[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection management - processing status disappeared...

Brad Westbrook brad.westbrook at lyrasis.org
Wed Nov 18 18:04:27 EST 2015


Certainly it is possible and reasonable to have a discussion of how to adjust this change in functionality to make it more satisfying and less confusing, including reverting back to the functionality first included in ArchivesSpace.

As I recall that functionality, it consisted of the ability to link a single collection management record to a material description record (accession, resource, or digital object but not components for resources and digital objects)  and, further, to  indicate in that collection management record the processing status of the material being described.  Default terms were “completed”, “in_progress”, and “new”, but the controlled value list was completely configurable.  So institutions could add any terms they wanted to that list but they could only ever apply one status term to the material being described at a given time.

We removed this field from the collection management field with the understanding such data would be better handled as event information and with the understanding that a change in status is first an event accomplished at a time and by an agent.  We envisioned several benefits to this change:

1)      As before, an organization has complete liberty to decide what terms it wants to use for expressing processing events and changes in processing status, as well as for any other events an institution chooses to track.  The “Event Event Type” list is completely configurable.

2)      An event record allows much more information to be associated with the event, including a descriptive note about the event, when the event occurred, and who was responsible for the event.  It struck us that knowing that processing of a collection was completed on a certain date and by a certain individual could be more useful information that know processing was simply completed.

3)      Multiple event records can be associated to the same material description record.  For instance, using event records it would be possible to indicate when processing of material started in one event record and when it was completed in another.

4)      Multiple event records can be linked to component  records.  Thus for processing projects split into parallel parts, it would be possible to track, say, the processing progress of series.

In short, our belief is that the collection management record in conjunction with event records provides a more comprehensive and flexible way for organizations to record collection management information.  In that relationship, the collection management record is the location for planning—indicating processing priority, estimating processing time, indicating processing plan(s) and processor(s), but also noting funding source and whether rights are determined (it’s questionable whether or not these last two should be included in the collection management record)—while the event record is for recording completion (or not) of processing / administrative tasks associated with the materials—acquiring a purchase agreement, starting processing, completing processing, etc.

There are requisites for this, of course:

1)      Institutional policies regarding what events are to be tracked and what event vocabulary is to be used.

2)      A process for creating and sharing reports that relate material descriptions, collection management, and events in meaningful ways.  A segment of the ArchivesSpace community has been working to develop a reporting process, but the trajectory being taken will place the burden on institutions to define reports (You can, btw, see a record of this effort at https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/display/AC/2015-16+Reports (current work)  and https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/display/AC/Reports+Sub-team (past work). It was also noted in the ArchivesSpace developers meeting last week, that information of this type would be very suitable for displaying in a dashboard widget.  Of course, institutions can already build their own reporting and define their own reports by using report software to extract and format data from the ArchivesSpace MySQL database.

But these would be requisites for any collection management information, supplemented or not by event information.  They would be requisites for a reversion for a return to the previous data model.

Let me close with two observations to other parts of this thread:

1)      The display problem that Noah noted in his comment yesterday is a remnant of moving collection status to events.  There is a bug report requesting its correction at AR-1324<https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/AR-1324>.

2)      The presence of the “Collection Management Processing Status” in the list of controlled values is also remnant of that change.  It should be removed , unless there is a collective decision to revert.  Thanks for pointing that out, Kelly.

So it would be great to hear others weigh in on this.  Collection management and event information have, as far as I know, no prevailing models or standards that we can simply follow.  The closest to such is the de facto collection management sub-record created for accessions in the Archivists’ Toolkit, which was generalized for all top-level material descriptions in ArchivesSpace and supplemented by the inclusion of events.  The ArchivesSpace event module is itself an extension of the PREMIS events.


Brad W.

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org [mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org] On Behalf Of MATTHEW R FRANCIS
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 4:49 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection management - processing status disappeared...

For the reasons outlined by Kate, and seconded by Glynn, we have also found this change rather confusing, and unfortunately it has hampered our ability to identify and report on various issues related to processing status, including the previously mentioned backlog issue.

I do not know if this is an issue that others would like revisited, but from our perspective we would welcome a conversation on if there is better alternative moving forward (including possibly reverting back to the pre-v1.3 set-up).


Matt Francis
Archivist for Collection Management
Special Collections Library
Penn State University

From: "Glynn Edwards" <gedwards at stanford.edu<mailto:gedwards at stanford.edu>>
To: "Archivesspace Users Group" <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>>
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:13:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection        management        -        processing        status disappeared...

Hi Kate,

We're on the same page...I too find this rather confusing. It is not straightforward enough for tracking status of collections across holdings easily.



Glynn Edwards
Head, Technical Services
Director, ePADD project
Special Collections
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
(650) 521-2255 | gedwards at stanford.edu<mailto:gedwards at stanford.edu>

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org>> on behalf of Bowers, Kate A. <kate_bowers at harvard.edu<mailto:kate_bowers at harvard.edu>>
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 1:08 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection management - processing status disappeared...

I am very confused.  Can you explain how this is would work? How is an archivist supposed to understand an accession’s status from one or more associated “events” rather than from a straightforward status?  I can also see how this would make reporting out backlogs really difficult.

The reason I ask is that I can see how an event can lead to a status, but it is entirely possible that a status may have no associated event.  Furthermore, the same type of event may lead to different statuses.

In brief, status is not the same as “event”.  I can think of a couple of examples to illustrate this:

•        “Unknown” can be a status, but it has no associated event

•        “Partially processed” can be both a status an event.  However, if one “partially processes” an accession once, then the accession remains partially processed.  If one “partially processes” again, it could be that the processing has been completed and the accession’s status is now “processed” or it could be that the accession is still only “partially processed” and that additional processing events will be necessary to reach a “processed” status.



Kate Bowers

Collections Services Archivist for Metadata, Systems, and Standards

Harvard University Archives

kate_bowers at harvard.edu<mailto:megan_sniffin-marinoff at harvard.edu>


voice: (617) 384-7787

fax: (617) 495-8011

web: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:archives

Twitter: @k8_bowers

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> [mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org] On Behalf Of Noah Huffman
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:01 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection management - processing status disappeared...

Hi Kelly,

During a previous release (v1.3), I think Processing Status was moved from the collection management subrecord to an Event record.  Here is a JIRA issue describing this change: https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/AR-827<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__archivesspace.atlassian.net_browse_AR-2D827&d=CwMFAg&c=WO-RGvefibhHBZq3fL85hQ&r=wwc_Z_TbmWbPFh7My2zRxmrGgCNO-71Fwzlmd8YZVUY&m=KjdPV61xIn7OR7Ks9cg6HRC91WufUrZNTXFAT4skW8w&s=AZTgid9lXUTh7glUns7pyqqX7w28sAhx7rK3QIIMb8o&e=>

Here are some specifics:

Remove “Processing Status” Collection Management sub-record

If data is present, migrate to Event record with these settings and linked to same record collection management sub-record is linked to:

Type = “Processing [Value in Collection Management Record for Processing Status]”

Date/Time Specifier = “Time stamp for last modification of Collection Management record”

Label= Agent relationship



Agent=ID of agent last modifying the collection management sub-record

So, if you previously had processing status in a collection management subrecord, you might try browsing your event records to see if you can locate that data.

Hope this helps,



Noah Huffman

Archivist for Metadata, Systems, and Digital Records

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Duke University | 919-660-5982


From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> [mailto:archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org] On Behalf Of Kelly Spring
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 2:40 PM
To: archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Collection management - processing status disappeared...


Our Processing Status field is visible when using the Manage Controlled Value Lists feature; but is not present when actually working within a collection management sub-record in an accession or resource. Any tips or advice out there?

Thank you and have a great day!


Kelly Spring

Archivist for Special Collections

University of California, Irvine Libraries

(949) 824-6573




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