[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Tools for batch updating locations in ArchivesSpace during a collections move

Bolton Kelly Doub bdoub at usc.edu
Tue Jan 7 15:20:29 EST 2020

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for your feedback -- this is very helpful.

And yes, your observations re: where our barcodes exist are correct:

·         ArchivesSpace has all of our granular location info (room, row, range, shelf data), but no box barcodes

·         Our ILS has the box barcodes, but much less specific location info (basically, there is one location code that covers the whole offsite storage facility that we are moving collections from)

I think we will probably end up going with some variation of the processes that you describe in your three bulleted suggestions. I like the approach of batch creating new locations rather than trying to update the existing locations. Regarding the use of the ArchivesSpace API to re-associate all of the containers to their new locations, do you have any resources, webinars, tutorials, github repositories, etc. that you could point us to that might help us start on this process? I have seen some of the resources for batch editing barcodes in ArchivesSpace through the API <https://www2.archivists.org/groups/research-libraries-section/batch-editing-barcodes-in-archivesspace-through-the-api>, but I’m not sure if these address the re-association of containers to new locations.

To your last point, we will need to keep all of the granular locations in ArchivesSpace because of the way we use Aeon in connection with ArchivesSpace to retrieve patron requests for archival material. Though I agree with you that this project should serve as an opportunity to get all of the box barcodes into ArchivesSpace.

Thanks again for your help and please let us know about relevant API tools if you know of any.


Bo Doub
Archival Projects Librarian
USC Libraries Special Collections
Doheny Memorial Library, Room B22

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> On Behalf Of Custer, Mark
Sent: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 11:13 AM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Tools for batch updating locations in ArchivesSpace during a collections move


This sounds like a very tricky / fun project!

Though I have not gone through the exact same scenario, I have gone through a process of matching containers in finding aids with item records in corresponding MARC records in an ILS.  As with most problems of this type, I suspect that you will find that there are a variety of data disagreements between the multiple systems (e.g. a finding aid that references 50 different boxes, whereas you might have 52 different item records for that same collection in your ILS) and sometimes none of them agree with reality.

It sounds like you have location data in ArchivesSpace, but no barcodes…. Is that right?  If so, I’d probably suggest storing both the barcodes and the locations in ArchivesSpace, or barring that, just adding the location data to your ILS and keeping the barcodes there.  Better to have all of that data in one system, I’d think, rather than have it split.  But, in my mind, since ArchivesSpace is what’s going to be describing the entire collection, in the long run it might be easier to have the barcodes in ArchivesSpace, since you can’t just create a new top container record and *not* have it linked to description in your finding aid, whereas you certainly can add an item record to your ILS and not have that linked to any description in a finding aid.

Anyhow, if your ultimate goal is to add all of this data to ArchivesSpace, I’d suggest:

  *   Creating new locations for the new offsite facility rather than trying to batch update the existing locations (since there won’t be a one-to-one correspondence with the container associated with those locations);
  *   Using the API to re-associate all of those containers with their new location;
  *   Bonus:  try to see if you can get those barcodes into ArchivesSpace, since at the very least trying that out will alert you to those cases where there’s a disagreement between what’s in both systems (that said, you can’t rely on simple counts alone when making that comparison, since I’ve definitely stumbled across cases where the finding aid might have, say, boxes 1-3, and the ILS for that same collection has boxes 1-2 and something else, like, oversized folder A… so both agree that there are 3 containers… and yet, in reality, there might be 4 containers: three boxes and an oversized folder labelled A😊).

Last, is there another system aside from ArchivesSpace that keeps track of your offsite locations?  I ask because you might not need to be so granular when creating locations in ArchivesSpace in that case.  For instance, at Yale we have a single location for an off-site location – in ASpace we just know that they are off site, and another systems keeps track exactly where that barcode is stored in that offsite facility.  So, perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I wonder if you couldn’t just create a single location code in ArchivesSpace for the new offsite facility, and then update all of the top containers currently associated with the multiple locations from the current facility to the new one?


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 Bolton Kelly Doub
Sent: Monday, 06 January, 2020 4:01 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Tools for batch updating locations in ArchivesSpace during a collections move

Hi All,

At the University of Southern California, we are preparing to move a high volume of archival collections (basically the contents of an entire offsite storage building) from one offsite facility to another. We are investigating tools and methods for batch updating locations in ArchivesSpace to spare us from having to edit each location record’s building, room, row, range, shelf, etc. fields individually.

One additional challenge to this task is that the capacity of each destination shelf in the new building will not necessarily match the capacity of the corresponding shelving in the old offsite storage building. In many cases, a set of boxes that shared the same shelf in the old facility will be split up into different shelves in the new facility.

Most of the boxes that are moving have unique barcodes displayed on each box. Most of these boxes also already have locations in ArchivesSpace (with building, room, row, range, and shelf values applied at the box level). However, the box barcodes are only documented in USC’s ILS system (Alma/Primo). The barcodes are not documented in our instance of ArchivesSpace.

Has anyone on this list worked through a collections move under similar conditions using ArchivesSpace? Do you know of any relevant plugins or ArchivesSpace API tools that we could use to batch change locations?

Thank you in advance for any help or feedback.

Happy New Year,

Bo Doub
Archival Projects Librarian
USC Libraries Special Collections
University of Southern California
Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway, Room B22
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189
bdoub at usc.edu<mailto:bdoub at usc.edu>

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