[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Managing Unique Top Containers

Tara Laver tlaver at nelson-atkins.org
Tue Aug 1 11:43:35 EDT 2023

Hi, Herbert.

We create box numbers that contain designations for the collection number and the box number, and if a collection has multiple box 1s or box 2s, etc., because they start over with one with each series, we add a designation for the series in the alphanumeric string for the box number. So, for example, in this collection, https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/resources/2, there are six box 1s (see https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/resources/2/inventor), styled

Box RG01/02.S01.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/30> (series 1, box 1)
Box RG01/02.S02.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/34> (series 2 box 1)
Box RG01/02.S03.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/36> (series 3, box 1)
Box RG01/02.S04.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/51> (series 4, box 1)
Box RG01/02.S05.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/54> (series 5, box 1)
Box RG01/02.S06.01 <https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/top_containers/55> (series 6, box 1)
-where the “S” indicates the following number is the series number. If a collection does not have repeating box 1s by series but is through numbered, then we don’t include the S in the box number, as in this one, https://nelson-atkins.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/resources/1/inventory.
Hope this helps.
Tara Laver

Tara Z. Laver
Senior Archivist
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Office: 816.751.1354
tlaver at nelson-atkins.org<mailto:tlaver at nelson-atkins.org>

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From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> On Behalf Of Herbert Dittersdorf
Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2023 10:23 AM
To: archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Managing Unique Top Containers

Hello ArchiveSpace Community,

I was hoping to crowdsource a little wisdom about Top Containers and how you all manage them.

I am retooling the finding aid for the University of Maine's William S. Cohen Papers collection--a very large set of boxes (our largest). The collection contains multiple record groups, series, sub series, and sub-subseries. Boxes and files have been associated with Top Containers successfully; however, the Top Container designations tend to be generic (e.g. "Box 1," "Box 2," "Box 3"...). This fact creates a problem: each "Box 1," "Box 2," "Box 3"... Top Container is linked with records from disparate series and subseries.

For example, the following two folder titles are both linked under the same "Box 1" Top Container:

One file comes from subseries, 2.1.5 Membership Files. The other file comes from the subseries, 3.4.4 Mailings.

Obviously the details do not matter here. I am simply wondering how others deal with similar problems. Generally: Is there a way to create unique top container instances with identical titles? Or do you all typically embed additional information in the "Top Container" title?

In the case of the example: Can I create two unique "Box 1" instances (one for the 2.1.5 subseries and the other for the 3.4.4 subseries) by editing the metadata for that Top Container in some way? Or is creating a longer "Top Container" title (something like, "2.1.5 Box 1") the only way to solve this problem?

I am looking for an elegant way of solving this issue without creating long Top Container titles but could not find a way to do so using the Help Center. Even knowing, for sure, that I have to create longer titles would be very helpful.

Thank you so much and I apologize for clogging all of your inboxes with my question!

Herbie Dittersdorf
Herbert Matthew Dittersdorf, M.S.I.
Archivist, William S. Cohen Papers
Special Collections Department
5729 Fogler Library
Orono, ME 04469-5729


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