Automating ArchivesSpace exports, or Better Living Through APIs

In preparation for upcoming changes to the display of digital objects in DIMES, I’ve been pursuing some enhancements to data export from ArchivesSpace. This began with a plugin to improve METS exports, including embedded MODS records, but then grew into a more comprehensive project to automate the export of updated resource records, version that data, and then push it to DIMES.

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Technical Overview of EAD Requesting with Aeon

A while ago I wrote a post detailing how data in DIMES is imported into Aeon to populate requests. Since then, I’ve had conversations with several individuals asking about the technical details of this implementation. As a way of documenting that work, and also offering some direction for future Aeon implementers, I thought I’d pull together a post describing the interaction in technical terms, since there’s limited documentation on how to do external EAD requesting for Aeon. I pieced together this information by looking at existing implementations, particularly Princeton’s archival discovery system, with a lot of false steps along the way. I hope to help others avoid the same frustrations and pitfalls! Continue reading

Searching within collections in DIMES

Over the weekend, we launched an improved version of DIMES functionality that allows users to search within a single finding aid. Previously, the “Search this collection” simply added highlighting to hits within the body of the finding aid, which meant it was often impossible to find hits in long contents lists. In fact, we noticed that many users were simply resorting to using their browser’s “Find” functionality. Continue reading

Getting data from DIMES to Aeon

Among the many things that Aeon will do for us, communicating directly with DIMES to import data about our materials is among the most important, and a feature that will likely save both researchers and staff a great deal of time and frustration. Starting in February, researchers will no longer have to fill out requests for materials by hand; staff will no longer have to decipher researchers’ handwriting, correct inaccurate or missing information, or complete charge-outs by hand. In addition, we’ll be able to run much more accurate reports on use of our collections, which will help us better target digitization and preservation efforts. This post explains how that data moves from DIMES to Aeon, detailing some of the things that happen along the way with restrictions information and grouping of folders within the same box. Continue reading

edUI Report

I’m just back from edUI, a conference of web professionals who work in educational institutions, held in Richmond, Virginia. As was the case last year, it was a gathering full of fascinating presentations given by excellent speakers. I was very honored (and more than a little intimidated) to present on some of the work we’ve done to improve DIMES. There was a lot of interest in what archivists do, and in bringing the worlds of user experience and archives in closer conversation, which I find very exciting. Continue reading

What Data Can Do for You (and Us)

Since September 2012, when we first launched DIMES, we’ve been using a variety of methods to gather data on where our users come from, what they look at on DIMES, what functionality they use, and what kinds of things they search for. Looking at this data over time gives us valuable into how users are actually interacting with DIMES, and helps us evaluate the system’s functionality as well as the description of our collections. Continue reading

Introducing Aeon

As most of you know by now, we’ll be implementing Aeon here at the RAC starting in a couple of months. This will be a pretty big project, and one that gives us the opportunity to reconfigure and restructure some core reference services workflows. It’s an exciting prospect, but one that will also involve a lot of change, so I thought I’d outline the three major processes that will be affected by Aeon. Continue reading

Code4Lib and Archives

I’m just back from Code4Lib, a conference of people who work with technology in libraries and archives, held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is the third time I’ve been to Code4Lib, and as before, I found it a conference that is both stimulating and exhausting; that takes a lot, but gives a lot in return. Continue reading