Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hello World!

Welcome to the blog for the University of Michigan's ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration project, a joint effort of the Bentley Historical Library and the University of Michigan Library with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  This blog will provide updates and insights into the project as well as general digital curation practices at the Bentley Historical Library.

Project Overview

As outlined in the initial press release for the grant, this project seeks to expedite the ingest, description, and overall curation of digital archives by facilitating the creation and reuse of descriptive and administrative metadata among emerging platforms and streamlining the deposit of fully processed content into a digital preservation repository.

Many readers will already be familiar with the above-mentioned systems, but the following may be helpful for those in need of a refresher:

  • ArchivesSpace is an open-source archival management software that combines the best features of Archon and Archivists’ Toolkit.  This system permits institutions to track accessions, manage collections, and generate Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids and MARCXML.  Development of "ASpace" was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2011-2013) and LYRASIS now serves as its institutional home.
  • Archivematica is a free and open-source digital preservation system developed by Artefactual Systems (British Columbia). Archivematica employs a micro-service design to “provide an integrated suite of software tools that allows users to process digital objects from ingest to access in compliance with the ISO-OAIS functional model” and furthermore employs METS and PREMIS to record and track descriptive, administrative, and rights metadata.
  • DSpace is an open-source repository platform that “preserves and enables easy and open access to all types of digital content including text, images, moving images, mpegs and data sets."  Initially developed by MIT Libraries with partial support from a Mellon Foundation grant, DSpace has acquired a growing community of developers and is employed by the University of Michigan and approximately 1,400 other academic, nonprofit, and commercial organizations around the world.
For the purposes of the grant, ArchivesSpace will be employed to store descriptive, administrative, and rights metadata related to digital archives; Archivematica will be used to ingest content; associate it with descriptive metadata from ASpace, and prepare information packages for deposit; DSpace will serve as a preservation repository and access portal for collections.

Goals and Deliverables

To achieve our goals, the Bentley has contracted with Artefactual Systems for development work in the following areas (all of which will be made clearer in future posts):
  • Introduce functionality into Archivematica that will permit users to review, appraise, deaccession, and arrange content in a new "Appraisal and Arrangement" tab in the system dashboard.
  • Load (and create) ASpace archival object records in the Archivematica "Appraisal and Arrangement" tab and then drag and drop content onto the appropriate archival objects to define Submission Information Packages (SIPs) that will in turn be described as 'digital objects' in ASpace and deposited as discrete 'items' in DSpace.  This work will build upon the SIP Arrangement panel developed for Simon Fraser University and the Rockefeller Archives Center's Archivematica-Archivists' Toolkit integration (as demonstrated around the 12 minute point of the first video here).
  • Create new archival object and digital object records in ASpace and associate the latter with DSpace handles to provide URIs/'href' values for <dao> elements in exported EADs.

After extensive work defining use cases, functional requirements, workflows, and development tasks, the first phase of project development kicked off in early April 2015.  As work progresses, the Bentley and our partners have the following goals:
  • Meet-ups and/or presentations at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and other professional organizations will be used to disseminate information and invite feedback from user communities.  Additional outreach will be conducted in coordination with Artefactual Systems on appropriate listservs and forums.
  • All software produced by the project will be incorporated back into appropriate source code repositories and be made freely available to the archives and library communities.
  • ArchivesSpace-Archivematica integration will function independently of DSpace.  Integration with the repository will employ open and widely-used standards so that institutions can reconfigure the workflow to replace DSpace with another repository/access system (such as Hydra).
  • While some project features may be unique to the Bentley Historical Library (such as our use of modified Archival Information Packages for access purposes), the final product should be flexible/extensible enough to accommodate the widely varied practices of the digital preservation and curation communities.
  • Project documentation and reports will be made freely available to all users through this blog and other sources.

Next Steps

Project staff at the Bentley—which includes myself (Mike Shallcross, Principal Investigator), Max Eckard, and Dallas Pillen—will work closely with developers at Artefactual Systems and IT staff and librarians at the University of Michigan Library to further define requirements, test development features, and document procedures.  We also look forward to exploring other community initiatives (such as BitCurator and ArcLight) to identify possible synergies and integration points with our endeavors.

We plan to post regularly to this blog and welcome any and all feedback, questions, and suggestions.  Feel free to leave a comment or send us a message at bhl-mellon-grant (at)  Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment