[Archivesspace_Users_Group] [External Message] Re: container profiles for uniquely sized containers

Kendall Aughenbaugh kaughenbaugh at hillwoodmuseum.org
Mon Mar 20 11:47:37 EDT 2023

Hi all,

Just wanted to echo Dan's response, as we ended up doing something very similar. When we moved into our new space, we barcoded every container and took the dimensions so I could pre-plan where the boxes would move to. Now that we're trying to capture all containers in ASpace in order to eventually make use of the calculating functions, I've opted to use estimated dimensions -- rounding up to avoid any future miscalculations from the space calculator -- and to include the just the "measured by" dimension in the container profile title.

So, we have "Flat 15" as the title for the flat boxes that measure 15" in length. "Record Storage Box 10" for boxes that are shelved with the short side facing out, and "Record Storage 15" is a second container profile for boxes shelved with the long side facing out. Obviously changes will be made for different containers, like when two might have the same "measured by" dimension but different heights. We'll need to double check the container profiles in that instance, but these other rules make it simpler for batch modification to containers.

We try to take advantage of tracking the brand/model number in the container profile information, just so it's simpler to replace items when we run out, but manufacturers keep making changes so that is less helpful.


From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> on behalf of Dan Michelson <dmichelson at smith.edu>
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2023 9:32 AM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [External Message] Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] container profiles for uniquely sized containers

Hi All,

As Sarit points out, the best way to use container profiles is dependent on your individual circumstances.

At Smith College, we use measured container profiles for everything other than bound volumes that don't have specialized storage.  For those (flat file folders, rolled items, framed items, etc.), we have generic container profiles with nominal measurements.  Eventually we intend to consolidate our volumes in designated shelving areas so that we can make use of the space calculator function for everything else.

A couple things we did to make the process of establishing container profiles easier:

  *   Did not attempt exact precision.  Depending on the manufacturer and model, record cartons can vary a bit in dimensions.  We decided not to worry about that and use a single container profile for all record cartons.  The same is the case for standard document boxes.
  *   Included the dimensions in the title field.  For example, "Non standard box (7d x 10h x 4.5w)."  We found that to be useful.  While we don't do it here, I've previously included manufacturer/model numbers in the titles so that if you have a box that actually has that information on it (which is annoyingly rare), it isn't necessary to measure it again.

It took us quite a while to get all the container profiles added, but we already had to barcode all of our boxes in preparation for moving to a new building and it was extremely helpful to know ahead of time which boxes had dimensions that our standard size shelves couldn't accommodate.

All the best,


On Mon, Mar 20, 2023 at 8:50 AM Hand, Sarit <shand at ap.org<mailto:shand at ap.org>> wrote:


I create a unique profile for every unique top container. That allows me to calculate an extent record. I need this since we are using off-site storage. So, I reserve the extent record just for calculated extents. I’ll be using Notes fields for other “extent” descriptions. I know some institutions create profiles for everything, including media, it all depends upon how what you consider a top container. The difficulty is keeping track so make sure you decide on a naming convention. Sadly, there are too few fields (IMO) for the profile record.

The issue I have with creating unnecessary profiles is when I have a profile for a box but the extent measured by is different based on how it sits on the shelf. I had opened a JIRA ticket to change the measure by field to the top container, not the profile but it was decided not to change that, and I was told to create a new profile for the different extent even though it’s the same exact container.

Hope this helps



Sarit Hand

Digital Archivist
AP Corporate Archives

200 Liberty Street

New York, NY 10281

T 212.621.7035

shand at ap.org<mailto:shand at ap.org>


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 Sherman, Becky
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2023 1:39 PM
To: archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] container profiles for uniquely sized containers


Hi All,

I am interested in learning more about how other institutions handle container profiles for uniquely sized containers. We have a list of the most commonly used container profiles in our repository, and our goal is to keep the number of container profiles to a minimum (maybe 12-15). We have quite a few uniquely sized containers that we will not be creating container profiles for (i.e. custom boxes, 3-D artifacts, etc.). How have others approached these oddball containers? Is it better to create a single container profile for “unique containers” and assign that profile to all oddballs regardless of actual dimensions, so that they can be grouped together for reports? Or are there advantages to not assigning a container profile at all to unique containers? If you’re willing to share your container profiles list, that would also be helpful. Thanks for helping us to weigh the options!


Becky Sherman (she/her)

Senior Collections Processing Archivist

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, & Rare Book Library

Emory University


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Dan Michelson
Collections Archivist
Smith College Special Collections

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