbnail is an actionable link to a collection/item?
Mark Custer recommended using a similar to Yale (example: https://archives.yale.edu/repositories/11/archival_objects/214877) that makes it clear to the user they can click the image.

What does “make representative” do?
Currently, nothing. There is a ticket to improve this and other digital object functionality. You can review that ticket or comment at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/ANW-1209

Will my photos in AS already have a thumbnail image?
No. If you create a digital object but don’t add a thumbnail, the public user interface will have a generic digital object icon to indicate the existence of digital content (assuming it is published).

I gather by selecting type as thumbnail, it makes a thumbnail of your existing jpg.
ArchivesSpace won’t resize your image to thumbnail size. Be mindful of this when adding your image. Even if you indicate a use statement of thumbnail (which is not required), the image size will not change. You will need to have another system provide that type of service.  However, you can use any JPEG or GIF image (even if larger than a thumbnail), and that image will be somewhat resized.  But, it will take longer to load.



Pre-submitted questions


All trainers

How is it designed to be co-operating with resource module? For example, how I am supposed to catalog a collection with both digital and physical items, sometimes a digital copy of the physical item, sometimes completely different stuff.
Digital objects can be linked to archival objects in resource records via instances. Documentation about how to do this can be found in the Help Center. How you want to use the DO module can depend on your intended purpose. All of the trainers recommend being deliberate about using the module, thinking through what sort of exports you may want from your records (for example, if you want to export METS, complex digital objects with a hierarchical relationship may be the way to go but if you want to export EAD, you’ll want to create simple digital objects and link them individually to your resource records via the instance sub-record), what you want to be your system of record and how you want to manage digital objects before diving in. It is easier to do this early than to wait until you have thousands of digital objects to manage.

Miloche Kottman recommended Erin Wolfe’s Online Forum presentation titled “Automation and integration: Creating digital objects in ArchivesSpace and Islandora.” You can find the recording at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ADC/pages/2146992129

I'm sending an entire record group out for digitization. When the files return, I would like to create a DO for each document in ASpace, That way the availability of a digital file will be noted. Is this how the DO module is intended to be used? How does the DO module connect DOs to resource records?
The digital objects module can definitely be used this way. Brittany Newberry noted this is what they do at Atlanta University Center.

Questions submitted via the Q&A

All trainers

Can you embed multiple photos at the folder level?
Yes, you can do this, but each photo would need to be a separate digital object instance linked to the same folder-level archival object (component) record. Depending on your version of ArchivesSpace, it may be possible. Many of the trainers are able to do this.


We use the spreadsheet to batch import multiple digital objects at once - is there a reason why we can’t associate each digital object at both the component and resource levels? Currently I have to associate it with a component in the spreadsheet, and then go back and manually associate them with the resource level record if I want them to show up there. Example: https://archives.libraries.ou.edu/repositories/2/resources/11909
There is no way to do this currently but it is part of the ticket mentioned above (https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/ANW-1209 ). If you’d like to comment on this functionality, please do!

Can you have two file versions, one with Image-Service and onRequest, and one with Image-Thumbnail and embed, but using the same file URI?  Will that show the image and link to it?
Yes, you could do that.

Is it possible to add thumbnails to the text - e.g. the biographical note or similar - just as an illustration?
It isn’t possible “out of the box” but Mark Custer remembers seeing a workflow an institution developed on the ArchivesSpace wiki. If he is able to locate that, it will be added to the notes.