Project Electron August Update

This month has been all about developing the Project Electron transfer application. The work is based on our defined specifications and the development decisions we made last month with our Marist College partners at the hackathon. We are really excited about testing transfers in the coming month.

In this post I am going to briefly discuss Gherkin, which in addition to being a delightful little cucumber, is a language that is used to define the requirements of software in order to document and test the software’s behavior as part of Behavior Driven Development (BDD). We have been using Gherkin to write Quality Assurance (QA) tests for the functions of our Project Electron transfer application. The language is human-readable, so it can enable communication between teams working in different domains across a project.

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Virtual Vault: making access to digitized records easier

This month, we launched a system called Virtual Vault, which allows us to deliver digitized content to any user within the RAC network. It’s a temporary solution that we hope will help us better understand responsible access to digital archival records. Our thinking around this solution is motivated by one central question: given the limitations of copyright and donor agreement restrictions, what is the most and best access we can provide? Continue reading

Principled Action: Asserting Archival Principles to Reduce the RAC Backlog

Several years ago RAC faced a dilemma familiar to many in our profession – a daunting processing backlog that was growing exponentially and depriving scholar’s and staff of access to many of the records held in our collections. Our collections are great resources of knowledge, but only if those resources are available to our users!

To find a solution, we actively sought processing practices that reflect our values as an operating foundation, specifically the values of collaborating and sharing knowledge, disseminating information, promoting discovery in all its forms, and facilitating open and equitable access to all our archival holdings. Over the last year and a half, we shifted our strategy to processing by accession and implemented a standards-based approach which has been a resounding success thus far and has resulted in the processing and opening for research of over 4,500 cubic feet of records. This discussion will be the first in a series of posts about our processes and collaborations. I hope our experiences may be valuable and helpful to others. Continue reading

Project Electron May Update

Our major news for this month is that, after evaluating a number of existing solutions against our requirements for archival storage, we have decided to use Fedora as the repository solution for Project Electron. Although there were other systems that met many of our requirements – DSpace for example – in the end we felt that Fedora was the closest match for our needs both in terms of feature coverage and scope. It does what we want it to do without requiring us to support a lot of extra functionality or complexity. Continue reading

Getting More Out of (and Into) Your Collections Management System: Digital Media Log

The following is the text from the talk I gave at METRO’s Annual Conference held this year on January 11, 2017. This talk was part of the panel “Getting More Out of (and Into) Your Collections Management System.”

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Share Your Story: Project Electron Update

Since Project Electron kicked off in September, we’ve made significant progress on a number of different fronts. First, together with our Marist College partners, we created a milestones document which lays out major phases of work. We also developed some general principles and overall approaches to licensing project deliverables, including code, documentation and planning documents. Since we anticipate both of these documents will change over time, we’ve versioned them using git (and have pushed a copy to GitHub) so we can keep track of those changes. Continue reading

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

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing for ArchivesSpace

We’ve written a lot on this blog about things we’re doing with the ArchivesSpace API, ranging from find and replace operations in notes to reporting on our DACS compliance across our repository. It should be pretty obvious we’re big fans of the power and flexibility it provides to automate what otherwise would be some pretty tedious and error-prone, and also that the data model is getting us to think about archival description outside of the EAD box. Continue reading