[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Container instance types

Hand, Sarit shand at ap.org
Tue Mar 28 22:58:59 EDT 2023

Hi Miriam,

We have been using "mixed materials" until recently for just about everything regardless of the content. However, I just completed a move which included getting container level control for barcoding. I had a few collections of homogeneous content, i.e. audiovisual, and artifacts. In those cases, I added audiovisual to the value list and assigned that to the containers and for artifacts I used physical object. All the while, I have been asking myself why the heck instance type was a requirement for creating or linking a container when it does not describe the container at all, the description is more relevant to the archival object record and not the instance. It would make more sense to relegate that data in a descriptive field not tied to the container.

I cannot say for certain, but it looks to me that the Instance type is not stored as part of the container record as that data only appears in the record for the resource/component. If you look at the Container record, you only see "container type" not instance type. If you were to unlink the container record, you lose the instance type data even if you do not delete the container record itself.

The short answer, the instance type really isn't about the container but about the "thing(s)" the record is describing and are being put into the container. So, even if the container is shared, one record might indicate it is audiovisual, and another record linked to the same container might be text.

Hope this helps.


[cid:image001.png at 01D961C5.E0A76A60]

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>
[cid:image002.png at 01D961C5.E0A76A60]

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> On Behalf Of Mariam Yamin
Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2023 11:24 AM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Container instance types

Hi all,

I wondered if anyone could share how they use container instance types in their organisation?

We are just starting to add container instances, and are a bit unsure about the purpose of instance types, as the format of the material being assigned to a top container would be included in the description of the archival object?

I can see from other organisations' PUIs that many seem to use 'Mixed Materials' for all records. We may end up doing this, but I'd be interested to know if anyone uses different instance types for different types of materials, eg text, graphic materials, audio-visual etc, and if they see any benefit in doing this?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

best wishes,


Mariam Yamin
Special Collections, Heritage, and Archives
University of Sheffield | Western Bank Library | Sheffield | S10 2TN
0114 222 7236
m.yamin at sheffield.ac.uk<mailto:m.yamin at sheffield.ac.uk>


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