[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Component unique identifiers

Chris Mayo mayoc at bc.edu
Mon Nov 5 14:53:46 EST 2018

Hi Adrienne,

We ran into a similar issue at Boston College when we migrated from to
ASpace from Toolkit. Our practice had been to combine the collection ID
with an auto-generated refID to create component unique identifiers, but
the auto-generated refIDs in Aspace were much too long for our needs.

What we eventually wound up doing is using the database primary key for a
given archival object as the unique part of its component unique ID, so
that any given for an archival object we're planning to digitize gets a CUI
with the format of 'mmsID_NNNNN" where the numerical portion is pulled from
the 'archival_object_NNNNN' at the end of the archival object's URL. The
really handy part of this is that it lets us parse our CUIs to make API
calls. It's also robust to rearrangement, if you are only moving the
archival object around within the collection hierarchy - the database key
remains the same. It doesn't survive reprocessing, however, if you are
deleting/rebuilding/combining archival objects, so we always make sure to
begin the process of digitization after a collection has been processed or
reprocessed. It makes the CUIs somewhat semantically meaningful - but only
if you know what you are looking at. We're still not sure how we feel about
that, but it's what works for us for now.

Hope that helps!

On Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pruitt, Adrienne <Adrienne.Pruitt at tufts.edu>

> Hello, all,
> We’re hoping to move away from semantically meaningful component unique
> identifiers, but need some way to be able to easily auto-generate a unique
> identifier that could be used for file-naming purposes in digitization
> projects. Working with legacy data, we have seen that there can be value in
> being able to easily associate a binary file floating around on a server
> somewhere with a relatively easily parsed identifier that links it to its
> related metadata. However, semantically meaningful identifiers based on
> collection structure  are a rather brittle system prone to breaking when
> collections are rearranged or reprocessed and easy to mis-enter when
> working with so many digits. We’re interested to hear how others are
> handling their identifiers (particularly in regards to digitization
> workflows.)
> Thank you!
> *Adrienne Pruitt *| Collections Management Archivist
> Digital Collections and Archives
> Tufts University
> adrienne.pruitt at tufts.edu |617-627-0957
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Chris Mayo
Digital Production Librarian
Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library
Boston College
chris.mayo at bc.edu
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