ArchivesSpace Member Forum 2016

Thank you to all who joined us for this year's Member Forum. This page will be updated over the next week with presentations and other information from the sessions. Feel free to comment or add your own notes!

Date: August 2, 2016

Location: Robert W. Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center, Atlanta, GA  
(thank you to ArchivesSpace Member Atlanta University Center for making space for us and for all their help in making this event happen!)

Planning Committee

  • Martha Conway, University of Michigan
  • Alex Duryee, New York Public Library 
  • Linda Hocking, Litchfield Historical Society
  • Jason Loeffler, American Academy of Rome
  • Jaime Margalotti, University of Delaware
  • Jenny Mitchell, Louisiana State University
  • Francesca Pitaro, AP Corporate Archives
  • Adrienne Pruitt, Tufts University
  • Elizabeth Russell, University of Maine
  • Mariella Soprano, Caltech
  • Christine Di Bella, ArchivesSpace

Logistical support: Alicia Johnson, Iris Andrews, Erica Waller, Jennifer Bielewski, Jonathan Robinson, and Kenna Juliani, LYRASIS


Please let us know about your experience at the Forum, and give us ideas and suggestions for the next one, whether you were at this year's or not, by completing the short evaluation at  


Morning Program

Workshop presentation



9:00 a.m. to noon

Creating and Managing Digital Objects in ArchivesSpace

Brad Westbrook (ArchivesSpace)

Nancy Enneking (Getty Research Institute)



9:00 a.m. to noon

Introducing the ArchivesSpace REST API using Python 3

R.S. Doiel (Caltech)

Workshop presentation and background materials
9:00 a.m. to noon

Developing Simple Plug-ins to Customize Your ArchivesSpace Experience


Kevin Clair (University of Denver)

Workshop presentation

Afternoon Program





1:00-1:10 p.m.


Christine Di Bella (ArchivesSpace)

1:10-1:25 p.m.

Governance Board Update

Christian Dupont (Boston College)


1:25-1:40 p.m.

Program Update

Brad Westbrook (ArchivesSpace)


1:40-2:00 p.m.

Q&A from audience

Recording of welcome and Board/Program update

notes for welcome and Board/Program update

2:10-3:25 p.m.

Concurrent session block 1

ArchivesSpace Integrations – A Status Report and Look Ahead

Dallas Pillen (University of Michigan), Dustin Stokes (Atlas Systems), Jack O'Sullivan and Martin Springell (Preservica)
Chair: Francesca Pitaro (AP Corporate Archives) 

Pillen presentation

Stokes presentation

Session notes

Managing Containers and Locations in ArchivesSpace: A Look at Newly Added Functionality

Mary Caldera (Yale University), Rachel Searcy (New York University)

Chair: Martha Conway (University of Michigan)

Searcy presentation

Session notes

Getting Involved in the ArchivesSpace Community

Sally Vermaaten (New York University), Gordon Daines (Brigham Young University), Christian Dupont (Boston College)
Chair: Laurie Gemmill Arp (LYRASIS) 

All presentations


Session notes

3:35-4:50 p.m.

Concurrent session block 2

Working with a Hosting Provider 

John Herbert (LYRASIS), Dan Specht (Atlas Systems)

Chair: Elizabeth Russell (University of Maine)

Herbert presentation

Information about LYRASIS ArchivesSpace services

Information about Atlas ArchivesSpace services


Session notes

Data Cleanup Strategies and Tools 

Kate Bowers (Harvard), Dave Mayo (Harvard), Marcus Ladd (Miami University), Jacky Johnson (Miami University)

Chair: Jennifer Mitchell (Louisiana State University)

Johnson and Ladd presentation

Bowers and Mayo presentation and background information

Session notes

How Does ArchivesSpace Work for You?

Joshua Shaw (Dartmouth College): We found that the ArchivesSpace staff search interface wasn’t as useful for discovery purposes as it might be, especially for our public services people. Here’s what we changed and added and an overview of how we did it. I’ll also talk briefly about some of the other customizations and integrations we’ve made, as well as our (early!) plans for a basic circulation plugin.

Miloche Kottman (University of Kansas): ArchivesSpace has several built-in ways to ensure consistent data entry which is particularly useful when working with student and volunteer staff.  I’ll show where/how you can set up these data entry shortcuts in ArchivesSpace and also discuss our use of MacroExpress to ensure additional data entry standardization.

Laurel McPhee (University of California San Diego): If you’ve ever wanted to view and play with all of your collection data—from every ArchivesSpace table—in Access or Excel, an ODBC connection is the solution for you. Learn how to set up this one-way connection and query your way to easy reports and a greater understanding of your database.

Sarah Tanner (Atlanta University Center)

Mark Custer (Yale University)

Lora Davis (Johns Hopkins University): The ArchivesSpace team at Johns Hopkins University’s Sheridan Libraries used its spring 2016 migration from the Archivists’ Toolkit as an opportunity to clean up and resolve longstanding issues with existing descriptive metadata.  Lora Davis will talk about the team’s work on one such project – cleaning and converting existing LCSH subject tracings to FAST headings using, among other things, the ArchivesSpace API, MS Access, OpenRefine, and Python scripts.

Cyndi Shein and Carlos Lemus (UNLV Libraries Special Collections): Supporting Implementation of ArchivesSpace through Plugins: Given the diversity of our legacy data at UNLV, for us to efficiently implement ArchivesSpace (even at a basic level), we need extend its functionalities. Therefore, we’re locally developing and using plugins  to customize reports, import and overlay authority records in the agent module, batch spawn resources from accession records, and customize PDF exports.

Chair: Jaime Margalotti (University of Delaware)

Shaw presentation

Kottman presentation

Custer presentation

Davis presentation

Shein and Lemus presentation

Session notes

4:50-5:00 p.m.



There will be a post-Forum mixer, co-hosted by Registered Service Provider Atlas Systems, at the Hilton Atlanta in Rooms 406/407 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Extend your conversations from the Member Forum, or, if you weren’t able to join us for the Forum, come for light food and drink and to catch up with other ArchivesSpace users as a warmup to your evening in Atlanta.

Staying Connected

The library has free wi-fi and you’re welcome to bring any devices you’d like to connect. We encourage people to tweet any portion of the meeting - or to tweet questions for the meeting sessions from afar - using our suggested hashtag: #aspacemembers16

Description of Workshops

Creating and Managing Digital Object Records in ArchivesSpace - While ArchivesSpace is not a digital asset management system, it does provide functionality for creating and managing essential metadata for your digital materials, and to manage it in the same system as your physical collection materials. Learn more about the Digital Objects module of ArchivesSpace through instruction and hands-on exercises. Instructor: Brad Westbrook, ArchivesSpace

Introducing the ArchivesSpace REST API using Python 3 - While the ArchivesSpace staff interface gives you many options for creating and updating individual records, sometimes you want to do more. The ArchivesSpace Application Programming Interface (API) is a powerful tool that can help you update the value of a field across hundreds of records, change dozens of unpublished finding aids to published, delete unwanted location records in bulk, and export all of your EAD data for use in another system, among other things -- and you don't have to be a developer to use it! Learn more about what it is, what it can do, and how to make it work for you. The workshop will present the basics of working with the ArchivesSpace REST API using Python (version 3). This includes authentication as well as creating, reading, updating, and deleting various types of ArchivesSpace objects (e.g. repositories, agents, accessions, and digital objects). Instructor: R.S. Doiel, Caltech

Developing Simple Plug-ins to Customize Your ArchivesSpace Experience Would you like to change the colors in your public interface, modify the way a particular EAD tag imports, or add some basic, repository-specific functionality to your ArchivesSpace installation? Plugins may be the answer - and you don't have to be a programmer to build them. In this workshop, learn more about the plugin architecture of ArchivesSpace and how archivists and developers can work together to identify, build, refine and improve plugins to make ArchivesSpace meet local needs. Instructor: Kevin Clair, University of Denver

Description of Sessions

How Does ArchivesSpace Work for You? (lightning round) – What have you found to make ArchivesSpace work especially well for you? Have you found an unusual or unexpected use for ArchivesSpace in your repository? Do you have workflows or data entry methods that streamline your work? Come share tips, tricks, and ideas!

Managing Containers and Locations in ArchivesSpace: A Look at Newly Added Functionality – Thanks to development work sponsored by ArchivesSpace members Yale University and New York University the containers and locations areas of the application have been substantially revamped. Come learn more about what’s new and how to make it work for you.

ArchivesSpace Integrations – A Status Report and Look Ahead – For many institutions, ArchivesSpace is just one of the systems used to manage and provide access to collection materials. Come learn about the status of integrations with Archivematica, Aeon, and Preservica and how institutions are revamping their workflows to address work across their systems.

Data Cleanup Strategies and Tools – Working with legacy data, moving data from one system to another, reconciling data creation over time and different staff – all of these require some form of data cleanup. They also typically involve significant discussion and planning, and often the creation of tools that facilitate getting the job done efficiently. Learn what worked (and, in some cases, didn’t work) for two institutions in preparing for major migrations to ArchivesSpace, and get and share ideas about your own cleanup projects.

Getting Involved in the ArchivesSpace Community - ArchivesSpace is not just a software application - it's a community of users working together to improve managing and providing access to collection material at their own institutions and across the wider archival field. Hear from the Chairs of ArchivesSpace's User Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Council and a member of the Governance Board about what these groups do and how to get involved..

Working with a Hosting Provider - Managing the technical side of an ArchivesSpace implementation can be challenging depending on your organizational culture and level of IT support, whether your institution is very small, very large, or somewhere in between. Hear from hosting providers about the services they offer and the ways contracting out for assistance can simplify your ArchivesSpace experience.