The Master Shelf List: Where We Go From Here

For many archives, the master shelf list has been a permanent staple since their inception. We have one. It’s an ever-growing Excel spreadsheet that lists the location of every single box in our collection down to the shelf number. It’s enormous, it’s unwieldy, and it takes a ton of work to keep updated month to month. For years we’ve been looking for a way to move away from it, and the release of ArchivesSpace version 1.5 has given us the rare opportunity to move entirely away from our spreadsheet into a more structured and interoperable. The Rockefeller Archive Center will no longer enter new information into our Master Shelf List. Continue reading

WARCs! What are they good for? Researchers!

I recently attended the IIPC (International Internet Preservation Consortium) conference in lovely Reykjavik from April 15th to the 17th. This was the first official year of the IIPC conference and it was a great opportunity for institutions of all sizes to get together and talk about the challenges facing web archiving today, and to strategize about the path forward. The presentations covered a wide variety of topics, but I think the ones that I found most helpful were those that focused on how researchers interact with web archives. Continue reading

Academics in the Archives

Our very smart and articulate colleague Rachel Wimpee, who works in our Research and Education division, has published a post on MLA’s Connected Academics blog that talks about her work at the RAC, including the Zotero bibliography project the Digital Program helped to organize. She also touches on larger issues of cross-disciplinary work and the enduring value of humanities education, so her post is well-worth a read!

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

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

Migrating ATReference data to Aeon

Since the RAC was founded in 1974, we’ve collected information about our researchers, including contact details, visit dates, topics of research, and publications. Starting in the 1980s, we captured this information in a number of different databases. Currently, this data is stored in ATReference, a customized version of the Archivists’ Toolkit that was developed by the RAC. As part of both the Aeon and ArchivesSpace implementation processes, we needed to migrate that data forward into Aeon so we can continue to access and add to the wealth of information it contains without having to support ATReference. 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