[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Advice requested for location records and the space calculator

Dan Michelson dmichelson at smith.edu
Fri Jun 3 08:35:14 EDT 2022

Hi Anne Marie,

I agree with Olivia about thinking about the drawer as a location
equivalent to a shelf and flat file folders as the top containers.  We
converted to this system at Smith recently.  That said, attempting to use
the space calculator for drawer space seems difficult to me, since folder
height depends on the size of the contents.

We have yet to use the space calculator at all due to similar issues with
free-standing volumes intermixed with boxes.  Eventually we will most
likely designate certain shelves for volumes and any other materials we are
not going to have exact measurements for, so that we can use the space
calculator confidently.

Regarding Olivia's point about shelf depth, another (to me preferable)
option is to record the true usable space (including acceptable overhang)
in the location profile, as opposed to the actual depth of the shelf.

All the best,


On Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 9:47 AM Olivia S Solis <livsolis at utexas.edu> wrote:

> Hi Ann,
> The drawer as container is something you will have to consider. We also
> historically treated drawers as containers in our finding aids, but that is
> not how ASpace is really designed. The "top container" is conceived of as
> the thing that circulates, and obviously the drawer can't. It should really
> be the folders inside the drawer. We have yet to convert our drawers to
> folders, but there are benefits including being able to calculate the space
> in the drawer provided the folder container profiles are accurate, unique
> top containers, more granular extents, a better means of tracking
> the folders in the drawers and what collections each contains, you could
> barcode them and track that in ASpace. For now, our drawers are a single
> "folder" in ASpace with a container profile that matches the width and
> depth of the drawer with a height of .5 in. But we know we need to address
> our drawer situation eventually.
> We have not been able to fully use the space calculator because to do so,
> you would have to account for every container's profile or map it to the
> closest one. We have free standing items and things like LPs we have not
> accounted for, so it might seem like space on a shelf is empty when really
> the boxes/items on the shelf are nonstandard and have have no container
> profile.
> Finally, we would need to turn of the depth to calculate the space on the
> shelf. This may not be you, but some of our containers are just slightly
> deeper than the shelf and an inch might hang over the shelf's edge. The
> space calculator would think the container you're looking to place won't
> fit on the shelf if the depth is greater than the shelf depth.
> Thanks,
> Olivia
> On Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 8:06 AM Anne Marie Lyons <amlyons at atlas-sys.com>
> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I am working with an archive that is planning to use the top container
>> and location management module so that they can make use of the space
>> calculator. They would like to plan out their location records ahead of
>> time and get them imported into ArchivesSpace. Do you have any advice about
>> getting organized with the location records? Is there anything you wish you
>> had done differently? Some guidelines I have learned so far:
>>    - Create a spreadsheet of locations
>>    - Draw a map of storage areas
>>    - Some locations, like map cases, might be more of a container – make
>>    some decisions up front
>>    - Practice with linking of locations, containers, and profile
>>    records; also, get an idea of what’s available in reporting
>> Is there anything else you would like to share about using the space
>> calculator?
>> Thank you very much!
>> - Anne Marie
>> _______________________
>> Anne Marie Lyons, MLIS
>> Training and Library Solutions Consultant
>> *Atlas Systems – You have a job to do. We help you do it.*
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> --
> Olivia Solis, MSIS (she/her)
> Metadata Coordinator
> Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
> The University of Texas at Austin
> 2300 Red River St. Stop D1100
> Austin TX, 78712-1426
> (512) 232-8013
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Dan Michelson
Collections Archivist
Smith College Special Collections

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