[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Approach to describing single items

Rees, John (NIH/NLM) [E] reesj at mail.nlm.nih.gov
Fri Feb 4 09:39:46 EST 2022

Hi Amy,

We use Option 2 and also rely on the CUI for Digital Object IDs and downstream digitization processes.

We used this same pattern in our legacy EAD authoring/discovery system in a component description (<did>…<unitid>) and continued it into aspace.


John P. Rees
Archivist and Digital Resources Manager
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
Teleworking M-F 8:00AM – 4:30PM Eastern Time each day until further notice

From: Cory Nimer <cory_nimer at byu.edu>
Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2022 3:36 PM
To: amy.braitsch at bc.edu; Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Approach to describing single items

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We use the Option 1 here, though we also have had some concerns with the PUI thumbnail display at this level. Looking ahead, we are hoping that the display issues will be fixed with the 3.2.0 release--the release candidate notes reference ANW-810 (https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/ANW-810), which seems to cover this use case. There are also some proposed fixes for this issue in the draft specification for ANW-1209 (https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/browse/ANW-1209), which was under discussion by the Development Prioritization Subteam in their meeting on Tuesday (https://archivesspace.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/AC/pages/3022716936/2022-02-01+Meeting+notes).


Cory Nimer
University Archivist
Brigham Young University

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 Amy Braitsch
Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2022 8:20 AM
To: Archivesspace_Users_Group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:Archivesspace_Users_Group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Approach to describing single items

Hey there ASpace list,

At BC we're working toward implementing the PUI. To get there we've remediated a lot of legacy data and data practice. An area we haven't handled yet is what to do with single item resources (e.g. a diary). We've been inconsistent and need to settle on one approach. I'd like to know what you've found to be the best approach and why.

Here are the two approaches we’ve taken. I see pluses and minuses:

Option 1: Resource without archival objects, with instances/digital objects associated at the collection level. This makes logical sense, but the PUI displays these containers/digital objects differently than on collections with instances on the archival objects. The biggest difference in the PUI is that thumbnails are omitted from the digital objects when they’re at this level. On the staff side, the collection-level resource lacks the ref ID and CUI field, which we use as part of our digital object file naming convention.


Option 2: Resource with a child archival object (repeating the title of the parent), with instances/digital objects associated with the AO. This seems like redundant record-keeping. It requires more researcher clicks in the PUI, but the display of the instances are consistent with other collections. On the staff side, the ref ID and CUI are available for use in our digital object workflows.


We rely on ASpace for collection management and description. As we move into using it for discovery as well, I want to be sure that we're following road-tested best practices.

Thanks for your help!


Amy Braitsch (pronouns: she/her/hers)
Head of Archives, Burns Library, Boston College, amy.braitsch at bc.edu<mailto:amy.braitsch at bc.edu>
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