[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Issue with importing EAD into ArchivesSpace: <unittitle> elements with ID attributes

Hilton, Adrien adrien_hilton at harvard.edu
Mon Sep 10 16:33:57 EDT 2018

Hi Laurel,

This is probably a dumb question, but what mechanism do you use to convert the EAD to CSV. That would be helpful for me as well.


From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> On Behalf Of McPhee, Laurel
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 3:14 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Issue with importing EAD into ArchivesSpace: <unittitle> elements with ID attributes

Hi Jeff,

Other folks might have smarter solutions than I (or more directly answer to why this is happening) but I would suggest this work-around:

Don't round-trip your whole finding aids (export, add data, re-import). I would do the following: take your exported EAD files, convert them to CSV, make sure the new ID elements you want are in a column of the CSV. Then, take that CSV file, using the ASpace-generated item or folder-level REFIDs as "hooks," to make ASpace generate the ID attribute you want directly in the resource record via the API. We haven't done that exact task, so I can't promise it would work, but we've done very similar things (mass additions/creations of data and linking of digital objects) to records using CSVs and the API. Takes some scripting knowledge, and familiarity with using the API-but it sounds like you have that ability.

Hope this is helpful, let me know off-list if you need more details.

Laurel McPhee
Supervisory Archivist, Special Collections & Archives Program
UC San Diego Library | * 858-534-5619 | * lmcphee at ucsd.edu<mailto:lmcphee at ucsd.edu>

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 Suszczynski, Jeffrey
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 11:54 AM
To: archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Issue with importing EAD into ArchivesSpace: <unittitle> elements with ID attributes

Hello, all -

I've searched through the listserv archives and didn't find anything directly related to the issue I am about to describe; apologies in advance if I've missed something and this topic has already been discussed.

At the University of Rochester, we have some finding aids that I've programmatically exported from ArchivesSpace, then modified, adding the attribute 'ID' to our <unittitle> elements so that we can use unique identifiers as a means of linking from our finding aids to digital objects in our instance of Islandora...

>From everything that I can see, this ID attribute for <unittitle> is valid EAD, and the XML does, in fact, validate in oXygen when I test.  However, when I import the finding aid into ArchivesSpace using either the API or the web admin interface of ArchivesSpace, the EAD imports but the ID attributes are stripped out.  I discovered this when later exporting the finding aid (either via the web admin interface or the API) - all of the <unittitle> elements were intact, but no longer had ID attributes... I've tried several tactics in attempts to preserve those ID attributes, thus far to no avail.

Is there a configuration tweak or workaround that anyone is using to accomplish something similar?  It seems strange that ArchivesSpace would silently remove valid EAD attributes upon import, so hopefully this is something with an obvious solution that I've overlooked somehow.

Many thanks in advance for any ideas you may have!


Jeff Suszczynski
Web Developer, River Campus Libraries
University of Rochester

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