Virginia Heritage ArchivesSpace Working Group

Final Report

October 2017

Introduction

Several Virginia Heritage member institutions are already using ArchivesSpace or are in the process of moving to this archival management software. Other members of Virginia Heritage are interested in using ArchivesSpace but need additional support to implement the program. The Technical Team of Virginia Heritage established the Virginia Heritage ArchivesSpace Working Group in early 2017 to explore issues surrounding interest, production, and implementation of ArchivesSpace among member institutions and to create a report on the findings.

Charge

  1. If guides are being added, how is it working/what is the process?
  2. If guides are not being added, why not/what are the complications?

Survey

Members of the Working Group collaborated to create a 19 question survey that was then emailed to Virginia Heritage member institutions. Of the 36 of institutions contacted, 23 took part in the survey.

The survey was divided into six sections. The first section described the purpose of the survey and collected the email address of the respondent. The second section asked respondents to describe the type, size and staffing levels of the different institutions belonging to Virginia Heritage. The next section focused on their familiarity with and interest in using ArchivesSpace. From this point the questions branched to the appropriate section depending on how participants answered the question “What are your institutional plans for using ArchivesSpace?”

The next goal of the survey was to determine how those members who were ArchivesSpace users integrated it into their accessioning, cataloging, and management processes. Institutions that were not interested in using ArchivesSpace were invited to explain reasons for their decision in section five. The last part of the survey asked questions about participation in Virginia Heritage and methods for creating the necessary EAD finding aids.

Findings

  1. Basic Information about Survey Participants

  1. Of 23 respondents, 15 (65%) belonged to university or college libraries. The next largest group of responses 5 (22%) were from public library systems. The remaining institutions identified as museums and a government law library.
  2. The respondents comprised a range of institutions in terms of size and staffing, with a mix of full-time and part-time staff. (23 responses)
  3. When asked about the number of dedicated personnel for processing and descriptive work, 5 out of 23 indicated they had no dedicated staff members and 9 out of 23 indicated just one staff member. One institution had 13 staff members and the remainder indicated 2-4 dedicated staff members.

Forms response chart. Question title: How many full-time staff members do you have in your repository? . Number of responses: 23 responses.

Forms response chart. Question title: How many part-time staff members do you have in your repository?. Number of responses: 23 responses.

Forms response chart. Question title: Of all the staff you have, how many are dedicated to processing/descriptive work? . Number of responses: 23 responses.

  1. ArchivesSpace

  1. Of 23 respondents, the great majority (87%) were somewhat or very familiar with ArchivesSpace.
  2. Out of 23 respondents, 9 (39%) were already using ArchivesSpace, 3 (13%) are in transition to ArchivesSpace currently, 2 (9%) plan to transition with the next year, and 3 (13%) plan to transition, but not for at least for another year.  Six institutions (26%) have no plans to use ArchivesSpace at all.

  1. Institutions already using or planning to use ArchivesSpace

  1. Of 17 respondents, most used or planned to use ArchivesSpace for accessioning and processing collections, creating finding aids, and creating EAD finding aids. Approximately half of respondents used, or planned to use it for creating MARC records and managing digital assets.
  2. Of 16 respondents, 75% planned to enter data into ArchivesSpace by a combination of imports from legacy systems (such as Archon, Archivists’ Toolkit, spreadsheets, etc.) and entering data from scratch from paper documents, while 19% planned to enter data from scratch only.
  3. Of 17 responses, three institution currently have an active public interface, but only one institution is actively using it. The remaining responses are split at 41% each between planning to use it and undecided.
  4. Of 17 respondents using ArchivesSpace, 9 (53%) of those institutions were members of ArchivesSpace.
  5. Those who were not members of ArchivesSpace (8 responses) cited cost most frequently as a reason for not joining or for being undecided. One also explained that their institution had sufficient technical support to make membership unnecessary. Another had support through membership with Lyrasis.
  6. Ten institutions responded to a question asking them to describe what actions Virginia Heritage could take to help them implement or better utilize ArchivesSpace. Their responses focused on better training and improved guidelines or documentation to assist in using ArchivesSpace. One expressed a wish to see Virginia Heritage make it easier to create finding aids in EAD.

If you do not plan on using the public interface why not? (1 response)

If you answered no, are you planning on using ArchivesSpace without membership support? If so, why? (8 responses)

Is there anything else you would like to share about how Virginia Heritage can help you implement or better utilize ArchivesSpace? (10 responses)

  1. Institutions with No Plans to Use Archives Space or that have not yet transitioned to it

  1. Of the 10 institutions that responded to this question, 6 (60%) said they were happy with their existing system. Other responses pointed to a lack of funding, not enough staff to manage ArchivesSpace, and limited time and technical support as barriers to implementation.
  2. Eight institutions listed either “insufficient staff to migrate data” or “no time to investigate” as reasons for not using ArchivesSpace, which prompted a question asking if they would be more interested in implementing ArchivesSpace if a Virginia Heritage member could offer mentorship. Four answered yes and two were maybes. The remaining were not interested or didn’t answer.

  1. Finding Aids and Current ArchivesSpace Users

  1. Of 9 respondents, 7 said they were submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage.
  2. Those that were submitting finding aids to Virginia Heritage used a variety of methods, and 6 were using ArchivesSpace at some point in the process. One coded finding aids separately.
  3. One respondent who was not submitting finding aids to Virginia Heritage noted that they were waiting for new hires to assist. The second preferred to use their own website for finding aids and had stopping adding to Virginia Heritage.
  4. Of 9 respondents, 3 were definitely interested in assistance from other Virginia Heritage members with submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage or creating EAD-CPF records, while 4 were maybes. The remaining 2 were not interested in assistance.

If you answered yes, how are you creating the EAD finding aid? For example, are you exporting the EAD from ArchivesSpace and uploading it to Virginia Heritage or are you encoding the finding aid separately? (7 responses)

If you answered no, why are you not submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage? (2 responses)

The ArchivesSpace Working Group reports to the Technical Team of Virginia Heritage. The working group will collaborate with the Technical Team and the EAD3 Working Group as needed.

Conclusions

Respectfully Submitted,

Virginia Heritage Archives Space Working Group

Members:

Liz Beckman, George Mason University

Tracy Harter, Library of Virginia

Margaret Kidd, Virginia Commonwealth University

Lorna Loring, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library

Christina Luers, College of William and Mary

Courtney Tkacz, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Elizabeth Wilkinson, University of Virginia

APPENDIX: SURVEY QUESTIONS

Section 1, Introduction:

The purpose of this survey is to collect information about whether Virginia Heritage institutions are using ArchivesSpace or are planning to use it. This will help us determine what type of support Virginia Heritage can offer for those using ArchivesSpace to create EAD finding aids.

Q1: email address

Section 2, Basic Information:

Q2: What kind of institution does your repository belong to?

Q3: How many full-time staff members do you have in your repository?

(short answer)

Q4: How many part-time staff members do you have in your repository?

(short answer)

Q5: Of all the staff you have, how many are dedicated to processing/descriptive work?

(short answer)

Section 3, ArchivesSpace:

Q5: How familiar are you with ArchivesSpace archival management software?

Q6: What are your institutional plans for using ArchivesSpace?

Section 4, Currently using or planning to use ArchivesSpace

(Branch section - for those who answered they are using or plan to use ArchivesSpace)

Q7: For what functions do you plan on using ArchivesSpace? (Select all that apply)

Q8: How do you plan to enter data into ArchivesSpace?

Q9: Are you currently using the public interface for ArchivesSpace (or plan to use it)?

Q10: If you do not plan on using the public interface why not?

(short answer)

Q11: Are you an institutional member of ArchivesSpace?

Q12: If you answered no, are you planning on using ArchivesSpace without membership support? If so, why?

(long answer)

Q13: Is there anything else you would like to share about how Virginia Heritage can help you implement or better utilize ArchivesSpace?

(long answer)

Section 5: No plans to use ArchivesSpace

(Branch section - for those who do not plan to use ArchivesSpace or will not transition for at least another year)

Q14: If you are not planning to use ArchivesSpace, what is the reason? (Check all that apply)

Q15: If you checked “insufficient staff to migrate data” or “no time to investigate,” would you be interested in being mentored in that process from someone else in Virginia Heritage?

Section 6: Finding aids and current ArchivesSpace users

(Branch section - for those who stated they are currently using ArchivesSpace)

Q16: Is your institution currently submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage?

Q17: If you answered yes, how are you creating the EAD finding aid? For example, are you exporting the EAD from ArchivesSpace and uploading it to Virginia Heritage or are you encoding the finding aid separately?

(long answer)

Q18: If you answered no, why are you not submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage?

(long answer)

Q19: Would you be interested in assistance from other Virginia Heritage members with submitting EAD finding aids to Virginia Heritage or creating EAD-CPF records?