Archive Management System: October update

  1. Commitment to the project: confirmation needed

We are working towards making the system available to partner organisations for data entry from January 2020 and will be in touch with those organisations that have given a firm commitment to join the project as full participants within the next month. If you need further information about the annual charge for participation, please contact Natalie (ams@lib.cam.ac.uk).

  • Commitment to the project: take up by partner organisations

Currently we have 12 organisations firmly committed to the project, 6 ‘in progress’ (most are waiting for sign-off from a committee due to meet during the Michaelmas term) and 4 interested in participating in the discovery layer only. 11 organisations have expressed some interest but not yet confirmed.

  • September briefing sessions:

Earlier this month we held two briefing sessions about the Archive Management System project which were attended by 60 people from Colleges, Cambridge University Libraries and partner (and potential partner) organisations. The AMS project team were also out in force! Dr Katrina Dean (Senior Responsible Officer), Natalie Adams (Systems Archivist), Jennie Digby (Programme Manager), Bethan Portlock-Carroll (Programme Co-Ordinator), Tuan Pham (Head of Digital Development), Peter Heiner (Senior Developer and Operations Specialist) and Nick Butler (Software Developer) were all on hand.

Natalie provided an update on the project and demonstrated the customised version of ArchivesSpace which is now being used by a team of early implementers from the library and outside. We looked at:

  • the flexibility of the system to create well-structured archival descriptions ranging from richly detailed to minimal detail
  • inbuilt tools to support rapid data entry
  • the ways in which catalogue records can be easily re-ordered, or re-structured as needed

As a ‘proof of concept’ Natalie demonstrated how the AMS team have embedded digital images into ArchiveSpace descriptions, and how those images can act as dynamic links to online content.

The archivist/staff view of ArchivesSpace has been modified in a number of ways to make it more intuitive for archivists who are used to using the International General Standard Archives Description (ISAD(G)). Reference codes have been added to the display of records throughout the interface and ‘rollovers’ (the text which appears as you hover your mouse over a field) have been modified to include local examples and to reference ISAD(G).

  • Controlled vocabularies

In other news, we have also been making progress with controlled vocabularies. At the time of writing, the UK Archival Thesaurus (14628 terms) has been imported into the AMS and we are grateful to the UKAT project for assistance and support with this. Integrating controlled vocabularies into the system will facilitate the creation of finding aids using authorised terms and will help to enhance the users’ experience of searching and finding relevant data.

For further information, please contact ams@lib.cam.ac.uk.

Natalie Adams

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